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My Journey With Depression



For as long as I can remember, I have struggled with some form or another of depression. From the time I was a little girl, I suffered from crippling shyness, and the only remedy for it stemmed from my unconditional love of music. Music was my only respite from the world.

Don’t get me wrong, I had a very happy childhood. Two loving parents, a house full of siblings, nice neighborhood. My parents are still happily married. I was never abused, and I was brought up in a happy, religious home.

Even so, as I aged, I doubted my abilities, sure that others were better than me. I struggled with friends. Girls can be mean. Even at a young age. I found myself seeking the attention of boys, to replace the lack of close friendships with the girls my age.

As I entered into adulthood, allowing my lack of self worth to coerce me into bad decisions, bad relationships, and overall a bad self image, I found myself surrounded constantly by little devils, whispering not-so-sweet nothings into my ears.

I was blessed enough, despite my insecurities, to meet a wonderful man, who would become my husband. But that first year of marriage was, to say the least, hard. Thanks to the magical invention of birth control, mixed with an already imbalanced state of being, I was a complete wreck. There were times when I was so completely out of control, throwing myself into fits of screaming and kicking that my husband had to physically hold me down, until I cried enough to calm down. Tears are such sweet release.

But in between my rampages were the periods of insanity. I felt as though I were trapped into a tiny box, and couldn’t escape, all the while watching as some foreigner entered my body and took over, setting fire to the place, and wreaking havoc.

After giving birth to my first baby, I slipped into a state of complete despair. Between midnight feedings, and major hormonal imbalance, I believe I had completely lost my mind. With each of my pregnancies, I sunk deeper into depression. I would find myself screaming at my baby in the middle of the night, and my husband would literally have to run into the room, and rescue the baby from me. I had thoughts of throwing my baby against the wall, or throwing her out the window. I had thoughts of ending my life every day.

Finally, when I became pregnant with my third child, while my oldest was not quite three years old, I got up the nerve to ask my doctor for an antidepressant. After years of trying to battle my depression by myself, thinking I could just “snap out of it,” I had to submit myself and accept defeat. That’s what it felt like to me. I had lost the battle, if I actually could admit I needed professional help. It was with tremendous guilt and trepidation that I started taking antidepressants.

And miraculously, they worked! After my baby was born, I felt none of the terrifying feelings I’d had with my first two babies. However, several months later, I was feeling as though I could only feel “normal” if I took my pill. I hated the thought that some stupid little pill defined who I was. So, I decided to stop taking it. Cold turkey.

After bouts with vertigo, nausea and rage, it didn’t take long to realize I couldn’t function at all without the “happy pills,” and with three small children to care for, I, again, admitted defeat, and just took the darn pills every day.

After three years, I finally decided to call my doctor and ask how I was to stop taking the pills. I was told to wean myself off, little by little. Over the course of the next year, fighting the dizziness and nausea, the rage, and the darkness, I could feel my body telling me exactly when it had had enough of the withdrawals, and was begging me to take another pill. On many occasions, while experiencing this phenomenon, I chose to fight it, instead of giving in. This erroneous decision almost cost me my life.

That day, I could feel the pressure building. I could sense the dark cloud hanging above me, I could feel the sting of that poison coursing through my veins. But at that moment, I had lost control. I found myself screaming and sobbing, and again, my husband took the brunt of my insanity. But I couldn’t take it anymore. That day, I chose to take a whole bottle of pain killers. I was so completely beyond logic, that I did it right in front of my three terrified children. Luckily my husband was there, rushed to my side, and forced me to spit out every pill. I crumpled to the floor in complete and utter exhaustion and defeat.

That moment was a wake-up call to me. What had I become? Was I so irrational that I was willing to rob my husband of his wife, my children of their mother? How could I be so selfish? To this day, I have no idea how seriously that scene affected my family. The next few months are a blur. I don’t remember how I crawled out of my dark abyss, but somehow, I did. And I survived.

I have since learned how to cope with my depression in ways that are more healthy. I learned to combat my demons with more natural resources. I exercise every day. I started running. A lot. I discovered the thrill and the sense of accomplishment that I received after I finished my first 5k, then half marathon, and finally my first full marathon. I may have become addicted to the sweet nectar of endorphins, but I was happy when I was running.

I indulged in my music more. I started writing, and I found my respite to be a newfound medication for my sickness. When I felt the rage building, I would sit down and just pound at the piano, instead of yelling at my family. I now believe that God blessed me with my gift of music to help me overcome my sorrows.

I still struggle with depression. The darkness still threatens me on a daily basis. But I’ve learned how to deal with these little bouts by surrounding myself with good friends, and appreciating my wonderful little family. I’ve come to accept that I do have a chemical imbalance, and that my body needs medicine to correct that imbalance, and that I’m not a bad person because I take medication. I’ve stopped allowing myself to feel the pressure of being the perfect wife, the perfect mother, the perfect housekeeper. I’ve learned to accept me for me, and that I have a Father in Heaven, who loves me and watches out for me. I learned that Satan’s minions can only have power over me if I choose to allow them. And I learned that the Atonement of my Savior is there for me, if I choose to accept it.


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Sherrie is a loving wife, mother of three, and piano teacher. She released her first new age piano solo album, entitled Solitude in 2009. Sherrie combats her depression by blogging, surrounding herself with good girlfriends, involving herself in music, running marathons, and eating chocolate—lots and lots of chocolate. You can find more of her at Sher The Love and sherrieshepherdpiano.com

 
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