Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Tis The Season To Be (Not) Jolly


I bought wrapping paper and ribbon for Christmas. They seemed like a good choices at the time but when I brought them home I looked at them and asked myself - when did grey and black become appropriate colours for Christmas wrapping? Merry Christmas, kids. Your gifts were chosen by Bram Stoker. 

At least I bought some wrapping; I wasn't entirely sure that was going to happen. Lately, things have been not so good around here. I've talked recently about some of the reasons I've been finding life hard, and they're all legitimate reasons, but I've reached a point where it's not really about the reasons any more. Its hard raising kids, I tell myself, and yes of course it is but I'm pretty sure it's not as hard as I've been finding it. The last six months or so things have been sliding downwards - in my mind, I mean - and I think I've finally reached a point where I need to acknowledge that I'm depressed okay, not quite ready to use the D-word yet I don't feel like myself any more. I'm doing what I absolutely have to do, but I can't face doing anything else. Worse - I don't even want to do anything else.I can't be bothered. I just want to make it to the end of the day, and then I want to go to sleep. Not every day. But enough. If Tom Cruise on Oprah's couch is a 10, and Sylvia Plath in 1963 is a zero, at the moment I'm probably averaging about a four. I've mentioned this to a few people and they always ask me if I'm going to hurt myself or the kids and the answer is no. That's not what I'm trying to say at all.  But everything feels grey. Life is like driving a car through fog. It's possible, but it's hard work and nothing is in focus. 

It's an impossible thing, trying to think rationally about your own mind. I've found it so, anyway. Especially when things alter slowly - like they have for me-  it doesn't feel possible to separate out how the world seems from how the world is. How can I possibly know if my perceptions are skewed? What I mean is: I don't feel like I'm looking through a grey filter. I just feel like the world is grey.  And I assume that everyone else sees it as grey too. I don't feel depressed; I just feel like the world is an immensely difficult place to live. 

 It's only recently I've started to think: I don't think everyone else around me is experiencing things the same way that I am. At first, I just assumed that they were all wrong. (Anybody who knows me in real life will not find that reaction surprising). Or - as a Christian I just assume that probably I should just be praying more, or complaining less, or quoting to myself the verse about rejoicing always. But now - I'm not so sure. I'm starting to think there's something wrong in my head. I can't tell you how much I hate that thought. 

I just want to crawl out of my own skin, but I dont' think that's an option.  So, after talking to my sister last week (thanks, L), I did an online diagnostic thing instead. The questions were things like 'do you feel constantly overwhelmed? Have you exhibited any of the following behaviours: social withdrawal, irritability, stopped doing things you enjoy? And so on and so on. And I'm reading it all going well of course! Doesn't everybody? Then I clicked enter and it told me: If your score is above 3 you may be depressed. Your score is 24. 

Okay then.   

I know I should probably speak to a doctor about it, but the thing is - I don't want to.  On a good day, I don't feel like I need any help. And on a bad day, I don't feel like I deserve any help. Good day brain tells me - You aren't overwhelmed and miserable, Claudia, you're fine. Bad day brain tells me - Of course you are overwhelmed, Claudia, it's because you're lazy. Of course you are miserable, Claudia, it's because you're an awful person. I don't like bad day brain, but bad day brain is getting a lot of airtime at the moment. Bad day brain thinks that she is the only show in town. 

Since this is largely a blog about my kids, I need to say that I don't really think this is about the kids. If it was, I would at least know what to do with it. I could put a label on it - post adoption depression - and maybe make some progress and get past it. I want to be past it. But this? I think it's just me, independent of them.  I've been frantically googling anaemia and hormonal imbalances and all kinds of other ailments that I wouldn't really wish on myself, hoping to find an answer to why I feel this way that I can live with. Because hey, if I feel miserable because I have a malfunctioning thyroid, I will happily take thyroid medication. Same goes for how willing I would be to discuss my (totally fictional) anaemia with the world. But I have much, much more resistance to the idea of taking any medicine that is just for my mind. I suspect antidepressants would probably help but I'm frightened of them. More to the point, I'm frightened of needing them. 

I know that is probably stupid. 

Partly - cards on the table, here - it's because I think we would eventually like another kid. Or two. Not right now -oh, please, please, please not now, I can't can barely manage what I have - but I don't want to burn that bridge.  And I have no idea what U.K. social services would think about antidepressants -  I don't think they would be impressed. I'm frightened that me doing this now would mean that we never, ever get to have another child. I don't want another child at the moment, and can't imagine wanting another child, but I also know that I probably won't feel this way forever. I don't want to look back in, say, 2013 and hate 2011 Claudia for trying to take care of herself. 2011 Claudia doesn't need any more hate; she's doing a pretty good job on herself already. 

Okay, also: I'm frightened of what other people - people I work with, for example, would think if they found out just how poorly I was coping, and I feel like taking antidepressants would be admitting that I can't cope. What little common sense I have left tells me that this is stupid. Mostly because - actually, nobody cares. I don't care what medication other people take, why should they care about mine? But part of what my brain is doing to me at the moment is telling me horrible things about myself, and making me believe that everyone I know thinks those things about me too.  Not suicidal bad things, I hasten to add, just averagely bad things like wow, did you hear about how she can't even cope with two small children and a part time job? What a loser. (Shut up, bad day brain). 

Also - I'm just ashamed of feeling like this. I'm ashamed of how poorly I'm managing at the moment. I don't want this to be real, so I want to pretend it's not happening.  I don't want to click 'publish' on this, because I don't want to admit that I am struggling this much. Maybe it's the questions about whether I'm going to do something drastic that make me feel like there is something horribly, terribly wrong about this. Depression is an illness, apparently, like asthma is an illness, but when I say I have asthma nobody wonders whether I need to have my children removed. (Stop being such a drama queen, Claudia. There's nothing wrong with you that a good kick up the backside wouldn't fix). (Thanks for the input, bad day brain). I don't need to have my children removed; I just want to make that clear. And the fact that I'm assuming people want to remove my children, that people would assume this makes me an unfit mother - yep. That's bad day brain again. I think. Even though it just feels like hard logic. I feel like it says something about who I am, something that I wish it didn't say. But I think that's why I will click publish- because I know I shouldn't be ashamed. Even though I am. 

I want to pretend that my relentless negativity is actually a perfectly logical reaction to an impossible world. But the world isnt' impossible, is it? It's nearly Christmas. There are lights twinkling (not in MY house, obviously) and I have adorable toddlers and surely I should be enjoying this time of year? Everyone else seems happy about it all. And okay, even if 50% of them are faking, that's still a lot of happy that I'm not feeling. Realising that my perceptions are probably off is making me question myself more than I can explain. Maybe all of my perceptions are wrong. Maybe Justin Bieber is actually a really talented guy. How would I know? How would I know???? 

Why am I telling you this? Probably  because I don't know what I think about all this yet, and as EM Forster said - how will I know what I think until I see what I write? Although - hang on, just re-read it, and I still don't know what I think. 

Have you been through anything like this? Do you know what I mean? 

Ummmm.... and Merry Christmas, I guess. 

49 comments:

  1. I have no advice, but lots of {{{{{{HUGS}}}}} hang in there.

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  2. I have LOTS of thoughts about this. If you want a listening ear or a conversation about it email me. We can talk about antidepressants, natural treatments, and shoulda/coulda/wouldas.

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  3. Dear, Sweet, Claudia:

    Jesus has redeemed you from sin and death. I'm afraid you're trying to punish yourself for not being the best YOU you can be - that you should be able to fix yourself - pull yourself up by your bootstraps and be happy, gosh darnit! Maybe anti-depressants could be helpful for today, tomorrow and the day after that. Don't believe the lie that you have to fix yourself. True happiness comes from Jesus. If you need a few pills to help you remember that, then go for it. You're not sinning. But don't let the sin of pride stand in your way. The very best thing about knowing Jesus is knowing that we can never, ever fix ourselves - today or eternally.

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  4. Hi Claudia,
    I liked your Adoption 101 collection of posts so much that I started 'following' your blog last week. This was the first of your posts that popped up for me. And eve though we don't really know each other and have just been blog-stalking, I wanted to let you know that this blog sounds exactly like where my brother was over the past year and a half. He is in college in the same town where my husband and I live. We were his first-line support system, so we got to be listening ears, talked him through a lot of terrible thoughts about himself, and learned a lot about the D-word you don't want to use (and he didn't either) in the process. He had a lot of horrible thoughts about himself, but like you, he wasn't suicidal and didn't want to hurt himself, and like you, he knew that a lot of what he was thinking was irrational. He also thought medication would be helpful, but like you, didn't want to take it/was afraid to take anything. If you want to talk more, I would be more than willing to talk, or at least offer the resources that have been helpful to us. Because of what my brother has gone through, your words sound familiar and make sense. Let me know if you want to talk!

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  5. Hey dear, please don't let the future of what-ifs stop you from getting help now!! It doesn't matter what race, religion or socioeconomic status you are. It doesn't matter how pious you are. how often or how rarely you pray to the God of your choosing. Depression doesn't discriminate.

    Trust me. I know! Going on meds was the best (and hardest) decision I've ever made. But it gave me my life back. I hated admitting my issues. I hated talking about them. but I am SO much better now than I was a few years ago.

    HUGSSSSSSS

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  6. Oh my God Claudia, this is EXACTLY how I have been feeling lately! A few weeks ago I came to the conclusion that I need help, but of course I didn't go find it. When I'm down, it feels like too much effort to find a therapist and tell them everything about my life, especially when it doesn't seem like I have anything in particular to be depressed about...and then when I come back up again, I think "hey, things aren't so bad, I can do this by myself, I don't need to find a therapist to deal with anything."

    Can we make a deal? That we'll both get some help by the time 2012 rolls around, and then report back here? I think it might be easier for me to actually do it if I know someone else is doing it too...

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  7. First things first, Big cyber hug.
    Secondly I would recomend trying to leave your expectations of yourself in 2011. Try to enter 2012 with NO expectations of what you should be, as a person, as a mother, as an adoptive mother, as a wife.
    Free your self from the boxes you think you need to check and the box you think you need to fit in. Get messy, get careless, it may lead to getting carefree. Let the dialogue with your self be rewritten, embrase lazy and celebrate half ass and see how that feels.

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  8. First: hugs and love. Second: I've been there. Third: therapy helped me. A lot. Fourth: our future selves are never! Ever! mad at us for taking care of ourselves in the past. It only works the other way -- they wish we would have taken care of ourselves sooner. Fifth: more hugs and love.

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  9. Claudia,
    You don't know me but I've been following your blog for a while. Please trust that I have a lot of experience with this and it sounds EXACTLY like you need to get on antidepressants. And that reluctance to get on antidepressants is a symptom of depression. People who happily go on antidepressants don't really need them, in my opinion, it's the people who fight it because they "don't deserve to feel better" or because "maybe this is just the real me." That's pretty much the definition of depression right there. Go talk to a doctor, try it for a few weeks, then you'll be able to think with a clearer head and make a longer-term decision. And I know nothing about U.K. social services, but I just cannot imagine that a few weeks of antidepressants would make any difference a few years down the road. Lots of people take them these days, and doing so shows that you are proactive about your own health.
    --Kyra
    agnostic-adoption.blogspot.com

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  10. What you wrote sounds a lot like what my husband went through for years.

    If it helps you word it this way, speak this truth to your mind: I have a biochemical imbalance. That -is- the truth of depression: it can be caused by many things, but ultimately the effect is that your brain isn't making enough of one kind of chemical or too much of another.

    My DH battled a long time, feeling like you - if he just had more faith, prayed harder, were a better Christian, etc., he would be fine. I told him, guess what? Not only did Christ die for you - but he also inspired men and women to develop things that can make us healthier! :)

    For him - and maybe for you - there is a strong seasonal component. Some non-medicinal approaches are using light boxes, taking melatonin and other vitamins - to counteract the effects of less daylight on our circadian rhythms. Nonetheless, he takes antidepressants year-round. And we are ALL much better off for it. :) As the amazing singer-songwriter Michale McLean said, "There's better living through chemistry!"

    He also had to wrestle with the what-ifs of the future. He really, really wants to get his private pilot's license. The FAA does not look kindly on those taking antidepressants and a lengthy exception process is required before a license can be given....but the good news is, it doesn't stop him from learning to fly. And in the meanwhile, as he's taking the lessons he's dreamed of his whole life, he's also working on the exception paperwork.

    Might it reassure you if you were somehow able to find out exactly what the UK's policies are regarding antidepressants? I know it's not been a problem for us here in the US.

    *HUGS* to you (and Liz in your comments).

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  11. I hate Bad Day Brain. Hate her, hate her, hate her.

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  13. Oh, man. I completely and totally hear you on the worry of the future with things that are happening now. I've smiled and nodded and said things like, "This is just our path!" so that nothing bad would get written down in our records even though I was actually having a really hard time. I so, so get it, although in the end I don't think it would really have made a difference in our ability to adopt. But I was still nervous. Anyway, it sounds like you are doing the right things, and I'm thinking of you a lot. Bad Day Brain can go suck eggs.

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  14. I remember taking those depression questionnaires and thinking, do any new moms pass these? Are any new moms getting the sleep they need, or finding enjoyment in life (when life=screaming babies, complete self sacrifice, and poopy diapers all day long)? Are these symptoms of depression or just my life right now? Total chicken/egg loop. I totally get you on the antidepressant/future adoption conundrum, but agree that you being able to help yourself (and in turn help your current and/or future family) is most important. And maybe you don't even need to go there, maybe therapy would be enough. Maybe restructuring things so you get the sleep, so you find some enjoyment (or alleviate whatever other symptoms you scored on) would be enough. Raising kids is hard, raising twins is hard(or so I've heard), grappling with adoption related issues is exhausting; go easy on yourself about not being "enough." I have totally been there. I have had thoughts like this. I feel better now, but I did seek therapy, I did tinker with my life to address those symptoms (I managed to avoid antidepressants). Mostly, my kids got older and things got easier. I hope you take some steps toward something to make things better for yourself. Will be thinking of you.

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  15. All of your thoughts are completely "normal", and yes, you probably need to ask for help. Your future self will congratulate you on being brave enough to get help when you needed it. My husband suffers from the same kind of mild depression you describe ( does it help to call it "mild"? :)) the best thing he ever did for our family was start to see a therapist. And we successfully adopted 2 years later. Get some help for Christmas! You deserve it!!!

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  16. Oh, Claudia, this is a tough one when you're inside your own head. I would highly recommend talking to a therapist who can give you an assessment and help you make the decision. A therapist may also be able to help you find out what UK social services' reaction to anti-depressants would be. I know that in the US, there's an extra step and additional documentation necessary (basically a letter giving diagnosis and prognosis info, affirming that your diagnosis will not hinder you from being an excellent parent), and it's a bit nerve-wracking, but not an adoption deal breaker. Go talk to someone. Find out what your options are.

    By the way, I hate the holidays and have for most of my adult life. I guess I'm in the 50% that are not experiencing holiday joy. It's a stressful time with a lot of expectations and a lot of things to do with a lot of other people. My guess is that a lot of introverts are not holiday fans. So if you do end up taking medication and still don't feel holiday joy, don't think you need to adjust your dosage.

    Finally, I do want to caution you that if you take medication and suddenly believe that Justin Bieber is a really talented guy, you need to phone your doctor straightaway, as this is a negative and very dangerous side effect.

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  17. HEELLLO. Hello? Hello.

    That's me, knocking on your door. I've come to get your ass to a shrink. You and me both.

    We MUST take care of our ourselves. We MUST figure out how to stop listening to that ugly ass voice inside of our heads. We MUST tread softly. We MUST be honest with ourselves and others.

    I love you, Claud. How 'bout after our appointments we get some coffee? With a chocolate croissant?

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  18. Also? Justin Bieber can suck it. (see how fired up I am about this post?!)

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  19. hi Claudia, i often find i want to cry but just can't. vague feelings of sadness often spend the day with me as i try to get on with whatever needs to be done. this stuff is not easy to talk about because either we don't know why we feel that way, or we don't want to admit to the reasons that may be causing it. i tend to ride those days out knowing there are days when i feel happy too. i tell myself that's just life. reading your post makes makes me wonder if i'm just kidding myself. you may be feeling way worse than me but you are further ahead of me in at least admitting there's something going on and you are reaching out. seek out a therapist and talk to them and if they prescribe anti-depressants then talk about your worries about that then. but start by talking to someone who is trained to deal with these issues. love and hugs.

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  20. Oh Claudia! I'm so sorry you are suffering right now. Sometimes a good antidepressant is just the thing to kick start the good feelings. Big, big hugs to you.

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  21. Hi Claudia,

    I follow your blog and always enjoy reading your posts and find so many things that resonate with me as a new parent. I think that the majority of people out there make their lives sound a lot more interesting and perfect than they seem. Many, many people struggle and have difficult feelings and ups-and-downs...especially fairly new parents...and I don't think we all talk to each other enough of these feelings. I also feel like I have "it all" on paper, but feel completely unmotivated and stuck many a day. Anyway, I'm not sure what I'm trying to say, but you are not alone. And I agree with some of the others- go and talk to someone--- it's not a commitment to taking medication or even being diagnosed..it's just a conversation. Start with that and go from there. You are a strong person, you'll get through this!

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  22. Your plight is bringing me out of the woodwork. Just my 2 cents, because I deeply understand your written sentiments here and want to let you know you are not alone.

    I wish there would be a distinguishing between what I call environmental depression, and the illness of depression... the stigma is still too strong.

    There are periods of life that I think are just HARD. They SUCK. They go on far too long and quite frankly, stick a spanner in the works of an otherwise glorious existence. And it's often a combination of factors in our environment: stress with raising kids, jobs, relationships, eating badly, not getting enough sleep, not getting enough play time, not getting enough sunlight etc can accumulate at points so that they can warp our world, sometimes significantly. (and as a Christian, I think it's also a reflection of the fact that the world is BROKEN.)

    I'm not saying you're not depressed, that may well describe your feelings/emotions/moods... but I would hesitate to say that you have an illness. You are weathering the consequences of a perfect storm (it sounds like, to me, from your description). If what you feel you have is indeed temporary, if it for a season, then I don't *necessarily* think drugs are the answer...

    I have, at times, felt exactly as you described... In hindsight, for me, a trigger was grief in one form or another, and some lazily obtained life patterns that had come to their natural end. Therapy was frustrating... it started with their desire to medicate me before they even heard what was wrong, and were jolly expensive in the process. Interestingly, I never felt listened to, or understood.

    In the end what I needed was, essentially, more depth in my real life relationships where I had pulled away... and to start caring for myself better. Daily multi-vitamins, extra Vit B6, and Vit D have helped me with it... and I use the same regimen when it gets dark/cold in the wintertime. Also sunlight and exercise and sleep...

    (Again, not saying I have all the answers for you, just respectfully letting you know what has helped me. For what it's worth.)

    And fight, with all your might and God's help, the bad day brain. I wish I could hand mine a pink slip. She's a royal pain in the behind.

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  23. Sorry to say that I doubt a UK psychologist would have a clue about the process. One told me that I shouldn't adopt in case the child had a genetic risk of mental illness (erm yeah, shouldn't breed either then)

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  24. I think this stuff is inherently fundamentally confusing bc there are way too many moving parts. Life as a parent of young children is effing tough, there's no way around that. It's often hard to see the point and positives. I don't know enough about depression or various similar things, perhaps I should, but I do know about therapy and recommend it highly. I recommend a true therapist, not someone to chat with, but someone who can guide through whatever is causing the feelings. I know that sometimes drugs and therapy together is the answer. I often think I should be functioning at a higher level and know that I'm capable, but I'm not doing it. And that knowledge, over several days of the pressures of my too full life, can hang over me for way too long. I'm just talking about myself.

    But the thing is, if your gut is telling you that finding someone to help you figure it out would help, well then you should absolutely follow your gut.

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  25. I'm not in your exact same boat, but I do understand. My problem was more of a feeling of being constantly overwhelmed and overly agitated with my kids (if I'm being honest, though, I was actually only agitated with one of my kids). I kept telling myself not to get on an anti-depressant because of the adoption thing--many countries immediately deny you. But then I realized that I will never want to adopt much less will I ever be a great mother to the kids I DO have if I don't get some help. I had to try 3 anti-depressants to find one that didn't give me bad side effects (I am incredibly sensitive to medications). I am on the lowest dose possible--not even a dose for depression, but more for anxiety. I am feeling better. More in control. Less edgy with the kid. Still exactly like myself. I think I could stand to increase my dose but haven't felt like going through the rigamarole with the doctor.
    If a future adoption is what is keeping you from seeking help, you may want to discuss it with your doctor. I think our doctor would be happy to omit the fact from our medical records for an adoptions sake. He thinks the rules are ridiculous! But honestly, even medicated, I am thinking that 2 kids are about all I can handle.
    I hope you decide to get some help--be it therapy, medication, or some natural remedies. I know you have no intention to harm your children or yourself, but I also know that it is hard to be the best mother you can be when you are feeling that way.
    Hugs.

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  26. I'm really sorry you've found yourself in this head space. It really sucks and no one deserves to feel that way. I get that your reasons for avoiding meds, but can I suggest if you're going to do that that you also set yourself some kind of timeline or cutoff and if you don't feel things have improved you commit to doing something about it. I hope you can get through it without needing them, but if it is what you need to do to get yourself in a better place then please do it.

    The scary thing for me is - what would things getting worse look like? I think too often when things do get worse (from where you are now) it can be hard to see that slow creep until all of a sudden things are really really bad and you don't really have choices any more.

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  27. If your stomach was feeling off-kilter you'd take a pill for THAT, and you don't feel ashamed for that. I know, there's a stigma, but who the hell needs to know about it? And...
    I know why you're worried about a future adoption first, I get that because we're waiting for court right now and if I was in a car accident and knew it might require additional documentation, I'd probably go home and put a bandaid on my dangling head before I'd set foot in a hospital! So here's what I would do.
    1. Get your self to a medical doctor TOMORROW. You could have a chemical issue, and they're the first ones that will give you a pill without 50 sessions of talking it out first. Preferably a doctor that has a reputation for dispensing. In the US, these are walk in, urgent care type clinics. 2. Pay cash, and don't involve your healthcare coverage.
    3. Google the guidelines on whatever country you might want to adopt from next time. The Eastern European country that we're adopting from is highly sensitive to psychological treatment. In fact one of tge strictest. However, they're concerned most with current treatment. Which you probably won't be if youre talking about a couple of years from now.

    Seriously girl, tomorrow!

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  28. Claudia, I haven't even taken the time to read other posts, so I apologize if I give any repetitive advice or statements.
    I think anti-depressants get a bad rap..as if by taking them you are admitting to yourself (and anybody brash enough to dig into your personal life) that you are "crazy". People live in their heads. So the thought of taking "brain altering" drugs might somehow scare people into believing that they might be changing who they are....but isn't that exactly what you are hoping to do? Wouldn't you like to live your life with a little less of bad brain?
    Now, before I go and start to sound like some kind of drug pusher here, let me state for the record that I'm not suggesting that you take them, but only to stay open to the possibility that they could help. Weather or not it makes sense for you would be a discussion you should have with your therapist. Yes, I said the T-word...and I can tell you, without hesitation, that the times in my life I've felt exactly the way you do now, meeting with a professional was always the best thing I could have done for myself. (And I am now a proud adoptive father of two...so...) Anti-depressants are not a solution to depression in themselves, but should only be used as a tool to turn down the "bad" brain for a while so the good one has time to heal and grow stronger through therapy. Anti-depressants should ONLY be used in combination with therapy and there should always be an exit strategy. Does therapy sound daunting? Of course it does..on every level that bad brain can think of...right? From one who has felt every word of your post at different times in his life: If you aren't already seeking professional help, do so. Bad brain will fight you every step of the way..she'll bring up schedules, time, money, other people's perceptions...yes, she'll even threaten you with scary adoption "what-ifs"...but she's full of shit. You should stop listening to her.

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  29. loving you from across the ocean. praying you see the glimmer of hope and the power of not being alone. no advice here. just gratitude for your realness and vulnerability.

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  30. you are so brave to post about your grey world. that is a genuine compliment, and bad day Claudia can just take it, okay?

    Know that we're praying for you. Specifically that somehow you find a teeny tiny twinkle light in your heart for Christmas. I'm sounding like a Hallmark commercial or some lame Nicholas Sparks book now. But if it were Nicholas Sparks, someone would die or get cancer. I'd prefer neither. So we'll just leave it at twinkle lights.

    I know there are so many dimensions to depression---ESPECIALLY when you're a Christian. There is the self-guilt (the joy of the Lord must not be my strength!), the fear of what others will think, the self-loathing, the fear that God is far away from you.

    We will be praying for you in any and all circumstances, whether asthma or aenemia, whether living in plenty or in want... there's my take on the apostle Paul.

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  31. Claudia--there is no shame in taking medication for depression. Imagine for a minute if the world didn't look grey--doesn't that sound like a lovely thought? And perhaps medication, and maybe talking with someone as well, would help bring color back into your world. Who wouldn't want that? You deserve the colors, Claudia--all of them, beautiful and bright. Hugs to you dear friend. Email or call if you ever want to talk more...

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  32. I'm hovering around a 4 myself, too. It's no fun. No fun at all.

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  33. {{{{{{HUGS}}}}}
    I don´t have anything smart to say...Just wishing you all the best and colourful world really soon!

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  34. Oh, I just don't know how to say thank you to all of you for these incredible, wise, supportive comments. They mean more than I can say - so much more.

    And Liz, you are ON. (SPOILER ALERT - I already have an update. So you had better get your skates on!)

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  35. I just deleted this comment because I was a victim of autocorrect but what I MEANT to say was
    We have both seen clinical psychologists in the past and our social worker said they WANT you to get help if you need it.

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  36. I was going to try to send you a PM about this, until I saw all the public support you're receiving and thought, "Hey self, she hit 'publish' on her post. Sure you can leave a public comment." So I will say here that I have been very depressed too. It's a hard thing to admit. I could lie and tell you that it's because my husband lost his job this fall and we have some serious financial concerns heading our way in the near future. But it's not just that one thing. I know it. My husband knows it. I'm sure you know what I mean as well. All these little things that add up to an oppressive "whole." Then you add in the fears that owning up to the depression and seeking help might be a disadvantage for any possible future adoptions that we might like to do. UGH!

    I also have plans to talk to a professional in early 2012. Let me know if you want to talk.

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  37. So sorry to hear that your world is so tough & grey at the moment. Sending compassion & strength to take the steps that are right for you. May I gently suggest getting out of your house & away for your gorgeous kidlets for a few hours - stat! You will know what you need to do when you have a free moment to yourself to take a deep breath, think a few quiet thoughts and hear what your heart is telling you to do.

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  38. oops ... that was from me ... not anonymous-stranger person.

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  39. I've been there - I go there off and on. I was relieved that I didn't dive head-first into a full-blown post-adoption depression (because I was prepared for it)...but was a bit low the first few months. While I totally share your concern about any diagnoses, medications, etc. impacting future adoptions, I do think that there can be lots of adoption opportunities even in the face of various medical and psychological situations (but of course, some international programs where that might be an issue).

    I come from a line of "dysthymic" and anxious women...and I ride the cusp at times. After a few months, I bounce back to my "typical" self. I think of myself as a realist, neither pessimistic nor foolishly optimistic (and like to point out that research - sorry, haven't taken time to look up a link for proper citation - suggests that mildly depressed folk have a more realistic outlook than others. So there). I am not easily enthused about much, sort of low-key emotionally (well, perhaps a little emotionally reactive at times), but find lots of beauty in life and don't feel like I need to be visibly cheery all the time. When I hit a bleak/overwhelmed spot, I ride it out for a while, and have (so far) always experienced an up-swing after a while...but always trying to remain aware that there would be a point at which letting things drag on and on without help would be unhealthy and unnecessary.

    Anyway, only you can know for sure what is within the range of normal and manageable emotional/psychological variance for you, and whether you have any sense that self-talk/spiritual disciplines/perspective-taking are enough on their own, or if it is time to look at getting some outside support. Wishing you much insight, peace, and wisdom on your journey.

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  40. ther-a-py! (say it with me!) ther-a-py!

    Only partially joking. I think that step would be a perfect one. It's not full balls to the walls (which is clearly making you nervous) but it's something. I think if you find a good therapist he or she will help you tremendously in figuring out if medication and if yes medication then which one better than your average doctor would.

    I'm with whoever said (I'm paraphrasing here) try to ssshh Claudia 2013 right now so you can make Claudia 2011 healthy again.

    Also, I had a friend who was on antidepressents and even though the Ethiopian government didn't want people to be on them, her doctor just "forgot" to mention it in his report. Perhaps you could find a therapist who would be willing to do that for you just this one time in the future if you choose to bring more kids into the bunch.

    Oh, and clearly all of us love you so if you need some of us to take a crazy long flight to drive you somewhere just give us the heads up. ;)

    Love to you.

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  41. I am not sure as I have ever commented, I read a lot of blogs but don't necessarily think I should comment.

    I didn't read your other commentors but, I know what the big, black, vacuum feels like. It happened to me. It happened shortly after I gave birth to my first child. I hate having depression. I hate taking medication. I hate feeling betrayed by my own body/self. I hate thinking that if someone finds out that I will be labeled. I finally got some help when I just couldn't do anything but cry sitting on the floor telling my kids, it's ok, mommy's ok.

    I somehow am making it through, I know you can too ( because if I am anyone can).

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  42. Been there, am there, don't like it one bit. Depression is miserable and I see myself in your post. I am on medication and it does help.
    I hope that you find the help that you need.
    One of my missions in life is to help stop the stigma of mental illnesses. It's ridiculous that we have to worry what other people will think, that they will think we are "crazy". Mental illnesses are chemical issues of the brain, no different than any other disease. I hope someday in my lifetime people will gain knowledge of mental illness and stop being so judgmental.
    Your post is helping educate people! Ok, I am getting off my soap box now. :)

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  43. Wanted to add my own huge hugs to the commenter love-pile. I have struggled on/off with depression for so much of my life. Yet when I see someone else (whom I admire a lot) experiencing it, I am so jolted by it and wish so badly I could make it all better.

    Antidepressants can be very helpful sometimes, but I have also had some yucky experiences with them as well -- probably because I didn't give them enough of a chance, or was not on the right one/dose, etc. So I would say, overall, that finding a good talk-therapist (not a doctor) first can be an enormously helpful starting point. Especially considering meds can take weeks to start working anyway. Also realize that there are so many personalities/'flavors' of therapists out there -- so if you don't like one, don't settle. Try to find one you feel good about.

    I am glad you brought up the worries about the mental health/what-will-the-adoption-people-think thing. That was a huge concern for us, actually, when we first investigated adoption. It devastated me that places like Korea, for example, would not approve us (or at least this was my impression) because I had been in therapy after dealing with recurrent miscarriage, etc. What the hell!?

    These things do not make it easier to get the help you need. But damn, is it important stuff, taking care of yourself. And please do keep writing about it, if it helps. It helps ME to know I am not alone in feeling this way sometimes too!

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  44. Hugs and Prayers!!!
    No advice. JUST LOVE!

    Thanks for your honesty here! Lots will be helped my your words!!!

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  45. Hi Claudia- sorry for commenting so late- I haven't had internet for a few days! My sister did text me to say I needed to read your blog. I know exactly what you mean- I've been there too. I know now that I was depressed (this was about twenty years ago, when there wasn't as much awareness of depression and more of a stigma) and what made it worse was I was so fed up with myself for feeling blue and lethargic all the time. Although it was so long ago, I will never forget it.
    Looking back, I really, really wish I'd got some help, like therapy or medication, or both, because I think I would have enjoyed my twenties much more, had more fun and not married my awful ex-husband.
    Lots of love to you, and I'm thinking a lot about you.
    Amy x

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  46. I fought going on antidepressants for a few months. The stigma,the dependency, the chemicals, adoption, all of that...but eventually the length of the greyness was just too, too long. An amazing therapist and the right antidepressant, brought the blue skies back....may yours come back soon too!

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  47. what lovely readers you have - I always say this but it's so true.

    And the Christian thing just messes it all up, doesn't it?

    *sigh*

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  48. Hey now... don't be hating on the Biebs!

    I've been off the blogs for over a week, and missed this -- so I already know which steps you've taken. Well done, you!

    And, you know, the Christian aspect of it -- well, our God isn't a tyrant or a harsh, disapproving parent. Our bodies (and yes, our brains) are broken and imperfect. It's a blessing that those little pills exist to help mend the broken parts and hush the bad-brain voice. No condemnation needed here.

    How very brave of you to post this, Claudia. Big hugs coming to you from Canada!

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Over to you!