Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Another Confession and a Soap Box

I've decided it is time to make another confession. I have not been doing well for a couple of months now. At first, I blamed my ditziness and my overall unhappiness on my lack of sleep. But then Anna started sleeping again and I still felt terrible. So I powered through it and hoped it would just get better. Well, it hasn't. I sometimes can see myself as a volcano - and the lava is boiling at about eye level - and at any minute, it could erupt straight out the top of my head and I'll completely lose it. The things that I have been appropriately frustrated with (i.e. Haylie's potty issues, etc.) now seem unbearable. I want to scream. I want to run. I want to crawl into a dark hole and never come out. So after talking with some friends, I began to realize that maybe I would benefit from seeing a therapist. The word "depression" hadn't entered my mind yet - but I thought if I talked to someone, I could figure out what I could do to make myself feel better, and therefore make myself a better wife and mother. I am usually a very confident person and I usually don't worry what other people think. But lately I second guess everything - and have been very down on myself. So anyway, the week before I met with my therapist I started to think that there was more to it - chemically. I would have the strangest mood swings and realized rather quickly that I was dealing with depression. Whether it is "post-partum" depression or what, I do not know. But what I do know is that my hormones are OUT OF WHACK! I just stopped nursing Anna and the BC pill I've been on is not the full dosage or whatever. OK...so the first week I met with my therapist, she suggested that I see my doctor because it was clear to her that I would benefit from 1) a new BC pill and 2) an anti-depressant to help me get back on track.

*Side note: I had the most amazing doctor. I've been going to him since we moved to Fresno - he just sent out letters to all his patients stating that he was switching to a new "concierge" system of doctoring. That means that to be a patient in his practice, you have to pay an extra fee on top of all your copays etc. He is doing that so he can be true to himself and the reason he became a doctor - to help each patient to the best of his ability and not to pack in as many patients as possible and provide mediocre care. So I support his decision to do that, but I am very sad because I cannot afford to be a part of his new practice.

So I tried to get in with a new doctor who came highly recommended but his practice is full, so his office recommended another doc in the same facility. So I went to him. Well, now I know why his practice is not full. It was a very upsetting and frustrating visit. Let me preface this by saying: I am not the type of person that thinks a pill will solve all my problems. I want to get to the root of the problem - that is why when I had bad headaches I started seeing a chiropractor instead of popping more pills. That is why I wanted to see a therapist before I decided to get on an anti-depressant. I think that so many of our physical / emotional issues stem from other issues. With that said, I know that I need a pill right now. I know that just talking about my problems is not enough right now. I know that my body is physically incapable of fixing itself right now. So I met with my new doctor and told him how I have been feeling. I informed him that my therapist recommended I see him for some additional help. His response (in a nutshell): "You need to exercise. If you exercise just 3 times a week for 30 minutes at a time you'll feel much better". Uh...right. Oh and he did say he would get me a new BC pill and that would help. But come on. Ok...I agree - I could use some exercise and it probably would help, but right now - there are days that it is a chore just to get out of bed...and you really expect me to get up and exercise? Did you hear a word I just said to you? He said that he doesn't like to just jump to the prescription pad whenever someone has a problem. MY THERAPIST...DID YOU HEAR ME??? I SAID THERAPIST...RECOMMENDED I SEE YOU. I AM NOT JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS HERE...I NEED HELP!!! It's not like I'm asking for some drug like Ritalin that I can abuse. I am asking for something to help me get ahold of myself!!! That is what I should have said. Instead I held back my tears and left his office quietly. I got in my car and bawled my eyes out feeling totally helpless and totally defeated. Then of course, I started second guessing myself again - maybe he's right...maybe I am just looking for an easy way out. So I called a friend and she helped me to remember that I need to trust my intuition. Some doctor I just met has no right to tell me what I do or don't need. I know what I need and I have a right to demand it. Needless to say, I'm on the hunt for another doctor.

I have discovered a lot of things recently: 1) I am not man-bashing here but it is impossible for a man to know what it is like to deal with the hormones that come with just plain being a woman, let alone a woman who has gone through pregnancy, a c-section, nursing, etc. 2) It is hard for someone who has never been depressed or experienced those feelings of depression to understand what it is like. It does not make you stupid or uncaring, it is just a feeling that cannot be understood until you're there. 3) There is still a stigma associated with depression and therapy that I do not understand. I have found myself, at times, feeling embarrassed, or wondering what people will think of me. That is why I decided to post this. I want that stigma to be gone. I don't want to feel embarrassed that I am in therapy - going to therapy, to me, means that I want to be better. I want to be the best I can be - and I can't do it on my own. How can that be viewed as anything but healthy?? Maybe there is somebody else out there who has felt the same way I do and is too embarrassed to do anything about it. This needs to be discussed and it needs to be OK. 4) If you think that So-and-So's family is perfect and they don't have problems - think again. Nobody is perfect. We all have issues. It is what we decide to do with those issues that is important. That is why we are here. To face trials, to overcome those trials and become more like Christ. None of us is there yet.

So that sort of turned into a little soap box speech. These are just things that I have been feeling very strongly lately. I did not write this blog so that people would feel sorry for me, or worry about me, or pity me. I wrote it so that if there is anyone out there that is feeling depressed and alone, you know that you are not. It is my hope that maybe I can help someone just as my friends have helped me.

26 comments:

shelbrz said...

Don't you just love how they turn it into something that is your fault. "You need more exercise" or "you need to eat better/sleep more(HAH! with kids)/or my personal favorite...you don't drink enough water!" Like more water will not make me want to shred other people into tiny little pieces when they do something I don't like. Hang in there girl, lot's of us have been there. Hormones are evil! :) Guys haven't a clue what we deal with.

RMCarter said...

Thank you for writing this. I am one of those friends you spoke of that has taken great comfort in reading your story and knowing I am not alone. I am proud of your courage and I know this post will help others like it has helped me.

Good for you for taking steps to feel better. I hope you find a new doctor who can get on board with that. Love you!

kelly said...

I'm so with you. Let me just tell you that I finally went on Zoloft about 4 months ago after struggling with postpartum depression. I have never had that before and it was awful, I was really coming down hard on my oldest 3 for very little things and knew it wasn't fair to them. I am doing tons better now but still have my hard days. By the way, I excercise 4 to 6 days a week and while it helps to be well rested and excercise, it won't solve the problem.

Brock said...

I am so proud of you and your courage to post this. I know it wasn't easy but you did it! I would now like to also come out of the therapy anti depressant closet. I realize this is may be like Clay Aiken coming out of the closet but there ya go! Sometimes choosing happiness means asking for help.
Erin

Anonymous said...

I completely disagree with the search of a new doctor. Honestly you say that you are not looking for the "cure all" pill, but it certainly looks like it with the the disapproval of the verdict of the doctor. What you need to do is yes, talk to a doctor if you have issues with your BC pill but for the depression that is a little excessive. You need to just face it, this time in your life its hard raising young kids. We have all had to do it. It's not easy and you can do it too. You also need to not let what others say affect you. Don't let yourself get wrapped around what others think about you. Don't think because your friend has a problem you have the same problem. What you need to do is pray everyday and night, read your scriptures and let the Lord help with your burdens. Try a little faith first before popping the pills.

Brock said...

I think this previous comment is way out of line. I think if you can't even take responsibility for what you are writing by identifying yourself you have no business writing it. Kristie has been praying a lot! She attends her meetings she is a good mother. But there are times when Heavenly Father asks us to humble ourseleves and ask someone else to help carry the load. She has done that, by seeking a therapists advice. It was her therapist that recommended an anti depressant not her friend. I can tell you this because I am the friend she was talking about. How dare you pressume to know the struggles she faces and chalk it up to "raising kids is hard". Sometimes choosing a gospel centered life requires asking for help. How dare you suggest that she is looking for a quick fix. You have obviously NEVER been to therapy because there is nothing easy or quick about addressing your issues head on. Kristie is brave, and courageous, and it is people like you, whoever you are, that cause people to not get help and wind up harming their children because they are scared of your judgement. Shame on you
Erin

RMCarter said...

Ever thought that maybe Kristie's prayers are what led her to this therapist and to the decision that she needs help right now? Answers to prayers come in many ways. Sometimes God doesn't just make you 'feel better', He prompts you to take action.

You must be some kind of spiritually gifted soul to read one blog entry and automatically know the path she should take. Either that or you are completely ignorant about mental health issues and how they relate to spirituality.

I'm sorry but at this point, I'm voting for the later.

I sincerly hope you never have to deal with clinical depression. If you do, I hope you are shown more compassion than you've given to Kristie today.

The Gooches said...

i hope this doesn't make you mad but a lot of therapists will tell you to exercise first too. I TOTALLY know how you feel and that it is not so easy to do that some days but if you are looking for an alternative to medication try it out first. it really helps. my sis is completely off of her meds now by choosing to work out and it has now become something she needs in her life and she is happier. i am just saying try it first. men for sure have no idea what we need emotionally but some of those docs do know what we need physically to help. be open minded and pray about it. if it doesn't work then you know it didn't and know you tried and go to the next thing. there isn't anything wrong with medication if you need it. but try the alternatives first if you think that is right no matter how silly and unreasonable they seem! good luck! i raised a mother, two sisters and a brother with extreme depression i know how hard it is! you are in my prayers!

Anonymous said...

What I said before might have been taken wrong in the meaning of what I was trying to convey. It's hard to express tone and meaning through written word. I'm sorry that I have offended all that have read the words that I have written. I don't have anything against Kristie seeing a therapist or getting medication when needed. I think it should be a decision between her physician her and her husband. I just want her to make sure she is making all the right decisions without having the influences of friends and others. Getting advice from friends is great, the professionals know what they are doing. Again, I feel sorry if I have offended you all.

The Gooches said...

p.s. there is a blog i belong to that is for mom's. just for mom's to talk about their frustrations and problems and happiness. it is nice to hear that other moms go through the same things. most of the girls are LDS which helps to have the perspective of moms with the same values and beliefs the blog is www.happymommas.blogspot.com i have received so much help with my eating disorders and psychological problems through the help of other sympathetic moms. check it out. you may really like it. try to remember that you are a wonderful mom and a wonderful wife and sometimes the Lord gives us challenges that we have to face. NEVER NEVER stop saying your prayers no matter how hard it is to get out of bed! love ya tons!

Brock said...

Dear Anonymous,
Why would you assume based off of this blog that Kristie hadn't consulted with her husband, Heavenly Father, and Therapist when that is what the blog is all about?? You said she should try faith instead of popping a pill, that was rude, no matter what tone you say it in.
Erin

RMCarter said...

Kristie,

If I have learned one thing over the last several years, it is that people do not understand unless they have been there.

Some will try to understand. Some will admit they can't understand, but offer their support anyway. And some will naively believe they know 'just how you feel'. Those are the people who will hurt you unintentionally, because they are more interested in fixing your problem than holding your hand while you fix it yourself, in the way that’s right for you.

And I think that is what happened here today. You can tell by Anonymous’ comments that she just hasn’t been there. She was trying to be helpful, and you can tell she cares about you. But she went about it all wrong. She doesn’t understand.

Just know that you have hand-holders and cheerleaders out there loving you and encouraging you. I know you will make it through this in YOUR way and in YOUR time!

Anonymous said...

First off I would like to say that I am not the same person as the other anonymous. Perhaps consider maybe staying at home all day with the kids isn't for Kristy right now. Maybe she should consider trying to work part time or full time for a break. It really helps some moms that I have known with young children. Just something to ponder. Best wishes.

RMCarter said...

Anonymous,

I really don't want to have a debate on poor Kristie's blog, but maybe there is something to be learned here.

Taken directly from your comment:

I completely disagree...
Honestly...
What you need to do...
that is a little excessive...
You need to just...
We have all had...
You also need to not...
Don't let yourself...
Don't think because...
What you need to do...
Try a little faith first...

How many times did YOU tell her what she 'needs' to do. You say you want to make sure she is making all the right decisions without having the influences of friends and others. Sounds like if anyone is telling her what to do, you are. Even if said in the sweetest tone possible, you are still deciding for her. Or rather, making judgments on her decisions.

I appreciate your apology to 'all that have read the words that I have written'. However, I don't want/need it. Instead, my suggestion is that you apologize to Kristie, because intentionally or not, no matter what the tone, your words hurt. Just a thought.

Jenn said...

Kristie- Looks like you have some great friends who are ready to defend you! You must know that when you posted this on your blog that ANYBODY would be reading it and that you had to be prepared to hear from both sides... everyone has their opinions and yes, it doesn't mean you have to listen to ANY of them! You know what's best for you and your family. Your family loves you, your extended family loves you (especially the cool brother and sister-inlaw you have) we are keeping you in our prayers and thinking of you often! Wish I could make all your worries go away- but you know who can listen always... love ya!

Rachel said...

Fight! Fight! Fight! Blog Fight!:)

just me said...

I am the mom of one of Kristie's friends, which automatically makes me one of Kristie's friends and fellow defender. I have just one thing to say...Anyone who is so cowardly that she cannot sign her name INTENDS to hurt and does so by unfairly judging. Anyone who is so cowardly that she cannot sign her name has NOTHING OF ANY VALUE TO SAY. Anyone who is so cowardly she cannot sign her name should first examine herself before she condemns others. Whoever you are, Kristie is the better person. Lynn

just me said...

haha---guess I had more than just one thing to say, huh? Lynn

Sarah said...

Kristie,
I was thinking about you. Hang in there. You will be in my thoughts and prayers. Love ya.

The Real Brock said...

I'm a male and I don't know if that's allowed in these comments, but here I am anyway.

There's only two reasons a person chooses to be anonymous, either a) they are making a sizable donation to the Salvation Army and aren't concerned with credit, or b) they are, as Lynn put it, a coward. If you can't stand behind what you're going to say, then what makes you think it's even worth saying? No amount of backpedaling or broken syntax is going to constitute an apology for something like that, ESPECIALLY if you decline, once again, to even identify yourself. Don't be deceived by the pretended politeness of your own words. What you said was rude and judgmental. Own up to it.

Now, as for the post itself: Kristie, I really admire what you've done here. This is an honest, from-the-heart take on your present circumstances. It's not easy to say such things and it's obvious you've spent a lot of time working up to your current understanding of the situation. Kudos to you. Would that we could all be so honest with ourselves and so unafraid of what others might think if we were.

We truly do ourselves and those around us a disservice when we pretend at normalcy and, in so doing, make mockery and light of our trials. The point is never to ignore the ill that comes our way (whether by our own foolish design or that which is imposed upon us by others or circumstances), but to embrace and deal with it. That's how we learn.

You've decided to learn. This is not only a good thing, it is the very best thing.

Rachel Reynolds said...

Kristi, my heart breaks as I read such unfortunate words by someone who clearly lacks basic knowledge and understanding of the medical condition known as depression. Take heart in the belief that you have prayed, that you have educated yourself, and that you are taking care of your health and well being. You are a beautiful woman of God, an amazing mother, wife, and friend, and you are held in the prayers and confidence of so many of us. Trust yourself and your intuitive ability to seek decisions for you that are healthy and proactive, and do the best that you can to silence the voices of those whose hidden agendas and painfully obvious ignorance seek to tear down and destroy. This is so painfully far from the love of Christ or the way to demonstrate compassion for a fellow friend. I can't help but wonder if this person is struggling with her own faith in Christ, her own lack of knowledge, or perhaps her own unresolved feelings of sacrifice that comes with motherhood. Her words are NOT about you!! I applaud you for your courage, for your faith, and for your steadfast desire to be the best wife, mother, and friend that you can be. You are Eric are an inspiration and we LOVE you!

jennifer said...

kristie, i wish i had something profound to say to you. i don't. please know that i support you. i think you are so brave to get yourself to a doctor, to make yourself vulnerable to his opinions, and then to share your experiences with the world. i don't think i could do any of those things.

i vote for going back to the doctor until you get exactly what you need.

P.S. "The Real Brock" should leave more comments. #1 he's funny #2 we like to have the male perspective

Alison B said...

Wow...you really caused some controversy with this post. WEll, i'm so glad you posted it, and I'm proud of you for making a confession and getting on your "soapbox". I want you to know I was there exactly one year ago. My baby was just a couple of months old and very very needy. Plus, I had 2 other kids who needed me, too. A husband who works a lot, a demanding calling, and the list goes on. It took a lot, but I did get on a pill, and let me tell you, I AM SOOOOOO GLAD!!!!!!!!!!!! I only wish I had done it sooner.

Know you are not the only one in this situation, and yes, it will pass, and yes, praying will help, but sometimes you need other help, and I think there is no shame in taking a pill.

That anonymous person is quite ignorant in my humble opinion. Funny that they left that comment anonymous, too. ha!

I'm glad you posted this because now we all know you are human, and that we all have struggles. Yes, everyone has a different opinion on this subject, but you need to do what is best for you and your family. If a pill will solve that problem for now, then so beit. In a year or so, you may not need it anymore because this hard time will have passed.

Good luck...let us know what you decided. :)

TJE said...

Kristie, You don't know me... but as somebody who has been on similar medication for a few years now, I just wanted to say that your openness and bravery to seek help is to be commended.

Most of the comments here are very positive and supportive... but those that are less than that come from a position of ignorance.

I don't mean that in a negative way, its just that the stigma attached to depression or other mental illnesses is still prevalent in our society. Its unfortunate because it is no different than any other illness... it really can't be controlled through faith or prayer alone. God helps those who help themselves.

Just another guy's humble opinion.

sueyado said...

I have been praying for you ever since I read your post. As the wife of a Lisensed Clinical Social Worker, I have learned through listening to Brian that there are many ways to handle depression, and they are different for every person! I think you are awesome and I know you will make it through this! Let me know if I can ever be of any help to you! Love you!!!

CareyClan said...

Kris- you are absolutely right in looking for a second opinion!!!!!! Having a husband in the medical field (surgeon) I KNOW that there are alot of idiot doctors out there! (excluding my hubby of course-he he) Kenny has told me of doctors that are complete morons, and that most people could go to medical school if they just tried. I'm not putting anything against doctors- most are very excellent, intelligent people. But their are the few who are able to sneak thru med school and still be stupid! When "someone" said that the professionals know what they are doing- that person was dead wrong! Doctors are hunam being- meaning- imperfect! Even the best are going to make mistakes! SO, bravo to you for wanting to help yourself! We are given trials and it is up to US to solve our problems! Heavenly Father will help us, but we have free agency and we have to help ourselves as well! He's not going to magically take our trials away just because we pray for him to! We have to do our part and in many cases that means seeking help:)