WARNING: This blog discusses suicide. If you are triggered by suicide discussions please do not read.
For the last few weeks I have been on a bit of downward spiral. It started with me noticing that I am really irritable with my loved ones. As I mentioned in a prior blog I yelled at my little girl, which is definitely not a normal occurrence for me, but it happened twice after that, which devastated me. I don’t know how to describe it, but I have such high goals for our relationship that when this happened I felt like I was completely ruining our relationship. I know that I can be very hard on myself, but my mind would not stop racing. Just in these last 2 weeks, I’ve had thoughts that my little girl would be better off without me.
With my husband, I am feeling like I would rather not talk for fear I might say something the wrong way and we would end up in another fight, that I started, and that I would have to apologize for. I am so tired of always having to apologize! The cycle goes like this, I say something in a demeaning way, or without thinking before I speak, most of the time because I’ve been bottling up my feelings and frustrations, my husband gets frustrated, understandably, I get more on guard and we end up in a fight. So, I’ve been withdrawing myself, because I don’t actually want to argue, I just don’t want to talk at all lately. Then I feel super sad about the argument and regret what I said. The cycle just keeps repeating itself. For years I have been bottling things up inside. I want to make my husband happy and give him what he needs, but the thing is you can only keep doing that for so long. You also can’t expect someone to know how you are feeling and what you need from them without actually telling them what you need. For example, I cannot get frustrated with my husband if he is watching football but I want him to spend time with me, and I never asked him or told him that I want to spend time with him. I feel like I am failing not only my daughter but also at my role as a wife. I am feeling as if I have lost my place in our family.
In general, feel like I just want to be alone. I am tired of always having to try at life, always having to put on a face that I am happy when I am just not! My mind races with questions like why can’t happiness just come naturally to me, would I, or even my family, be better off without me. When my mind goes toward suicidal idealization, I know that I am in a dangerous spot and I need help. All of these symptoms is not hard to diagnose…DEPRESSION!! Fuck!! I hate everything about it! Seriously, I am so tired of the same old story. I have been taking meds for over ten years, I’ve done dialectical behavioural therapy (“DBT”), private therapy for over 15 years, hospitalizations and nothing has made the cycles stop. I know it never will completely stop me from going through depressive cycles but sometimes I just wish it could!
But guess what, wishing and hoping is not a strategy to lift depression!
Things that help me:
- Therapy – seeing my therapist is probably one of my greatest tools. According to my therapist there are some new skills available as part of DBT. As I understand it, you put on a smile (opposite action to the emotion you feel) and lift your eyebrows just a bit. I know this sounds so silly! I have been practicing this at home and the results have been tremendous. When I feel depressed and down my facial expression shows it. Of course, when someone walks around with a resting bitch face who wants to talk to them? Since I’ve been practicing this skill in the last week, both my daughter and my husband approaches me differently. It actually makes me feel happier and my daughter approaches me more and probably feel like I am more approachable because I look happier. My husband’s facial expression and reaction towards me when he walks in the house is also a complete 180. He has also told me he feels like he can approach me when I look happier. This is not about hiding my feelings and just putting on a happy face for others. Smiling and lifting your eyebrow just a touch makes me actually feel happier and the more positive interactions I have with my family the better I feel. Try it!
- Communication – Last night, and over the weekend, my husband and I have been having really intimate conversations about what is happening for both of us in our relationship. It takes a toll on the person living with someone suffering from depression. To be around someone who, for months at a time, don’t feel like talking, feel depressed and push you away, is definitely something I know I would have a hard time coping with. For me to open up to my husband is sometimes one of the hardest things to do because I don’t want him to worry or add more of a burden, but it does give him some insight as to why I am responding a certain way and sometimes even pushing him away. He get’s paranoid and feel insecure sometimes too, like all individuals do, and communicating with your partner, and even your child, in an appropriate method of course, do help them dealing with their feelings. Even for me, opening up to my husband and sharing thoughts I’ve been bottling up and been too afraid to share is like lifting a weight of my shoulders. I truly have an amazing husband who goes above and beyond to help me cope with my struggles of depression and anxiety. I believe with all my heart God sent him on my path to make life just a little easier.My husband and I are also working through a book called “The High Conflict Couple.” The book uses DBT skills to control emotions that flare up in relationships. It describes how each person acts and reacts differently based on his or her personality type, and how to understand each other better in order to prevent destructive arguments. It discusses ways to manage problems with negotiation, instead of conflict and to find acceptance and closeness with your partner.
- Self-care – These are little things I do for myself to feel better it truly does wonders. On my way to and from work, I listen to this podcast called Forever35. My car rides home is about 2 hours of my day that I have to myself and these two ladies make me laugh, they have great self-care suggestions and I feel like I am in conversation with some great friends, and best of all I don’t have to talk back. Asking my husband on weekends for a couple of hours to do something for myself, whether it is running an errand or writing on my blog, it gives me time to rejuvenate my soul. My FabFour smoothie as discussed in my Stop Complaining blog makes my body feel great which in turn makes me feel great.
- Connecting with God – I have been spending time with God again. I try to spend some time before bed reading my Bible and talking with God. I truly feel like my anxiety dissipates. God says in Phillipians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Spirituality is not for everyone, but if it is for you, I encourage you to reach out to God. For the longest time I haven’t spent time with Him as I was afraid He might not want me anymore, but the thing is He loves me no matter what. The love of God surpasses all understanding and we as human beings will never truly understand how far His love for us stretches. I write down the things that worries me, I pray for guidance, and He never seizes to surprise me. Somehow, it all gets resolved.
- Checking the Facts – This is also a DBT skill. When I think my daughter or my husband would be better off without me I remind myself of these facts:
- My husband has told me so many times how devastated he would be
- My therapist reminded me of the statistics of kids that will develop a mental illness because of a parent committing suicide and even commit suicide themselves.
- Would I want my family to suffer like I am? NO!
- Have any of my family member ever stated that they would rather not want me in their life? NO!!!!!
Dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts are not easy for the depressed individual but it is also not easy for the individuals living with you. It is always up to you if and how you are going to deal with it. Using skills, finding a therapist and opening up to the ones you love are important. If you feel like you need help or you know someone who needs help, please contact your local doctor, the resources listed to the right of this page, or call 911. And most important know that you are never alone!