Depression and Gratitude

While I was “away” from the blogging world, I wasn’t really away. I was blogging on a mostly private blog, taking part in an effort by many to count up to 1,000 blessings in my life—or more. I felt like I needed to do this. Gratitude has been a challenge lately; these days, I tend to focus much more on what I don’t like about my life. I even thought of having a weekly “Thankless Thursday” post where I complained about things—in a good-humored way, of course. (Hmm ... I might still do that.)

I mentioned in my previous post that depression has become an issue. I wasn’t just being flip; it really is an issue. I stopped taking antidepressants in March 2009, when I learned that I was pregnant. The pregnancy hormones—the same ones, apparently, that suddenly gave me beautiful skin, bodacious (yet painful) ta-tas, and luxurious hair—also seemed to fix the depression problem. Once the baby was born, the hormones released by breastfeeding continued to keep me out of the pit.

But something's happened. Maybe the milk production is going down (though it doesn't seem to be). Maybe I'm just tired. But the long-staved-off depression began to slink back in, darkening everything. It hasn’t helped that I’m working 50 hours a week, not sleeping enough, and never have time to write, play piano, or exercise. In fact, those things have made it worse, since my sure-fire ways of dealing with depression, aside from drugs, has been writing, music, and exercise. Soul-feeding stuff.

It’s been tough. And to get back to the title of this post, depression makes gratitude almost impossible. When depression has really infested your mind and soul, you can’t look outward and see things you’re thankful for. Depression shines a flash-dark (to use Dr. Seuss’s words) over everything. Everywhere seems to be a dead-end, and all you can do is look inward to the dead-end of yourself, to the bleakness within, and feel utterly hopeless about life, the future, everything.

But I’m going to try this again—the gratitude thing. I’ve begun by listing some of the items I already listed on my other blog. And I'll continue from there on a weekly (or so) basis. I’ll participate in “Multitude Monday” each week, even if I can only think of one thing I’m grateful for. (Working on gratitude is also something my counselor suggested I do.)

So, there’s one mission for this blog: Gratitude. Even though it’s a struggle these days. A big struggle.

Whew. I feel like I’m starting a whole new journey right now, with this blog, and with my life. Maybe I am. And maybe one of these days, Life Downside Up will start feeling like Life Right Side Down. Or Life Right Side Up. Something like that. :-)

Comments

B said…
I'm sorry to hear that you've been going through that! I, as I'm sure you know, have struggled with PPD, and had a history of depression beforehand, so I understand your journey. Hopefully this will be a cathartic outlet for you :)
withthekids said…
I appreciate your candor in talking about your depression. My own daughter was just diagnosed with a mood disorder. I think the more people with depression and those who love them bring the subject into the light the better understood it will be and the better we can love and carry each other.
I still remember, almost 13 years later, the depths of my PPD after my youngest was born. Praying for you and thankful that the internet can provide support.
Em and Lib said…
I know that flash-dark feeling. I found something that works for me, but I also must exercise and have morning time alone! Having suffered myself and knowing how insidious the monster is. I can be skating along...and then realize everything is dim and my heart feels small. and hard. and pretty empty.
Blessings and prayers as you find your way out of the cave.
LIB
http://bit.ly/fjHVOH

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