Depression, PPD, and Decades of Living Through It: Chapter 2

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In case you missed Chapter 1, you can find it here. As college came to an end, I was finally medicated and sleeping.

Sleeping is such a natural part of our everyday lives that one rarely thinks about not getting it unless you have insomnia.  Having not slept for 6 months, I had started hearing voices and experiencing some very odd things.  Feeling at the cusp of totally losing your mind and not being able to control your brain is unnerving to say the least.

Gaining this everyday functionality back was welcomed and very much needed.  I had to get a job and start paying my bills after all.  I found a temporary job as a nanny which was interesting.  I grew up in a very disciplined household and there was no discipline to be found in this house.  The boys did not listen or obey.  One of them even run away from me when I tried to get him to listen.  The parents didn't even discipline him when they came home.

The couple owned an event planning firm and the nanny job turned into an internship at their company.  One battle fought and won.  I had survived graduation and was actually earning money to pay my bills.  By mid-summer, I was sleeping and for the most part doing well.

Then, towards the end of June, my mom and I got into an enormous fight.  She wrote me a letter that I received on a Friday which was the very same evening a good friend was throwing a massive party.  I was understandably upset but went to the party and consumed a lot of booze.  This, of course, did not help with being extremely upset.  I went home with my roommate and ended up crying hysterically at the back of our galley kitchen holding a knife to my wrist just wanting the pain to all end. 

My roommate called my then boyfriend, who had decided to not come home with me from the party, to come help.   The BF hadn't wanted to deal with my extreme emotion.  This was fairly typical of our relationship and as you can imagine, a horrendous fit for me.  I was living in the realm of extremes and not being supported by your significant other just intensified the extremes and the depression.  He did finally come after my roommate pleaded with him and told him I was sitting on the floor of our kitchen with a knife in hand.

Somehow, they both managed to finally get me to bed.  This was the beginning of the end of my relationship with the bf.  I went to work the following Monday and trying to hold back tears in front of co-workers became impossible.  I ended up sitting in the intern office crying in front of all of my co-workers.  AWFUL.  I do not recommend ever doing this.

Over the next few months, I refused to speak to my mother, my relationship with my bf was unraveling, and I was trying to keep it together.   I continued taking my meds and was still sleeping despite the inner turmoil going on inside.  If it was not for my meds, I'm not sure I would've made it through this time.

I wish I could say the instances of contemplating suicide made me realize I needed real help.  I had honestly felt like dying so often it had become second nature.  I still felt the loneliness and felt abandoned by all of the loss I had experienced.  Now, I felt abandoned by my mother as well.

I tried to talk to my bf about all of the gobbly goop that was swirling inside of me.  I tried talking about it sober; I lashed out at him when drunk.  I just kept saying if you love me, then you have to support me.  It finally came down to one day sitting on his front porch when he told me he did not have the capacity nor the want to live with someone that was so severely depressed.  I asked well what would you do if your best friend was in the same situation and he stated simply that he would walk away.  And that's what he promptly did to me.  Another loss for Lee.

By the fall, my mom and I had made up.  I actually met an awesome guy and we started dating.  I was never one to take things slow so we were all in within a month.  He was supportive; he held my hand when I cried.  He didn't mind listening to me ramble on and on about my experience and loss.  I had found someone to support me - both good and bad.  The extremes didn't freak him out.

The difference a supportive significant other made was truly life-affirming.  Yes, I still had lots of black moments.  Yes, there were times when I felt at the edge of the abyss, but I had someone pulling me back.

By my mid-twenties, I was doing reasonably well and decided I wanted to go to grad school.  I also realized I wanted to come back to NC.  After almost 10 years in DC, I knew I didn't want to build a life there.  That also meant ending my relationship with awesome bf.  That was difficult and we dated until I literally got in my car and drove out of DC after packing up my condo.

I completed grad school in 2008 and moved to Beijing just after graduation.  Life was going pretty well and I really thought I had at least somewhat put most of those depressing days behind me.

Then came my 30s.



Llama Punch said...

These posts are beautiful and heart-wrenching. I can feel the emotions through every word. You are a beautiful and strong woman and I am so happy to have connected with you!

Elaine said...

So sorry you had to go through this without the support you needed at first. I also know what it's like to feel emotionally abandoned by a parent. It doesn't make sense and can really push you into a dark state. Thank goodness for your one boyfriend who supported you throughout!

Kari said...

Thank you for sharing such an intimate side of yourself! You are incredible!

Lee said...

Thanks for the comments y'all!