Thursday, May 22, 2008

It's real, I'm real

I watched a very good documentary last night on PBS called Depression: Out of the Shadows. It showed the stories of different people, with different experiences and levels of depression. Kids with depression, late onset of depression in seniors, post partum depression, and low grade depression. Low grade depression, although not "officially" diagnosed, is what I think I had. Just a very low grade that allowed me to function for years, but also made me listless and unbearable to be around. Then with each child, it got worse turning into post partum depression. Low grade doesn't have highs and lows, it's just a constant, almost never ending thing. You don't secret away into your room to suck your thumb in the fetal position, you just exist, but like a gray scale version of yourself. Pissed off at everyone and everything, insecure, paranoid and anxious.

At the end of the broadcast, they had a panel discussion hosted by Jane Pauley, who at fifty was diagnosed as bi-polar. They had three specialists on there to discuss depression and points from the movie. Many times during this panel, I got teary eyed because here where medical doctors saying THIS IS A DISEASE. This is just like cancer or diabetes or heart disease. You would never tell a cancer patient to just "get over" their cancer. So, expecting someone with depression to just get over it, and move on is unrealistic. They can't. People who don't have depression, they have a bad day, or maybe even a bad time, a few weeks or months where everything is steeped in sad, but they on their own get over the hump. Maybe they did something to get them through, a new hobby, or exercising. It was easy for THEM, it should be easy for you too! It doesn't work that way. When a person has a mood disorder, a part of their brain doesn't work the way yours does.

This whole thing couldn't have come at a better time. Yesterday, Aislinn had a doctors appointment for a physical. I talked to the Dr. about her clothing issues, and she gave me a list of psychiatrists, both for children and adults. While we waited for Aislinn to get her shots, I toyed with whether or not I wanted to send her. On one hand, I've been waiting close to 6 years for her to get over all this, on the other hand, I don't want her to be labeled or given pills she doesn't need. We got called in for the shots, and it was a nightmare. Aislinn had to be physically restrained by me and a nurse, while the third quickly gave her her innoculations. She physically assaulted the nurse, kicking her repeatedly in the crotch, and slapped me once on the hands, trying to get me from holding her down. She screamed and cried, and when we finally got her down, she just continued with a high pitched keening that everyone in the office heard. I was horrified, I was pissed, I grounded her, and sent her to school after a lengthy and loud discussion. It stuck with me all day. Tony didn't think I grounded her long enough (just last night) but there was one thing I couldn't ignore... the sheer terror in her eyes while she was being held down. The fact was that they didn't have the TIME to wait for her to get ready on her own, which knowing Aislinn could have taken until closing time, when she wouldn't comply, refusing to lay down, actions had to be taken. Aislinn doesn't take well to being man handled, but it was something that had to be done.

After watching the documentary, somethng that had occurred to me when I was first diagnosed occurred to me again. Aislinn has some residual issues from MY depression. I know it. My depression has affected her deeply, more than I realize I'm sure. I wasn't a good mother. I see that now. Even though it's not my fault, I still feel guilty. How many times did I bully her to do things my way, even using my size to my advantage? How many times have I told her how stubborn she's being, how taxing, irritating, bad? How many times have I spanked her for being nothing more than herself? How many times had I yelled in her face, or on a GOOD day, just not interact with her at all?

So, I will be making the call, and you know what? I'll be making a call for myself as well. Talk therapy is something I have resisted, happy with just taking my medicine. But, I think I'm ready to take that step. If anything, just to have a neutral party to tell all my yucky crap to. Maybe even work together WITH Aislinn to repair anything that needs fixed. I love that girl so much, but there are a lot of times I just don't like her, and I know she has got to feel that.

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