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Photo by Michelle Lord 2018

About a week ago I decided it was time to see the doctor again.  My bad days were more frequent than my good ones.  When you deal with depression you know that means a downward slide is not far away.  I had a few clues…  I was really close to shaving my head for real.  I had really gotten one of those I don’t care attitudes, which isn’t good when you work in customer service.  At least most of my days recently have been answering emails and doing chat, so no actual speaking to customers.  That is a good thing when all you want to do is tell the customers where to go.  Not easy to keep your job when you are insulting the paying customers.  Even though, I have found that there are a lot of whiney people out there.  It is like they have this attitude of entitlement.  Oh, UPS lost my package; you need to give me discounts or money back for my inconvenience.  I mean one customer was in a complete meltdown because their tufted button storage bench was missing a button.  A button… I mean really.  I offered her a replacement, no shipping fees, etc., still not enough.  They wanted to be compensated for their inconvenience and for us ruining their new redecorated home by this one piece of furniture.  If I hear one more time, “That’s not fair,” I am going to pull my hair out.  I guess I wouldn’t need to shave my head if I started pulling out my hair.  I don’t think that would be a smart idea.

 

Due to my bad days, and generally not feeling comfortable in my own skin, I went to see my primary care doctor.  After a long discussion on the fact that no, I’m not suicidal, but my moods are really affecting my ability to work, we added a new pill to my regimen.  Not thrilled about that, as now that is the third part of my drug regimen, but I am actually starting to feel better.  This last downhill slide really caused me to question if I am going to be able to continue to work.  When you are sitting in front of your computer, answering chats, and then you sit there and think, “I don’t know if I can keep doing this,” then depression is starting to affect your lifestyle, your ability to pay bills, and even function in this world.  What is really hard though is when people ask you what your problem is.  Why are you acting like this?  What is your deal?  Get over yourself   People say this because they don’t understand how you feel, as it isn’t something that is physical.  When you have physical illness there is something to see, rash on the skin, swelled joints, braces on a joint, but mental illness can only be seen in the actions of people who suffer from it.  The problem is when people who are really depressed hit bottom to where others are starting to notice it is normally after they try to hurt themselves or are no longer functioning in society.

What people need to do is stop acting like depression just means you are a bit down.  Something people say they have to get disability or use an excuse to get out of something.  How do you explain to a person that you can’t even stand yourself?  The days when you sit staring at your computer screen knowing you need to work, but you can’t.  I do know my triggers are holidays.  I say this year I’m not going to care about Christmas and most of the family isn’t talking to me.  Oh Mother’s Day, just another commercial holiday, but when the kids barely acknowledge you, it kind of hurts.  We have never really been into holidays, but sometimes just getting together as a family somewhere helps immensely.  I can understand why suicide rates go up during the holiday season.  You see stories of these families that every year they can’t wait to get together; the TV shows where everything is wonderful, which most of it is not realistic, but that is a standard a lot of people think they need to strive for.  When your kids won’t talk to you and the rest of your relatives don’t really know who you are, kind of hard to have a Hallmark Christmas.

 

The thing about depression is it is still something people just don’t like to discuss.  I remember back when I was growing up everybody knew Aunt Suzy had a problem, but everyone ignored it, that was just the way she acted.  The truth is Aunt Suzy was actually bipolar, and really needed help, but you just didn’t talk about back then.  We really though don’t talk about it now either.  We joke about people taking their “happy pills.”  I even joke about how you better hope I’m on my “happy pills,” as me not on my pills isn’t a pleasant experience.  Most people who have contact with me probably have no idea I’m on antidepressants, as I have been able to put on a mask.  The mask of pleasant, easy-going Michelle, covering the inner me that just wants to smack someone in the face, scream out loud, or just find a dark space and hide.  I am pretty sure everyone has someone in their life that is doing a good job of hiding their depression, but there are signs if you look deep enough.  Sometimes someone actually wanting to know how you are feeling can make a big difference.

I guess my point is people need to feel more comfortable talking about mental illness.  It is real, just as real as heart disease and diabetes, but when it comes to illness of the mind it is harder to prove.  If a loved one seems down, not interested in things they used to enjoy, isn’t really communicating, maybe you need to take the time to listen to what they aren’t saying, as their actions are speaking volumes.  Until next time…

 

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mothers-day-card-pride-mom-funny-ecard-XYLIn the early 1900s a lady called Anna Jarvis was the reason we have Mother’s Day today.  In wanting to honor her mother who worked to clean up and sanitize the make shift hospitals and such during the Civil War.  Most women stayed home and took care of kids, not volunteering to improve the health of the soldiers.  Through Anna’s efforts to honor her mom, she ended up getting the US Government to authorize the holiday so all mothers could be honored by their children for their hard work and love for their kids.  The problem was Mother’s Day ended up this very commercialized holiday that made it more about what the kids spent on the present then really honoring their mom through spending time with them.  If your kids didn’t go out and spend a bunch of money on you then you must be a bad mother, which is part of where I believe the depression comes from related to Mother’s Day.  The thing is Anna got so upset that she started petitioning, picketing, and protesting the government to stop the holiday, as it didn’t mean what it did originally, it became more of a guilt trip on kids who either were unable to or did not buy a big gift or fancy dinner for their mom.  The sad thing is Anna spent all her money on trying to stop Mother’s Day as we know it.  Her true feelings were expressed in her quote:

A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment.

— Anna Jarvis.

While others profited from the day, Jarvis did not, and she spent the later years of her life with her sister Lillie whom she had taken care of for years. In 1943, she began organizing a petition to rescind Mother’s Day.  However, these efforts were halted when she was placed in the Marshall Square Sanitarium in West Chester, Pennsylvania, broke and with dementia.  People connected with the floral and greeting card industries paid the bills to keep her in the sanitarium. She ultimately died in 1948.  The committee she formed tried to stay together after her death, but finally disbanded.  Anna Jarvis never married nor did she have any children, which is a bit of irony as she was the reason for Mother’s Day and she never was a mother.

I do believe the problem with Mother’s Day is the same problem with most of the other holidays, there is this expectation of what everyone should do or expect, and when reality hits the depression sets in.  Let’s say you are a mom, but your kids are older and basically just call or such, you then wonder what you did to be such a bad mom that they didn’t feel compelled to do more for you.  You then have Christmas with the gift giving and the crap that goes with that.  Of course you have Valentine’s Day and the expectations that come from that, no big gift so the person must not really love me.  I read somewhere that the day after Valentine’s you will find the most traffic from women looking for a new guy on one of the many dating websites, including the married looking for married type.

With all this said, people need to stop having such big expectations for these commercialized holidays.  Most holidays were not started as a reason to give a bunch gifts or such, they were started to honor an event, a person, or a group of people.  Whether it be veterans, mothers, dads, and Jesus, the reason for the season needs to come first, not the expectations given to a person through the constant bombarding of commercials on TV, radio ads, or even surfing the web.  We all need to remember it isn’t the gift that is given, but the thought behind it…  Till next time….

 

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