A Book Excerpt
The demons got to me again.
I saw it coming but I couldn't stop it this time. Depression set in and it set in strong.
This last month was bad enough that I finally got myself to the point that I knew I needed help. Of course, I didn't actually go get the help right away.
No I waited until I was tearing down the backyard pool and accidentally gave myself a really big gash on a rusted out piece of metal that required medical bandaging and a tetanus shot. While he was cleaning the wound I decided to ask in a nonchalant way about once again prescribing me some depression medication.
Doctor: Have you considered harming yourself?
Me: I swear this cut on my arm was an accident!
Doctor: But you have considered it?
Me: Well, kind of, yeah. But this here on my arm really was an accident!
I am very thankful my doctor believed me that I needed help, and that the cut on my arm really was from tearing down the pool. He not only gave me a prescription, but he called the pharmacist personally to be sure I would be able to afford the medication since I don't have health insurance.
Step one - I finally asked for help. Step two - he listened. Step three - I helped myself and began taking the medication.
Today is the first day I can really feel a difference. The heaviness is gone.
I am not ashamed to admit that the chemicals in my brain are out of whack right now and I need some help regulating them. I no longer think this makes me a bad yogi or a bad mommy.
I talk quite a bit in my book about depression in women. I'm sharing an excerpt here with you as a reminder that if you too are suffering with depression, you are not alone. It's also a good reminder for me as well.
An excerpt from Creating A Joyful Life: The Lessons I Learned From Yoga & My Mom
Chapter 1: I'm Not The Crazy One! Am I?
Meditation vs. Medication
Good yogis don’t get depressed. Good yogis don’t need medication. Medication is for the weak.
I believed those lies and it almost destroyed me.
During the immediate aftermath of my husband walking out on our family, I fell apart. I couldn’t function in simple day-to-day tasks. Eating was impossible. Sleep didn’t happen. I couldn’t stop crying. It all came to a head one afternoon in the backyard with Kid 1 and his teenage buddy as witnesses.
For some reason I decided I had to mow the backyard and it had to be done at that exact moment despite my lack of sleep, energy and mental capacity. Except the mower wouldn’t work.
Kid 1 tried to help me get it started, but I was so far gone from rational thinking all I could do was huddle under a tree to cry and scream. Without me realizing it, my son’s friend went inside the house and called his mom.
“Ms. Jen needs help.”
As Christy walked around to the back of my house I saw her and began lashing out at her, too. She stood there calmly and listened to me, and then she hugged me. I fell against her and sobbed on her shoulder for I don’t know how long.
She led me over to a chair and we sat and talked. When she first suggested I might need to see a doctor I once again got angry. Eventually I exhausted my screaming and my tears and she sat with me while I called the doctor and scheduled an immediate appointment.
I found a counselor who diagnosed me with PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Again, I lashed out at her and told her that was a bit extreme. I’m not a soldier on a battlefield.
She helped me see, though, that trauma is trauma and my body’s physiology was reacting to a trauma. My body didn’t know the difference between a battlefield attack and an attack on my marriage, my family and my life.
I accepted and began taking antidepressants that my doctor prescribed. The medication helped me begin to function in a way that allowed me to face my situation in a slightly more rational and slightly more calm way.
The antidepressants were a short-term solution to allow me to make long-term decisions.
Entire libraries are full of writings on depression, it’s causes and treatments. I’m not qualified to diagnose or discuss whether medication is the right solution for you. I can only speak from my own experience.
I do want you to understand though, that if you or your doctor feel you need help, take it. Don’t let pride, ego or ignorance stand in the way of becoming the woman you are destined to be. Too much is at stake for you to stifle yourself.