I am not a professional or even an expert on the subject of depression. Nothing in this blog post should be used as a substitute for a professional opinion.
In 2002 I began having what I described as episodes. I would get the feeling of deja vu and I would frantically search for that one tiny detail that would break the spell all the while my breathing was labored and my heart was racing. I was lucky in the aspect that I never thought I was having a heart attack but I was terribly afraid I was going crazy. After I had one driving home from work and almost wrecked my truck, I decided to call for help. You would have thought that the one that left me sitting in the bathroom at work while sobbing would have done it but I am a stubborn woman. The VA was the only resource I had at the time because my job only offered AFLAC accident insurance so I called my doctor and she made the referral. The VA redacts things from your records in the case that you have a compensable illness so my records do not reflect my diagnoses accurately. PTSD is noticeably absent as is military sexual trauma but the Panic Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder are still there.
It sounds bad and it sounds daunting and some days it sure is but some days those issues are simply distant memories. When you add the Fibromyalgia and degenerative disk disease to my bad depression days it might be best to let me be.
My bad days consist of me doing the bare minimum to get by and stay alive. I barely get out of bed much less leave the house. My kids are old enough to be generally self sufficient so I can give in on the really bad days. And I try to not let it touch them too much. I am incredibly lucky to have a wonderful husband who loves and supports me no matter what.
Some days I simply cannot get enough sleep. I literally sleep for hours, get up to eat, and go back to bed. Other days or even weeks I don't sleep for more than 3 hours every 24. I sleep better these days now that I see a pain management doctor. I have a decent amount of my pain under better control than it has been since I broke my back in 1996.
When my stress level goes up the panic attacks come back. I have noticed a resurgence of them in the last year. Beginning July 2013 my family began a bad luck streak that went on for a while. In October 2013 I lost my Uncle Robert suddenly to a heart attack and 6 ,days later my Dad succumbed to pneumonia, kidney disease, & congestive heart failure. I had been battling kidney stones since February and I was in and out of the hospital with those and I had a hysterectomy in July.
Panic attacks suck when you are awake but having them while you sleep is the pits. When I don't have panic attacks, I have nightmares. The VA wants to keep putting me on drugs to control them but I have run the gamet of what they offer. For the last few years I have been on Prozac and it helps the depression. They say it will help the panic attacks too but it doesn't. Klonopin helps but the VA is stingy with them. So I try to focus and stay upbeat. I admin on a Facebook page called White Friday to help bring light to the stigma of mental illness and help erase it. I am finishing up my Bachelor's degree in Social Work. When I have a bad day, and boy there are some bad ones, I try to find the good things. Focusing on the silver lining helps keep it from consuming me. Helping others battle their demons also helps me.
I don't succeed every day but I certainly have many more good days now. I hope my honesty helps someone somewhere have more successful days.