Years ago I had a dear friend who ‘suffered from depression’. I thought she was just feeling a bit down and tried to cajole her with ‘pull yourself together’, ‘have another drink you’ll be fine’, and the best was ‘stop wallowing’. I had no idea what depression was – in fact I blamed its existence on the great US drug companies creating paranoid patients and encouraging them to run to their doctors to request expensive medication.
But then it happened to me – I realized I was suffering from mild depression.
Almost exactly a year ago I came back from vacation and cried for about 2 weeks. I thought I was homesick. Being back in Europe had rekindled my desire to go home and I felt torn, confused and frustrated that our wonderful life here, with so many roots and ties, meant that we would never be able to move back to the UK. But at the same time I really didn’t actually want to move back. But I felt lonely, sad and mad. I thought it would pass and put it down to post vacation blues.
Then I started having hormonal changes – night sweats, insomnia and irregular bleeding. I decided to go to the Doctors. I felt like I was falling apart. I was also dealing with another patch of alopecia and I was miserable. I sat in the Drs office and burst into sobs – it was great to be able to tell someone how I was feeling.
It turns out I am perimenopausal. Basically my body is preparing for menopause. Only problem is the perimenopause can last years. My wonderful Doctor also diagnosed me as mildly depressed as a result of my messed up endocrinology. However, now I know the symptoms of depression, I’m pretty sure I have suffered from it on and off all my life – especially after the birth of Poppy. Alone, away from home, and with a new baby I convinced myself I was fine – how could happy go-lucky, extroverted, chatty Joanna ever be depressed?
My point is if you feel sad and lonely talk to someone about it. Many of us have experienced it. In fact since the sad death of Robin Williams my Facebook wall has been full of fellow sufferers revealing themselves. These days I am happier than ever and feel relieved that my endocrine and neurochemical imbalances can be rectified by 2 pills a day. Drugs are there for a reason – many of us need them!
Don’t worry I’ll be back with frivolous clothes tomorrow:)