Beating the Big Ugly.

by heirtoblair on November 13, 2012

fall 1024x765 Beating the Big Ugly.

I sat in her office, back on the couch that I knew so well.  Her hair is reaching her shoulders now & we talked about how much I love my job & how my three-year-old is the most exquisite form of exhaustion, how he’s the most marvelous jackass I know, how I just want to eat him up when I peek in on him at night.

Then I told her about the darkness.  The Big Ugly, swirling up inside me when the sun goes down each day & I don’t want it to be that way.  My hands clenched tight & I told her about how I can’t seem to focus my sight on anything for too long & how the other night, I stood in my new big house & wanted to sink right through the floor.  How the depression in my head told me that I’d never be good enough, I’d never be able to handle anything, & that it wished me luck eating that elephant one bite at a time while I was being suffocated by the elephant’s fat ass.

By the time I finished explaining, my heart racing through my chest & even my legs shook.  I was fine just two weeks ago & then it all came crashing down with the time change.  I worked with Alzheimer’s patients for years & am well aware of the term “sun-downing;” I just never thought I’d be using the term to describe my own mental health.  I’ve accepted that this is me, but it doesn’t mean that I won’t stop fighting.

I want you, my friends in the computer & in real life, to know that I am okay. Right now we are trying to combat the seasonal anxiety with mild anxiety medication that I take as the sun starts setting.  I also sit under my light therapy lamp for a minimum of an hour each night, which is the perfect amount of time for me to read books to Harrison & watch a cartoon with him snuggled up against me.  I feel better already & am once again reminded how hot-damn lucky I am to have my doctor & UNC so close, along with a husband that told me the other day that he didn’t think of me as “the depressed girl” even though I do.

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Recommendation for a SAD lamp if you’re feeling the Big Ugly:  This is the one my good friend Casey recommends that is much friendlier on the wallet.  (fyi, i don’t use amazon affiliate links.)

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Kacia November 13, 2012 at 9:06 am

You are incredible and strong and brave.

I’m so proud of you.

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Allison November 13, 2012 at 10:17 am

What an incredible post. I will be thinking of you as you battle through this tough time. Prayers and hugs headed your way from Texas….. you are so strong and brave and such an inspiration to us all.

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Amanda November 13, 2012 at 12:00 pm

“How the depression in my head told me that I’d never be good enough, I’d never be able to handle anything, & that it wished me luck eating that elephant one bite at a time while I was being suffocated by the elephant’s fat ass.”

Oh my goodness did this statement speak to me today. It clearly states what I’ve felt for a long time. I’ve experienced my share of deperession and anxiety. This is a reminder that the thoughts and feelings (or lack thereof) swirling around in me actually have a name (anxiety) and that recognizing them is the first step to getting better.

Thank you for always being so open and honest about your struggles and know what you inspire many people every day.

Take care!

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tehamy November 13, 2012 at 12:01 pm

My sister has struggled with anxiety and depression for years. She struggled for a long time and in those years, I saw her progress to a point where she now knows when to ask for help. She knows to ask before the anxiety and depression take over her. I tell her that I’m proud of her for working hard and getting to that place. It’s hard work and it’s good. When I read this post, this is exactly what I thought. You know when to ask for help. That’s HUGE. You are a brave strong woman. Proud of you! ((HUGS))

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Erin November 13, 2012 at 12:09 pm

You know it takes a lot of guts to write what you just did & admit it to the world. I think so many people have this stigma that depression is “weakness” but asking for help never is & admitting it is FAR from being weak. Accepting it is the strongest thing a person can do.
After all my cancer treatments ended & I did the wahoo dance for getting rid of weekly/daily appointments & went to monthly appts all of a sudden it started to get like I couldn’t breathe. I talked to my oncologist about the anxiety that I just KNEW the cancer was coming back & would kill me; after all it did with my Grandma. She just kind of laughed & smiled (she is fabulous by the way) & said Erin if you weren’t feeling this way I would be worried. She recommended a behavioral oncologist (basically another title for physchologist but one that works with cancer patients & studies cancer drugs/effects) & after seeing him a couple times I already felt better. I still have freak out days but with his help I was able to embrace the anxiety was real & it didn’t make me weak; it just makes me well me. He helped develop a plan of action & prescribed some meds as well; just to give me the “help” my body wasn’t doing at that moment.
I sometimes feel like mom’s think we are all super moms & we can’t show any weakness & let down our families but then I think we don’t stop long enough to make sure we are okay. I’m proud of you for doing that!

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Nicole November 13, 2012 at 12:23 pm

thank you for posting BA.
i’ve contacted you in the past asking your advice on how to come out of the closet (so to speak) with anxiety and/or depression.
while i’m not ready to officially talk about it on my blog, i am always encouraged when you write about it on your blog. i’m not sure if depression/anxiety is a life long journey, or if it just comes in phases, or….well, i’m not sure of a lot, other than getting fantastic medical/therapy help makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE in the world. for years i’ve been looking for it and FINALLY i found it. i’m not where i want to be yet…but i know i can get there with help.
thanks again for posting, and best of wishes on your…path of life (that sounds so cheesy but i can’t think of the right word i want to say).

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Linsie November 13, 2012 at 12:24 pm

what an amazing post.

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molly November 13, 2012 at 12:29 pm

I swear. If I lived near you I just know we could sit and talk for hours about life and how overwhelming it can seem, especially when depression and anxiety try to sneak in. That’s what is so fucking great about the internet. You come to find you’re not alone. And it feels so good to know that. Even if you are states away.

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Sally November 13, 2012 at 12:49 pm

You are strong, amazing, and brave.

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Kristen S November 13, 2012 at 1:19 pm

You are much braver than me. Go you for calling and going in to see her… I am still trying to combat my depression with willpower and keeping busy. It’s so annoying to have this battle every year, every day… My little and husband are what get me through. Make it worth it to fight. Hugs. You are stronger than you will ever know.

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Nicole November 18, 2012 at 11:50 pm

I’m fighting my anxiety the same as you. It’s been really bad this weekend. It makes me so mad and scared to feel this way. I thought I had kicked it 7 years ago. But it has reared it’s ugly head twice this year. Once in June and now. I know the cause both times wish I could just feel normal and push through. Can’t wait to get back to work to take my mind off of my thoughts and distract me to wear I can feel normal. Kinda wish it wasn’t a short week this week. Gotta stay busy this coming weekend or else my thoughts make my crazy.

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KeAnne November 13, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Good for you, and I’m so proud of you for continuing to talk about this issue. Based on the comments I read every time you post on depression and anxiety, so much of us are suffering too.

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Nicole at Mommy Moxie November 13, 2012 at 2:50 pm

I’m beginning to wonder if one of these lamps might help me-I didn’t get the PPD where you’re sad/depressed, I got the angry-mad-at-the-world PPD and it’s been noticeably worse since it’s started getting darker (damn daylight savings/winter). Frankly, I think I just need to move back to Arizona and its almost 300 sunny days a year…wanna join me? ;)

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Sue Robinson November 13, 2012 at 3:54 pm

It’s hard and it is on going, but you already know that. I think about you from time to time when I get paralyzed by my own feelings around my depression and my hospitalization. I think about you and how we didn’t know each other, but you helped me through it and weren’t judgmental, when most of my IRL friends were. I am still and always be grateful for that, even now living in CA 3k miles away. My heart is with you and know you always have a friend in me.

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Kristen November 13, 2012 at 4:24 pm

It also gets light out an hour earlier in the morning! Try to get up early and take the dog for a walk. Starting the day with some sunshine can’t be a bad thing.

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Jen November 14, 2012 at 12:14 am

Weirdly, I lose my mind in the spring as the days get longer. Apparently, it’s not just the total amount of light we get that can mess with our brain chemistry, but the rapid changes in light. So what you’re experiencing totally sucks, but is so normal for people with anxiety and depression.

Hang in there. I am glad you have a good plan in place and are starting to feel better. :-)

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heirtoblair November 14, 2012 at 10:33 am

No kidding? That is fascinating to me. Just because I turn into this rainbow-farting unicorn in the spring. The brain is a weird, weird thing.

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Cara November 14, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Great post, thanks for sharing this. I dont speak to anyone about my anxiety and depression, besides my (poor) husband and my therapist….when I can. With my insurance I can only go to one office and it takes about 2 months to get an appointment.

Your blog has truly helped me when I had no where else to go. Thank You.

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Katie November 14, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Fuck. Fuckity fuck fuck. This post is changing me. Probably honestly saving me.

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Shannon November 14, 2012 at 5:48 pm

Dude, I could have written this myself. This time change kicked.my.ass.HARD. My issue is depression. I just want to sit in a corner, not talk to anyone, not do anything, and never leave my house. I feel overwhelmed, too much going on, and everything is out of control. This is exactly how I felt before I diagnosed with PPD/PPA/SAD. Totally frigging sucks, I hate it. I hate feeling this way, its awful. I’ve busted out my light and am using it in the morning (BTW, I have the same one that you linked to, its awesome). Hopefully I’ll get better, because if not, its gonna be a long New England winter…

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Sarah Koci Scheilz November 14, 2012 at 10:35 pm

Oh friend . . . I know I said this in my oh-so-much-love-BA email awhile ago. But when you share these insights online, it means the world to me! It means I’m not alone, it means I’m not weird, it means we’re in this anxiety thing together. It takes a village, right?

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Michelle November 17, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Thank you so much for writing this. I’ve been struggling big time with the depression/anxiety “thing” I thought I’d kicked 6-7 months ago. The time change and darkness are bearing down. It’s hard to admit I need help again. Thanks for writng and being so open.

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Amy November 27, 2012 at 1:33 pm

I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for talking about this, thank you for being adorably honest and funny, thank you for sharing your pain and telling me about things like the SAD lamp. It’s been 11 months since I gave birth, and I’m only now starting to realize the way I’ve been feeling isn’t normal. I shouldn’t feel like the smallest tasks are mountains I just can’t climb. I’ve read your posts on PPD before and I felt empathy, but I didn’t think that was me. Now I realize that it is. Maybe not in all the same ways, but in enough of them that I could see my reflection. I wish I had the cajones to talk about the big ugly so candidly with other human beings. Thank you for carrying the torch for those of us not ready to speak, and lighting our way.

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