Darkness, My New Friend

You haven’t seen me around much lately. I’ve neglected this blog, your blogs and social media. And I didn’t let anyone to know why. I’m really sorry about that.

I was afraid and ashamed. And numb.

I had a breakdown and I had to just rest for a few days. After that it’s been a slow recovery. Happy pills have helped, and it was a huge relief to finally admit there was a problem.

I’ve had to be strong for too long for my stressed husband and our twins. And I’ve had way too much on my plate for years.

The worst thing was that I’ve kept all my emotions and fears bottled up, never sharing them. People close to me were shocked that this happened because they had no idea of what was going on behind my ‘all is well’ facade.

Instead of tackling things one at a time (or admitting to anyone that I needed help), I just hid my head in the sand and ignored everything, wishing it would go away when I pretended all those duties didn’t exist.

Even when I tried to do something, I just couldn’t. I didn’t care and the consequences of betrayed promises didn’t feel like anything either. The simple tasks of clothing and feeding my kids and getting them to daycare were an epic struggle and left me sapped.

My favourite things were too much. Reading was meh and blogging felt like an impossible chore. The only thing I wanted to do was watch the Vampire Diaries obsessively.

Did the depression make me ignore everything or did I get depressed because I did? (There, I said the dreaded D word.) I don’t know which was the cause and which the consequence. Likely both fed each other in a nasty downward spiral.

But I know that this needs to stop. I want my life back. I want to feel good things again, not just the lethargy.

I want to be reliable and productive again. And to never go back to the dark place.

It will take baby steps to the right direction. Opening up to people close to me, asking and accepting help, delegating and no way in hell adding anything new to my to do list.

Getting out of the house daily, excercising a little and eating healthy are also big things on my agenda.

Please be patient with me. I will figure this out.

My plan for November, the NaNoWriMo month, is to focus on my writing. This blog will be mostly on a hiatus until December. But since I still enjoy putting together the Link Feasts, I’ll likely do one or two during November.

I’ll be also working slowly on the Myers-Briggs posts during November, and will post new installments as soon as I’m done.

(Btw, the title is a homage to Anne R. Allen’s excellent post Hello Darkness, My Old Friend. If you haven’t read it yet, please do. Worth reading is also therapist and writer Louise Behiel’s informative post about depression.)

I’d love to hear from you in the comments. Have you or someone close to you ever felt depressed? How did you/they cope with it?

39 Comments

  1. Lynette M Burrows
    Oct 30, 2012

    Reetta, first a big hug! Depression is an insidious sneak that whispers all kinds of nasty things to you. It’s hard. And I think everyone has been touched by it. I know I have and many of my loved ones. You’ve made huge progress by identifying your depression and reaching out. Take all the time you need in your hiatus. Post when, if, you can. I’ll miss you while your gone, and I’ll be thinking of you. Sending you good vibes and healing energy and lots and lots of hugs!
    Lynette M Burrows recently posted..A Halloween Mash-upMy Profile

    • Reetta Raitanen
      Oct 31, 2012

      Thank you, Lynette. Knowing what’s up and admitting it is the first step to getting better. And it’s so good to know I’m not alone with this.

  2. Nigel Blackwell
    Oct 30, 2012

    Hi Reetta

    Sorry to hear and i wish you all the best for a speedy recovery.

    Denying it, keeping up a normal, happy facade are typical responses. Mental health isn’t something you can see or touch, and that makes us wary of bringing it up with friends – a cycle that often feeds the depression itself. Recognizing and admitting to the problem is the best thing you can do.

    I hope you have some people to help you deal with it. When you have the opportunity to do something you enjoy, do it – even if it’s the last thing you want to do. Everyone’s different, but for me sunlight, B vitamins and exercise have helped a lot.

    All the best

    Cheers πŸ™‚

    • Reetta Raitanen
      Oct 31, 2012

      Mental health. Ugh what a word. Depression is still a stigma even though it’s an epidemy these days and everyone knows someone who has it.

      Thanks for the tips. Sunlight, vitamins and workout are good for everyone and something I’ve neglected too.

  3. Louise Behiel
    Oct 30, 2012

    Reetta, take care of yourself. Depression is sneaky and often starts when we strong women put on a brave face and soldieer on. In this process, the brain chemistry is out of balance and then we don’t want to do anything and tht vicious spiral kicks in where we don’t want to do anything and we can’t, because of the depression.

    thanks for the shut out. If I can help in any way, please email me or DM me on facebook. I’m here if I can help.
    Louise Behiel recently posted..Substance Abuse Disorder or Who Me? A Junkie?My Profile

    • Reetta Raitanen
      Oct 31, 2012

      Thank you so much, Louise. I will keep your offer in mind if I have any questions or need someone to talk to. I really appreciate it.

  4. Samantha Warren
    Oct 30, 2012

    There are many in this blogosphere who understand what you’re going through and are there for you. One thing to keep in mind is a quote I heard from The Bloggess (Jenny Lawson).

    Depression lies.

    Keep reminding yourself of that whenever it tries to pull you down. It’s a liar who just wants to sink its claws into you. Don’t let it.
    Samantha Warren recently posted..How Do I Love Thee?My Profile

    • Reetta Raitanen
      Oct 31, 2012

      Great quote. Thanks for sharing. When depressed, you can’t trust your feelings and desires since you only want things that are bad for you. Consuming instead of creating, junk food, being alone and not leaving home.

  5. K.B. Owen
    Oct 30, 2012

    Oh, Reetta, I’m so sorry you’re going through this. You just take care of yourself, and don’t worry about us. We’ll still be here when you get back! And if you ever need to vent, you’ve got me and others (including pros, like Louise) to dump on. But try not to feel guilty – the condition is not your fault. The decisions you make about it, of course, are entirely your own, and good for you for taking steps to deal with it.

    Hugs,
    Kathy
    K.B. Owen recently posted..How was Halloween celebrated in the 19th century?My Profile

    • Reetta Raitanen
      Oct 31, 2012

      Thank you, Kathy. It’s great to know I have such a wonderful posse as my WANAs on my side πŸ™‚

  6. Marcy Kennedy
    Oct 30, 2012

    I’m glad you’ve come back. I was getting worried and was about to send you an email to check in with you when I got your Facebook message.

    Both my husband (after his stroke) and my best friend suffered from depression. You’ve done the smart thing by telling people what’s going on and by getting help. Most people can’t overcome depression on their own. They need the support of people who care about them and oftentimes medication as well. Hang in there. You will feel good things again.

    And in the meantime I’m sending hugs. I know all the WANAs will be cheering you on.
    Marcy Kennedy recently posted..Do You Like to Have the Last Word? The Story of EchoMy Profile

    • Reetta Raitanen
      Oct 31, 2012

      *hugs* I feel especially bad for not letting you to know what was going on, Marcy. Thank you so much for your support and for caring.

  7. August McLaughlin
    Oct 30, 2012

    I’m so proud of you for sharing this with us, Reetta. Depression is an illness, and is nothing to be ashamed of. I endured major depression, and my mother’s depression during my teens, which landed her in the hospital.

    So happy to hear that you’ve gained help and insight, and that you’ll be focusing on writing. Great medicine there! Please know that your friends and readers are rooting for you and here for you all the way.
    August McLaughlin recently posted..Boogey-Dog, Thrill-Seeking and HalloweenMy Profile

    • Reetta Raitanen
      Oct 31, 2012

      Well said, August. Depression is an illness, just like any other. I’m glad you got through your depression. And I’m sorry to hear about your mom. It’s a tough thing for the children too.
      Writing is a great antidote to not feeling. For me it’s often easier to dump feelings on paper than to put them to words.

  8. Coleen Patrick
    Oct 30, 2012

    Reetta, sending hugs and good thoughts your way. I’m so sorry you’ve been suffering, but glad that you are finding ways to reach out. Depression sucks, even more because of the stigma feeling. Take care–I wish you the best in your recovery!

    • Reetta Raitanen
      Oct 31, 2012

      Thank you for your support, Coleen.

  9. Rhonda Hopkins
    Oct 30, 2012

    Reetta – I’m so sorry you’re going through this. But like others have said, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Many of us have suffered from depression at different times in our lives or know someone who has. You are definitely not alone. We all care about you. Take the time you need and take care of yourself. We’re here for you if you need any of us. {{hugs}}
    Rhonda Hopkins recently posted..Authors Give Back: Christina Routon and The Fat Disorders Research SocietyMy Profile

    • Reetta Raitanen
      Oct 31, 2012

      Thank you, Rhonda. I feel so much better after sharing and getting so much support from you guys.

  10. Jennette Marie Powell
    Oct 30, 2012

    {{Hugs}} Reetta! I’ve had family hospitalized due to depression – glad you did something before it got to that point. Follow your Dr’s orders, pop in here when you can, and know that we’re cheering for you!
    Jennette Marie Powell recently posted..My Town Monday: I was Born in a Haunted HospitalMy Profile

    • Reetta Raitanen
      Oct 31, 2012

      *hugs* I’m sorry to hear about your family, Jen. I hope everything is alright now. And I’m so relieved I didn’t have to go to the hospital.

  11. Debra Kristi
    Oct 30, 2012

    Big hugs, girl. I was worried, but fully understand. I believe I am in a similar state. Part of the reason Immortal Monday didn’t get out and my presence has been minimal if any. All I want to do is sleep, watch TV and snack on things I shouldn’t. So you take the time you need and get better. Nothing is more important than you in this equation. You have a lot of support in this group. Social media and blogging is nothing compared to the bigger picture – you and your health. Bless you. Thinking of you and withing you a speedy recovery.

    • Diana Beebe
      Oct 31, 2012

      Big hugs to you, too, Debra!

    • Reetta Raitanen
      Oct 31, 2012

      Oh Debra, hang in there hun. I hope the funk passes for you. It could be just a phase. But if not, don’t hesitate to seek help.

      • Debra Kristi
        Oct 31, 2012

        Thank you, Reetta and Diana. I didn’t mean to high jack Reetta post. I only wanted to show I understood. I fill for you, Reetta, want you to take care of yourself. I’ll be off on a family vacation soon and will take the time I need away to recoup. I hope you can find something similar. I’ve heard the thing about sunlight and vitamin D before. I give my son supplements for that very reason. Maybe we should both be looking into it as well. Of course, nothing beats the real deal.

  12. shannon esposito
    Oct 31, 2012

    Oh, Reetta, this is when you have to remember that you are not alone. There are so many of us fighting this disease (and it is a disease, like diabetes.) There is no shame, no guilt with it. I have been battling it for 20 years and finally found a psychiatrist that understands brain chemistry enough to have me on the right medication. It has been a life changer. And here’s the thing, when I went to him I “should” have been extremely happy. I had just moved back to Florida, which was my dream for 6 years, everything in my life was perfect, I had everything I wanted…BUT I could not function. Like you said, just to get up and get the kids to school was a major effort. It has nothing to do with your environment and everything to do with your brain chemistry. Yes, you can help it out by exercising, eating right, ect. but it steals your motivation so even that is hard.

    I don’t know what it is with writers and depression, maybe just the yin and yang, but seriously you are not alone. I have twins, too…I’m dming you my number for whenever you need an ear.

    Hang in there…it can be controlled! xoxo

    • Reetta Raitanen
      Oct 31, 2012

      Thank you for sharing your story, Shannon, and for the huge support. Happy pills are life savers. You’re so right about depression robbing the motivation. And awesome that you have twins too πŸ™‚

  13. Susan Jaymes
    Oct 31, 2012

    Hang in there, Reetta. I have dealt with depression from time to time. The worse was when my then teenage son was dealing with it. It took four years to get him through it and frankly I’m not sure if he will ever be over it but he’s functioning. It was a dark time for us and I was probably as depressed as him but I felt if I gave up, he would too. It’s hard. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and take one day at a time. My thoughts are with you.

    • Reetta Raitanen
      Oct 31, 2012

      Oh no, I’m so sorry to hear about your son. Thank goodness the darkest time is behind you both. Take care. And thank you.

  14. Diana Beebe
    Oct 31, 2012

    Big hugs to you, Reetta! I wish you a quick recovery. Your health and then family are the most important things to take care of. The rest of it will wait until you get to it. In the meantime, I’ll be thinking good thoughts.
    Diana Beebe recently posted..A Witch, a Vampire, and a SkullheadMy Profile

    • Reetta Raitanen
      Oct 31, 2012

      Thank you, Diana. It’s an important reminder to focus on what’s the most important. I’m grateful I have children since I have to get better for them. And for myself.

  15. Kassandra Lamb
    Oct 31, 2012

    I have struggled with the depression monster more times than I can count, Reeta. It sounds like you are on the right track to get your mood stabilized. As others have already said, we’ll be here when you feel like hanging out with us, and when you don’t, we understand and send you lots of love. Take care of yourself!
    Kassandra Lamb recently posted..Dieting is the Best Way to GAIN WeightMy Profile

    • Reetta Raitanen
      Oct 31, 2012

      I’m seeing the light on the other end of the tunnel πŸ™‚ Thank you, Kassandra.

  16. Karla Darcy
    Oct 31, 2012

    You are very brave, Reetta, to let us in on your personal journey. So many people have the same problem and think they are alone which makes it worse. This came a day after I had talked to a dear friend who told me she was suffering from depression and I could send her this with all the encouragement and kind thoughts so she could know she was not alone. All good thoughts come along with this for your healing.

    • Reetta Raitanen
      Oct 31, 2012

      Wow, I’m honoured that you shared my post with your friend. I hope she found some comfort in it. Thank you, Karla.

  17. Serena Dracis
    Oct 31, 2012

    Big hugs to you Reeta! So many times we just keep ourselves going, keep ourselves strong…until one day we just can’t anymore. Take care of yourself! Take what time you need and get the help you need.
    Serena Dracis recently posted..Weird Weekend – If Aliens Are Real…My Profile

    • Reetta Raitanen
      Oct 31, 2012

      Thank you, Serena.

  18. Rabia
    Oct 31, 2012

    *HUGS*

    Be gentle with yourself. Seek help. Thank you for opening up to us here on your blog.

    I don’t *think* I get depressed, but I do pull back from society once in a while. I just need to recharge, I think.

  19. Kristy K. James
    Nov 2, 2012

    I hope you find your way past this soon, Reetta. I’ve been there a few times myself, and it’s always a good sign when you’ve reached the place where you’re at now. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel…and you’ll get there. It just takes a little time.

    I’m probably going to sound like a fruitcake, but I’m way too familiar with lethargy…thanks to hypothyroidism. I don’t know if you’d be willing to try this, but I use organic coconut oil (to the tune of 3 tablespoons a day) because it makes me feel better and gives me more energy.

    I would also suggest you get your vitamin D levels checked, because I thought I was depressed about 18 months ago, but it was actually that my levels were extremely low. That can contribute to symptoms of depression. Enough so that my doctor wanted to keep me on an antidepressant for a few months until the levels were normal again.

    Anyway, I hope you’re feeling better soon.

  20. Sheila Seabrook
    Nov 5, 2012

    Reetta, we tend to push through the tough times in our lives and ignore the signs of depression. Little by little, though, it wears us down until we have no choice but to crash and seek help. Just remember, as you start to feel better, to not overdo it. Our inclination to to immediately return to pushing ourselves to the extreme, but when your body and mind are telling you to back off, take it easy, get some rest, do it. Take care of yourself first, my darling, and somehow everything else will fall into place. Number one on your list every day is YOU. πŸ™‚
    Sheila Seabrook recently posted..Screaming into the NightMy Profile

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