Depression Through The Generations

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(Warning: Sensitive subject matter.)

I found out yesterday morning that MM’s grampa passed away at 9am. The patriarch of the family has been in pain for many years. But he just kept going. For months and years. 

When I found out that he died, I cried for a moment, but then I realized that he’s not suffering anymore so I pulled myself together. 

That old man lasted almost another ten months in defiance of his doctors. I thought that was great because he wouldn’t “go lightly into that good night.” No, he rallied against his diagnosis and he stuck around for a while longer so he could see all his kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids. My own grandfather did the same thing years ago, waited to see his entire family before passing away quietly. Sometimes I wonder if they have a say in when they get to pass on. 

But I digress. 

I don’t deal well with death. And I’m sure it started when my best friend died. Over ten years ago, my BFF committed suicide, which, I believe, led to my depression. Or maybe I always had depression and I never really knew it. But it was quite obvious after my friend died. 

On the outside, I cried a bit, I got over it, and then I helped plan the funeral. On the inside, I still feel like my heart has been ripped out of my chest sometimes. The pain of losing him has never gone away and it has never gotten easier. I still cry for him sometimes like it has just happened. It’s a painful cry. 

After my BFF died, two other family members passed away within 18 months. And my depression grew. By the last death, I physically felt as though I couldn’t take it anymore. My body was sore and aching from stress and crying. I had a constant headache. Some days, I could barely get out of bed and dress myself. 

And then I got pregnant. And I cried even more. 

I was so scared for my unborn child. By then I knew depression would be a part of my life and I was petrified that I’d pass it on to my child. It was my worst fear. 

My depression is triggered by major life events; death, financial stress, major parenting moments, and anything else that may cause me to lay in bed exhausted for days and weeks at a time. I might have a good day once in a while, but depression always comes back and kicks my ass eventually. 

So, when someone I know passes away, my sadness takes over again. And I’m pretty much useless both physically and mentally. It makes me feel as though I’m out of control and can’t force my mind or body to do what I want it to do. I feel a weight on my chest and my mind won’t stop racing. I ache all over and I can’t seem to think clearly. My body and my mind work against me and render me useless. How long and how badly depends on many factors. It’s unpredictable. 

My therapy (which is working for me, but may not be right for other people) is my son. He keeps me grounded and focused. At the end of the day, I know there’s someone who depends on me regardless of my depression. I have a commitment and responsibility to take care of myself so that I can take care of my son. 

Personally, I rely on jogging, yoga, and a lot of meditation to get me through tough times. It’s the only thing that helps to clear my head and bring me back to reality so I can deal with what’s going on. I spend a lot of time doing those three things when I’m not with my son. It calms me. And it helps me to smile, knowing I am keeping mentally and physically healthy in order to better care for myself and my kid. Because that’s what matters most to me. My kid. 

There are many other things that happen during my depression, but all that really matters to me is that I’m trying to be successful at taking care of myself in order to take care of my son. For now, that’s how I deal. And it seems to be working because my son is happy and healthy and that’s the most important thing. 

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