This post was hard to write. I don’t know how long I’ll keep it up…
Sometimes, I wonder what people see in my eyes. Do they see an intelligent, ambitious woman? A mother? A friend? Or a person who is sometimes so over wrought with depression that the tree on the side of the road looks tempting to drive into?
Honestly, few people see the last part of my persona. However, this is a real part of me. I can’t run from it, it is me. I am lucky, I have been surrounded by friends who know this is part of me. They have
helped me, especially Jay, when life gets too much.
Some people don’t get this. I was watching South Park last night and Token (yes, the African-American kid is called Token) was pissed at Stan because Stan’s dad said the N-word (damned if I’ll type it
here!). And Stan kept trying to say he was sorry and he understood. Token was still pissed. Finally he walked
up to Token and said "Dude, I don’t get it. There’s no way I can get how you feel. I just don’t get it." Token replies, "Stan! You got it! You finally got it"
That’s how I feel sometimes. Unless you have experienced depression you can’t really "get it". You can sympathize, you can comfort, you can support, but you can’t empathize with me. So I often hide it.
I wonder if this is how the Virginia Tech killer felt. That nobody "Got it". That he was alone. He needed help. People tried in some ways. But nobody got it. Nobody could walk up and say "I’ve been there. Let’s get you help. You can leave this stuff behind."
NO I don’t think he did the right thing. NO, I am not trying to blame others. He was mentally ill. He should not have been allowed to buy guns. He should have not taken others out with him.
The problem with mental illness is that the disease often prevents you from getting help. Your disease speaks to you. Tells you that it’s all within yourself. It doesn’t tell you that it is okay to seek help.
When I first thought I was suffering from post partum depression, I was terrified. Terrified because a story in the Boston Globe had run during my pregnancy about a family where DSS took away the kids because one
twin kept breaking his bones. Even though the doctors were investigating a genetic disorder, DSS took the kids away. I was then told (I forget where) that if you mention any mental health issues
during your pregnancy, the staff would mark your folder and report it to DSS. I was terrified that talking and getting help would mean someone would take Soleil away from me. The voice inside agreed. Keep
it quiet. Don’t tell anyone.
Obviously, I decided to tell Jay. And at a doctor appointment, I told my endocrinologist. Who walked me over to mental health and had someone see me right away. But this person was terrible. She insisted that the
birth was traumatic and causing me to relive past events.
I never saw her again.
Jay insisted. Find another doctor.
I called my doctor and got a list of people who dealt with PPD. The first one wouldn’t take new patients. The second didn’t take my insurance. The third was not taking new patients. I finally found someone.
I had support. A friend pushing me to get the help.
Imagine this… it took 4 calls and a terrible visit before I could see someone who helped. I could have dropped this at anytime. If I didn’t have support, I could have walked away. "It’s not worth it. It’s too much effort."
I put my depression out here on the blog. I want others to know this is REAL. It’s not just you. I want people to know that this is not all in your head. There are people who "Get it". We are out here.
It’s a sad state in our country when one can’t get health care easily. Physical health is one thing, but mental health is even harder. I still get statements from my health insurance telling me how much they don’t cover for mental health…
The other day, Soleil noticed the flags at half-staff. She asked why. All I could tell her was that something bad had happened, but it was too scary to tell her. She would get too upset.
And it is too scary. Here was a man in need of help, and no-one who could help him. And in his way out, he felt he had to take so many others with him. It’s not fair. And that is the way mental illness
works. It’s not fair…