Monday, April 21, 2014

How to face depression unmedicated

I suffered with Insomnia for many, many years. I have always been convinced that it all originated from my years of cocaine addiction. I stayed up all night for so many years that I think it just messed me all up.

For many years, LONG after getting clean, I suffered in silence. It got so bad at one point that I would fall asleep with both of the girls on my lap, think I was dreaming, and wake up to discover that it wasn't a dream and that I had really done the things I dreamt about.

Not long after, I got help. I took medication for a year or so. I then quit telling people that I was an insomniac because I knew how very powerful words were. I decided to take myself off the medication and take Benedryl. I spent many countless nights unable to sleep. I literally had to re-train myself on how to sleep. When I woke up in the middle of the night, I would just read or pray until I fell back asleep.

This went on for weeks, but I was determined. And on a side note, many kids who are allowed to sleep with their parents will suffer from insomnia. We MUST learn to get our OWN selves to sleep. ALL OF US!! If not, kids suffer a lifetime of sleeping disorders... I know from personal experience and witnessing this in other kids' lives. Don't believe me? Ask other people you know who have chronic insomnia or whose children have terrible sleeping disorders!!

So anyway, I taught myself how to sleep. I did have to take Benedryl every night, but I could sleep, and every single night I was able to sleep better and better. THEN came my cancer diagnosis. Well, as you can imagine, my thoughts were totally CONSUMED!! My doctors immediately put me back on Ambien, and they put me on Xanax for obvious reasons.

I ended up taking Xanax, Prozac, Ambien, Restoril, and other cancer drugs. ALL of those drugs I listed had a side effect that I had NO clue about. SUICIDAL THOUGTS. When I took my chemotherapy class, they told me that people with a Type A personality were affected the most with severe depression and chemo brain. Well, if you know me, you know that is totally ME. Chemotherapy caused me to fall into a deep, deep, deep depression. I had NO idea it was happening. When I was done with treatment, I knew that I was sad and I had read all the statistics and everything I could expect so I didn't feel too alarmed.

But, many things were combining to create a terrible disaster in my life and I did not see it coming. If I told you every detail, this post would be a book!! So, let me just tell you that after my suicide attempt, the doctors kept me on Prozac and started me on Welbuterin, and pretty much refused to give me any other meds for obvious reasons. The Welbuterin is for people with suicidal thoughts. It worked great.

My biggest complaint was that I couldn't cry. I mean, I literally could NOT cry. I was numb. 

I didn't know it was the meds at the time. I just thought it was because of all I had been through and maybe it was partly that. There were times where an incident would happen with one of my kids and they would be crying and devastated and I could not care less. Something within me knew that this was wrong, but I had no feelings whatsoever about it. I felt terrible. But I literally had no emotions or feelings at all.

This happened on several occasions and I got very concerned. I am such a researcher. I started Googling to figure out what in the world was wrong with me and it all said I was apathetic. Hell, I had never even heard of that! It described me perfectly. It took me months of studying this to realize that this was me, but yet I still didn't put two and two together to figure out it was the damn medication!!! I thought it was just ME. I beat myself up so bad about this and thought I was a horrible parent and a horrible person.

Okay, so fast forward to my divorce being final. I knew that once my divorce was final, my insurance would be final as well. I called to find out how much these meds would cost me on my own and the medication that prevented suicidal thoughts was close to $100.00 a month!! JUST FOR THAT ONE!!

SO, I prayed my heart out about the situation. My conclusion was that I stopped smoking years and years prior COLD TURKEY. I quit drinking when I was a full blown alcoholic COLD TURKEY. And, I quit a major drug addiction the same way... COLD TURKEY. Surely, if I could do that, I could do this.

I had actually tried several times to take myself off the meds thinking I didn't really need them. Three times, on about day 5, I stayed in my bed, pulling my covers over my head wanting to end my life. Luckily, I had a friend who was not afraid to confront me. I must say that this person is the only person in my life strong enough to take me head on.

The first time, she sat at the end of my bed and didn't leave until I had worked myself through it. The next couple of times wasn't as severe. Each time it got easier. Each time I got better and better at realizing that it was only a brief time.

Let me explain. I wrote a guest blog post about how we have to "Just wait".  Part One is here,  and Part Two is here, I basically came to the conclusion that when things get tough and the thought of suicide came to my mind, I could just "wait" it out. These depression/suicide "spells" didn't last too long. I just had to FORCE myself to ride it out. It might be four or five hours or so, but sometimes what I kept discovering was that it usually wasn't even that long.

SO, although I faced some serious hours of depression, I made it through.

I AM NOT SUGGESTING THAT ANYONE, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES quit taking anti-depressants cold turkey. 

But, what I am telling you is that it is possible. I am in a position right now where I cannot afford Obama Care nor can I afford to pay for the medication out of pocket. And I wonder to myself how many countless others are also in my exact position.

Is this a walk in the park? A piece of cake? NO, it is not. I struggle some days very, very much. I don't want pity, but the fact is that I don't have a mother or father, where I can just pick up the phone and call them to lean on. I can't call them for financial assistance. I know I have the Lord, but now that I am divorced, I have to figure things out for myself. But, it is good for me and it empowers me. I must admit that I have never before in my entire Christian walk felt as comforted by God like I do now. I literally feel like I am cradled in the palm of his hands.

The more time and space that gets between me and my suicide/near death experience, the more normal I feel. The longer I am completely medication free, the better I feel. I feel CLEAR. I no longer feel numb. I find myself at the beginning stages of feeling again. I go to the movies now and sometimes feel a tear coming on. That might not seem like much to you, but it is a really big deal for me.

Now don't get me wrong, I still face moments where I get upset with God for letting me be found and for allowing me to wake up alive. But, the person I am now would absolutely NEVER concoct a suicide plan....EVER. And those thoughts are very few and far between. One thing I have learned is that if I am struggling, I just need to find something to do, pray, journal, just wait it out. Each and every single time, I am totally fine within a few hours.

I must admit that it would be much easier to be on medication. I actually miss being even keeled. I am thankful for the time I was on the medication because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I would NOT be here today if I wouldn't have been on them. I just want to share my personal journey so others know that there is hope for them.

I will blog more on this subject later....don't want to write a book here!! Thanks for reading and please share with anyone you think this will help.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


A little more than three years ago my husband went missing. I wonder if you've seen him anywhere. My husband and my children's father cannot be found. We see someone who looks kinda similar to him occasionally and every once in a while we think it might be him. But those glimpses are only a very rare occasion.

You see, we miss him dearly. He was the perfect man to us. Honestly, if you are a longtime reader of my blog, you know I wrote many a post about me having the better end of the marriage. He rolled out the red carpet for me. We could talk for hours on end. He cherished me...or so I thought. We laughed so much together. My oldest daughter was 14 years old before she ever witnessed us have a serious disagreement/argument. We did absolutely EVERYTHING together. We didn't want to spend our time apart....EVER. We were best friends.

We would go to marriage seminars time after time and end up leaving because literally every single thing they said couples had problems with, we NEVER had those struggles. And everything they would encourage couples to do, we already did and then some. Marriage was so easy for us. It was wonderful. We were so happy. When I had cancer, he was my rock. He was absolutely amazing. 

Oh, and what an amazing father. He would put the kids to sleep every single night. It was such a big help and gave me such a great break. I loved not having that responsibility. He would talk to the girls and pray with them before they went to sleep. I loved hearing them say "Daddy, come pray with me!"

I remember one night he was out of town and he called to talk to me. He was in the same room as his boss. One of the girls happened to be right beside me when he called. She asked to talk to him when I was done and just like any other night, she asked him to pray for her and he wouldn't. He said it was because his boss was there. I had a major check in my spirit at that moment. That was a pretty big sign that the man he wanted us to believe he was and the man he really was were two very different people.

I still find myself sometimes in just complete shock and disbelief. How could it be possible for someone to "fake" a close to 20 year relationship? How could you just "pretend" to be happy? How could you go to church week in and week out like everything is fine? How could you minister to others and mentor them in their own marriages? How could you do unimaginable things while being the greatest husband on earth taking care of your sick wife?

I KNOW I have the gift of discernment. I KNOW many others who do as well. How did EVERYONE miss this? I guess we didn't really. It's kinda ironic...we have met tons of people. And ya know, especially in church, I would notice that not a lot of men (leaders especially) took to him. I always wondered why and would actually get very offended by this because I just never understood it.

After the many bombs dropped, I had different couples/people approach me and tell me they always knew something just wasn't right with him. They could never put their finger on it. Several people told me he had very clear signs he was in a full blown addiction. I must say, I am not upset that no one came to me with this information. I'm not upset because I would have never believed them.

I will say that if you see my posts on FB or read my blogs and you have certain "opinions" about me, I ask that you try to at least put yourself in my shoes and see things from my perspective where I am now and also where I've been. I have serious trust issues as you can imagine.

It is hard to recover from this kind of event. It is even harder watching your two daughters try to reason it all out and try to make any sense of it. Like I said, I lost my husband and my children lost their father. I have no doubt it would have been much easier to be widowed. At least then we would have known where he was.

So, if you happen to see him, would you let him know we're looking for him? And the scariest part about that is that we have no earthly idea if that person ever existed.