Tuesday, July 17, 2007

There is just nothing easy about it. Part III

That title is looking a bit pretentious to me, sorry. Part III. Oh well. For anybody using Firefox I'm sure you can see I got my way and the blog looks busier for you. Hope you can take my widgets! At the end of this post I will tell you how I fixed it. Now on to fixing me. :)

Unfortunately there never really is any fixing me. And that's okay. It's a matter of coping with a disorder and I'll be damned if anyone makes me feel ashamed about it. That's one reason I talk about depression. I have run into several people over the years who think someone who struggles with depression is literally just being a baby, they need to stop whining and move on. Honestly. I am never completely ready for that kind of response because to me it is so bizarre. People just don't like disorders of the 'mind', *creepy music plays*.

There was the day when I asked my husband "if you get rid of the girlfriend, can we go to counseling and at least see if there is anything left to save?" He replied - "What? You think she's the first?" At that point my world turned upside down. Not because I was crazy in love with him because by then I wasn't. It was because I had this plan in my head, the white picket fence, home, husband and kids plan, and this simply did not fit. Beyond that - I thought I knew him. All of a sudden this man I thought I knew better than anyone else in the world - was a stranger looking back at me. It sounds so trite but it was as if suddenly I was seeing him as a different person entirely separate from me and my life. Totally disconcerting and mind bending. For quite a while after that day you could have told me the sky was green and I might have questioned what I was seeing when I saw it to be blue. More than anything - more than crushing my 'plan', more than hurting me, my faith in myself was crushed. If I did not know this man, what did I know? Was anything what I thought it was? I could not trust my judgement anymore.

The day after that wonderful discourse with my husband, I made an appointment with a lawyer. Shortly after that - I made an appointment with a therapist. There was a little secret place inside me that was acknowledging that I probably needed to see a therapist anyway and this was as good a reason as any to start. I went for about 8 months and this Doc was wonderful. He reaffirmed the idea that I wasn't 'crazy' - that feeling disoriented in the midst of my own life was quite normal given the situation.

We started with my marriage, but slowly things turned more toward me and my IBS symptoms, my panic attacks, and finally - to my lack of happiness. For me - I couldn't even call it sadness most of the time. It was more - I lived my life at this flat line kind of place that was steady with no blips rising above the line, only dips where I would go below at times. Blips above the line would have been excitement and joy, all the things I did not feel. Dips below the line were anger, hopelessness and feelings of worthlessness. So either I was just at the line, or below it. I only recognized the bad feelings as self esteem issues which they were. But they were also symptoms of a low-level, chronic depression.

We did a lot of talk therapy, working on issues having to do with my Dad, the old - I married a man just like him while not staying with the original guy who simply treated me way better than I deserved. I thought. Eventually we came to a place where I was feeling healthier, not so disoriented and starting to understand why I did some of the things I did. I know I am being overly simplistic but I tend to dwell on the little details too much. The Doc and I also realized that I wasn't moving beyond a certain point and it was time to address the depression head on, as something chemical.

I don't know if I welcomed the idea of medication, I think it frightened me a bit. I asked how I would know if it was working - and if it wasn't the right one - what would it do to me? He told me that if it was the right one I would simply begin to feel better. If it wasn't the right med - it would just do nothing. The difficulty was that all anti-depressant medications have side effects, and it can take up to 6 months to judge the effectiveness of any one drug. Everyones chemical make up is different and what would work for me was an unknown at that point. And so began a medication merry-go-round that lasted for a very long time. There were times I didn't think I would ever find the right medication and doubted there was one for me. Thank God one thing I am - is stubborn.


As promised - how I fixed my blog. I contacted a brilliant man named Stavanger at Blogcrowds, he is the one who originally helped me add my 3rd column. I posted my problem in the forum on his site and received an email that an answer had been posted. This is the answer I got:

change the 150px in .sidebar to 149px.

.sidebar {
padding:6px 0;
word-wrap: break-word; /* fix for long text breaking sidebar float in IE */
overflow: hidden; /* fix for long non-text content breaking IE sidebar float */

So I went into edit HTML, found the spot he mentioned and changed ONE number. I changed 150 - to 149. Saved it, checked the blog using Firefox and it looked the way I wanted it to. I'm telling you - I know I don't much about code or what makes the Internet work. But when someone can look at my blog and figure out I need to change ONE number - I think they are a genius!! Stavanger is a genius and I am a happy girl. :)


The Family Jewels said...

It's early and not a great day already, so no happy perkiness for you from me ;}

I am glad that you were stubborn enough to push through until you found something. I have on occassion taken some lighter happy Tonia pills with minimal side effects and they worked well in the time that I took them.

I am currently having some rougher days and I think I need to call the doctor. Your positive and encouraging words are great and greatly appreciated.

I am glad that you got your blog fixed.

Have a great day!


BetteJo said...

Tonia - it will be a lifelong thing for me I think. I'm going to talk about that a little too.

My thought is - if you think you need to check into it - DO! No one should have to be miserable, unhappy, or just 'flat' like I was.

Wishing you well - thinking of you!

Brillig said...

Wow. This post was brave and smart and fascinating. I think that you are right--there's so much misunderstanding and shame when it comes to mental health issues. Thanks for opening up and shining some light on it.

I'm new here, so I don't know all of your history--or, really, ANY of your history! But this post makes me feel like I know you.

And thanks for the comments you've been leaving at my (broken) site. I'm so glad that you got the blog-help you needed and that you're all fixed now! It looks fantastic!

BetteJo said...

Thanks Brillig - I said to someone the other day - I am the queen of TMI so I am sure enough of my history will keep slipping out whether I really want it to or not! Glad you came by. :)
I love reading your blog so I hope you get it fixed soon. It can be SO frustrating.

palette48 said...

I always think it's courageous when a person goes in for therapy and faces their demons. I am glad that you were able to do that and that it helped you.

My mother had a lot of depression and anxiety issues which I was exposed to growing up and I ended up having some of those problems myself. When I decided to go to a therapist to work on it, I made the mistake of sharing that with my mom. She replied that she did not realize how "weak" I was because I had to get help. She never had to go get help but then again she's never been able to get over any of her problems. It's that kind of response that makes me really angry
and why there is such a stigma attached to mental health problems. I am glad you are sharing your story, I think it well help break down that stigma.

BetteJo said...

palette48 - Oh that's terrible! Nothing like being supported, right? That's the kind of reaction that bothers me so much, and mostly it stems from ignorance. Just think how much happier your mom could have been if she had gotten help.

I'm afraid I don't have enough readers to really make a huge difference, but really - if it helps one person possibly stop living in a situation like mine or worse - I'll hang out my drawers any day!

Strength always lies in the doing, so your mom just doesn't know how strong you really are!!

Robin Marie said...

You are wonderful.

The Family Jewels said...

Guess what! I have a surprise for you on my blog! Here's your perky happy sunshine ;} -Tonia