Outside, it's a beautiful, sunny spring day. The sky is a lovely blue with puffy white clouds, the grass is green, and my garden is coming along nicely. But inside, things are a bit different. My head hurts, I am overtired from doing too much this past weekend, and I'm feeling down. My depression is supposedly managed, I have two wonderful, healthy, children and a home to live in. My friends are fabulous, and my family is very supportive. I didn't feel like this last week, so why am I down?
My mother always said that her mother seemed to be a "depressed person." When I ask her what she meant by this, she would say that by today's standards, my grandmother would be considered depressed. Grandma was often moody, sad, and not very "engaging," per my mom. My grandmother was 18 when she arrived in New York City from Ireland and planned on making her life there. But her uncle had other ideas - no self-respecting young woman was going to live alone in New York City! He whisked her away to Buffalo, New York, where she would lead a "proper life." That included being a nanny and house keeper for wealthy families on the "right side" of Buffalo. This wasn't her dream, and she didn't seem happy from then on. We'll never know if she suffered from depression for sure, but my mom is fairly certain she did.
My first experience with depression occurred when we moved to a small town in western Massachusetts in 1993. Our daughter was about three and one-half years old and was just "covered in cute!" Even before we starting unpacking, a family introduced themselves, and we've been good friends ever since. After our daughter was settled in school, I started some painting projects and kept busy by making our house a home. Even though I was occupied most of the time, I felt empty and alone, being very isolated from my friends and family. The holidays came and went, and somehow, I managed to get through them. It finally dawned on us that I was spending way too long in the shower (almost half an hour at a time) and that I might be a bit down. Off to the GP I went, and sure enough, I had situational depression. With a big move to a new state, new home, loss of friends and all the rest no wonder I was "a bit down," he said. Six months and I should be all set.
The next event with depression occurred after I hit my head in 1996. This day was marked when I became disabled and began battling depression and chronic head pain. Every day I have some form of head pain. Then there are the days I have the added pleasure of a Migraine attack. This is enough to depress anyone. Continue to read Migraines and Feeling Hopeless - Hang On! But by now, you would think, ok, it's been long enough - deal with it. With the help of a wonderful counselor, I am dealing with the fact that I suffer from clinical depression (major depressive disorder), Migraine disease, and a few other things. And when stopping medication for depression, I become depressed again.
My daughter began getting depressed when she was around 15. The things she really enjoyed doing didn't seem to please her anymore. She was more sullen, sad and tired. It was an effort to make my outgoing daughter go have fun. She would sleep all the time if I let her. One of the biggest things was she stopped laughing. I really missed her laughter. We took her to a counselor, and she did cognitive behavioral therapy for quite some time. That seemed to help a bit, but not all the way. After a while, she and the counselor felt it was time to do something more. My daughter was not really excited about medication, but as it was explained to her, if you have a chemical imbalance you need medication to fix it. She's tried a few drugs for depression and seems to have a good mix now. Oh, and she has a Migraine attack about twice a month around her period. Migraines + Depression = bad genes. I think maybe.
So here is my own family study on depression and Migraine. Three people suffer from depression in the family, and two out of three suffer depression and Migraine. I think that is conclusive evidence. Now where is the treatment to fix us?
© The HealthCentral Network, 2010
Last updated May 8, 2010.
Published On: May 08, 2010