let’s be real: this is depression stuff

okay, i said i wasn’t going to talk about this until it was resolved, but i have other friends who are open about their struggles with mental health issues & i admire the way they are able to do that. so i’m going to try to follow suit.

i’ve filed my disability appeal. the forms were pretty confusing to me, but someone at the social security office walked me through the whole thing & we got it taken care of. it turns out i don’t need a lawyer for this part of the process, so that was a relief. apparently now my appeal will be sent to the same office that did my review, but a different person will make the determination. most appeals are denied at this level, so i am trying to steel myself for that likelihood, but since i did have a lot of new information to provide, i’m hopeful that they will simply reverse their decision & i can move forward.

there are a few layers of appeals to get through before we get to the hearing level, but i’ve heard that the wait for a hearing is well over a year in kansas. & if a person moves out of state before their hearing date (as is likely–we’re hoping to move away from kansas in july 2015), the hearing will be rescheduled for whatever state the person moves to…but they will lose their place in the docket. so if we get to the hearing level, it’s entirely possible that this won’t be resolved one way or another until two years from now. i start to feel very panicked & defeated when i think about that. so i try not to think about it. i’m really hoping that we can resolve this without having to have a formal hearing.

i met with my therapist yesterday & told her what was going on & how i felt that she had deflected my attempts to tell her how depressed i was feeling. it was actually a really good session & it made me wonder if maybe i should continue with her. i did do an intake at the local mental health clinic & scheduled a therapy session there, but they couldn’t get me in for three weeks. & they are more expensive. & i can’t walk to their office, which is kind of disruptive to our schedule. my current therapist’s office is just a couple of blocks from my house, so while i’m there, jared can do things like take ramona to the grocery store. & i don’t relish the idea of starting therapy again from scratch with someone new. i’ve been with my current therapist for almost five years. & i know that i haven’t always been the best client in terms of being honest about what’s going on, so it’s not 100% her fault that she couldn’t see it.

she feels that i could probably best be helped by checking myself into the hospital. i don’t necessarily disagree, & if i didn’t have a kid, that’s probably what i’d do. but i do have a kid, & we have no family or close friends around here to pitch in with child care, & jared starts teaching again next week. since he’s teaching a summer course, he’s teaching every single day. & he can’t very well bring ramona to class with him. & i know, i know, “your health comes first,” etc etc. i definitely haven’t been on top of my momming game, but i have thus far managed to muddle through & provide some cursory level of basic care & supervision while jared is at school. i’m hoping i can just keep doing that until i start to feel better.

i’m seeing my regular doctor next week to discuss her keeping me refilled on wellbutrin until i am able to see an actual psychiatrist (i’m on the wait list, which is four months long, & i only have a month’s supply of meds right now). i’m also hoping to discuss my back x-ray with her & try to hammer out a more specific diagnosis than what’s currently in my records. i think she has me down as “unspecified back pain” or something. that’s not really good enough. without a real diagnosis, i’m never going to get any real treatment besides painkillers or muscle relaxers. i did take a muscle relaxer the other day because my back was all jacked up, & i wound up going to bed at 8:30pm. i don’t really need any help being in a complete fog right now–my mood is covering that all on its own. the muscle relaxer just made everything worse, & didn’t really help with the pain either. the nurse who prescribed them said to try them & if they didn’t help, we could look into doing an MRI to see if there’s something other than tendinitis going on. so maybe that’s what we have to do.

ramona was complicating the situation by waking up every hour all night long, but she finally slept through the night again last night. thank god. jared & i both went to bed early & managed to get like nine hours of much-needed sleep.

a mom friend came by the other day & we had a mini-playdate with out kids. we talked about all of this stuff very little & it was nice to socialize & get my mind off of it. but i tried socializing with another group of moms yesterday & it didn’t go as well. they’re not moms i know very well, & i kind of felt like i was underwater, & i hadn’t brought a sippy for ramona because it was very impromptu, &…it just wasn’t great. i bailed early & fell asleep on the couch once i got ramona down for her nap. i remember when i was first diagnosed with depression, it was because i went to the doctor thinking i had mono. i was sleeping like twenty hours a day. it’s kind of a similar deal now. & i remember writing about that on my blog a few years ago & getting some nasty, anonymous comment from someone going on & on about how spoiled i was for sleeping twenty hours a day & how SOME people can’t do that because they have JOBS, etc. to which i was like, yeah, exactly. this is why i don’t have a job.

this morning, i took ramona to a playdate. it was at a house i’d never been to before & i could not find it. i seriously drove around in circles for 45 minutes looking for it. i finally took a chance turning up an unlikely street & found the road i was looking for branching off. so we had playdate success, but by the time we got there, my hands were shaking & i was almost crying. & i couldn’t really be like, “oh my god, i’m freaking out!” to all these moms i don’t necessarily know all that well. i just had to try to pull myself together while i sat there feeding ramona cheddar bunnies. & i totally recognized that while getting lost like that would be kind of aggravating no matter what, i wouldn’t be feeling so shaky & panicked about it if i was in a better place, mental health-wise.

but one little piece of good news: today while i was fixing ramona’s lunch, she bear-walked (on her hands & feet) all the way across the kitchen! it was especially impressive that she did this at lunchtime because that’s usually when she’s most tired. i could tell she was trying to hard to lift her head & stand up but she just couldn’t quite figure it out. so yay! maybe she’ll walk soon! she’s 18 months old as of today.

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

6 thoughts on “let’s be real: this is depression stuff

  1. Is there crisis daycare available in your town? You probably wouldn’t be at the hospital long-term. Of course it’s not ideal, but it’s really important to get the help you need. That’s best for you & best for Ramona.

    1. yeah, i looked into all that stuff. it’s just hard for me to imagine being away from ramona. also, i don’t want to speak too soon, but i think i’m starting to feel a little better. i started the anti-depressant two weeks ago. maybe it’s starting to have some effect?

        1. things are better & i managed not to need the hospital. not all the way better, but better enough. i’m a little nervous about august because jared has to go out of town for several weeks & i will be parenting solo. which means no breaks, & i won’t even be able to go to therapy unless i bring ramona with me (or hire a sitter). but, we’ll figure it out, i guess.

  2. Yikes! I totally feel you on knowing that you need to do what’s best for your own health, but also needing to make it all work with the needs of your family. It’s a tough act to balance it all, and I hope you guys can figure out something. Do you have some mom friends who could take turn watching Ramona during the day? Hire some grad-students to babysit? Could one of Jared’s parents make an emergency trip to stay with you guys and hang out? If we were more local, I would totally volunteer to have her stay with us for a bit. But I’m guessing she’s a little too young to stick her on a plane. :\

    1. yeah, we’ve thought about all those ideas. & if it comes to that, we will implement them, but i am starting to feel better (within the last 24 hours). i’m still far from 100%, but not so much in a major crisis place.

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