Monday, December 12, 2005

Learning About My Past

I'm dealing with depression.

I've only really understood that in the past couple of weeks. It really hit home after a conversation with Jana last Sunday. The way I've been feeling isn't normal for anyone, even a transplant patient. (Although 70% of transplant patients do get depressed post-transplant). For the past year and a half, I've thought that what I've been feeling (fatigue, laziness, not really caring about anything) was all a part of what someone goes through after having a major operation. My physical body is healed, but I couldn't think of any reason that I should be feeling this way. I started to accept that this is just the way I'm going to be for a while.

Then, it happened. A woman in my Tuesday Group confessed that she has been depressed for 13 years. She's never told anyone but her husband. She began talking about her symptoms and how it makes her feel. My minister looked over at me when she was finished talking and said, "Amanda, are you hearing what she's saying?" Well, duh. She's described everything that I've been feeling for the past year or longer. But, I wasn't sure what to do about it. I thought about it for a few days, and then talked to Jana after life group last Sunday. I had some symptoms that she had when she was dealing with PPD that the woman who talked on Tuesday didn't have. I discovered that I've had tendencies toward depression since I was in high school. I've got to do something about this.

After one of the worst weeks that I have had in a really, really long time (last week), I called my transplant doctor and he called in an anti-depressant for me. I've been taking it since Friday. I can't tell any big differences yet, but it could take a couple of weeks for it to really kick in. We'll see what happens.

I called my sister on Friday to talk to her. I told her that I started the meds. She said something like, "It's about time! You've been dealing with this since high school!"

Thanks for the heads up, Sis. :oP

I haven't had many conversations with anyone that meant as much as this conversation with my sister did. We talked about when my depression hit (after I was cut from the basketball team for no good reason). We talked about how her and my mom, in particular, talked about everything that was going on with me, but they never talked to me about what was going on with me. Even my sister admitted that she hated me after that. She was indignant that she had "lost" me in a sense, and was mean and very angry at me for that. She didn't know how to handle the fact that her "old" sister was gone. All that was left was a shell of that person, and she hated that shell.

I was alone in my suffering.

I had no Ruth, no Boaz. And for a 14 year old, that's a big deal.

After all this time, I had almost convinced myself that I dreamed that my sister was so mean to me, that I had done something wrong. I thought it was all apart of my angst as a teenager.....that's what my parents told me. Maybe my teenage years weren't as bad as I thought they were because I dreamed all of that stuff up. But now I know the Truth. My teenage years really did suck. My sister really did hate me. And it wasn't my fault. I was dealing with things that, as a 14 year old, I had no idea how to handle, so I shut down.

My sister recounted specific things that she had done and said to me when we were in high school. I didn't remember any specifics, but she did. She was really, really, trying not to cry as she recalled the mean things she said and did to me out of anger that she had lost me. I was speechless. I didn't know how to respond. Then she said it. She asked for my forgiveness. Of course I forgave her. I really do love my little sister. She means the world to me. And it wasn't her fault that, at 13, she didn't know how to deal with her grief, either.

And don't get me wrong, I don't blame my parents. I honestly believe that they did the best they could. I really think that they believed that they were doing the right thing by letting me "work it out" on my own. I've never doubted my parents' love for me, and I still don't.

But I feel like I've gotten a little bit of closure. My teenage years that were such a puzzle to me have come together just a little better now. It isn't such a mystery.


At 6:52 AM, Blogger Tammy M. said...

Information is such a blessing. Without it, especially regarding health, it can be a very confusing time. I pray this with this you can move forward and that God will bless you with peace through it.

At 6:53 AM, Blogger Tony Arnold said...

I truly empathize with your younger years and the relationship with your sister, the basketball. I am so thankful to God that you are finding out the reasons for your pain because it is very difficult to fix something for which you don't know the cause.

Praying for you as always.


At 4:29 PM, Blogger Debi said...


As you know, I've also struggled with Depression (and still do). I, too, was depressed ever since my teenage years -- and I'm 37 years old now! You've got a head start on me there (finding out that you are depressed.) ;-) What you need to keep in mind too, is that it's a chemical imbalance in your brain ... not something you can control. Give the anti-depressants 7-10 weeks to fully feel the effects - but you should start to feel better in 2-3 weeks. It's best to combine anti-depressants with therapy -- it works better that way.

Also, don't be surprised with weight gain from the medication (I gained weight on it - but it was a Godsend - it helped me SO much!) Now I'm simply on St Johns Wort - but you need to be careful with that since it interacts with so many different drugs out there. Especially since you're on medication from your transplant. If you decide to go that route, make sure you've researched it well. (By the way, the anti-depressant I was on is Zoloft - and it worked - like a miracle.)

I'll continue to keep you in my prayers!


At 9:13 PM, Blogger Ayatollah Mugsy said...

Hello, Amanda,
I just happened across your blog. I wish you all the best in overcoming this depression. Know that all the pugs of my congregation are praying for you.

At 9:58 AM, Blogger Jana said...

"The truth shall set you free!" Thank God for the enlightening conversation with your sister. I hope you are feeling the very beginnings of freedom from your depression, Amanda.

You are being so pro-active. Counseling, sharing your feelings with friends and family, medication, prayer...these will all contribute to the healing process. Hang in there, friend.

At 11:41 AM, Blogger Lindsay said...

My Mom is dealing with the same thing, and she's gotten to where half a Zoloft every few days keeps her constant and feeling pretty "up." Her depression hit her pretty hard after she had thyroid cancer and treatment.

Just remember to keep falling on God through all of this, because medication might help but He is the only one who can truly guide you through the healing process. I'll be praying.

At 3:18 PM, Blogger Andrea said...

I am so glad that you are getting some resolution. Please know that there are MILLIONS of women who can identify with what you are going through.

I have a lot more that I would like to say, but am pressed for time. I will drop you an email later tonight or tomorrow.

{{{ HUGS }}}

At 9:02 AM, Blogger Malia said...

It's a hard road, I know, I've been there. PPD and a husband who suffers from depression - fun times at our house, huh? We (my husband and I) have a saying, the medicine is doing it's job, now we have to do ours. Therapy (your Tuesday group sounds wonderful!) and just being aware of what you are dealing with are two important keys for overcoming. You are well on your way! I'm so glad that you got that closure about your high school years and were able to talk with your sister, how precious!

At 11:19 AM, Blogger Natalie Brooke said...

I think alot of people understand what you are going through right now. Depression affects alot more people than we even imagine. I know that I have suffered from depression for a good 8 years. It seemed to get worse after I almost died...but the worst part for me was college. And the truth was, I had no idea what was going on with me either. All I wanted to do was stay in bed, I began to notice that I didn't laugh anymore, I didn't smile and I was distancing myself from any form of social life. I began to isolate from my friends and I was just tired and I felt I was so lazy, some of the same things that you said. It wasn't until the second semester of my freshman year in college that I realized it was okay to talk about this with the doctor and she perscribed some anti depressants. I took them for about 2 years...i really noticed a difference after a couple of wasn't monumental, but I did begin to not want to sleep all day and slowly I began to have more energy and noticed I really was enjoying the things I liked in life. I think the huge thing for me is that I was smiling and laughing again.
So why am I sharing this with you? Because truthfully, there are so many people that I'm close to that don't even know this. I know that it helped me to know that I wasn't the only one going through this and that what I felt wasn't normal but I could get help. So I want you to know that I'm here for you if you need a shoulder to lean on...I know you have a great support group, but I'm still here for ya girl.

I see so much courage in you, because I don't think in a million years I would have been able to be honest about my depression to anyone but myself. You have courage girl to blog about it and lean on others. You are in my prayers.

Call me or email me any time you need to. Much love...Natalie

At 6:31 PM, Blogger CL said...

Thanks for sharing this Amanda, I really appreciate the way you have been so honest. You have my prayers, blessings!

At 11:55 AM, Blogger Lori Ann said...

I empathize with your situation. It sounds like you are in a great group. I facilitate a womens group at our church and we deal with these issues plus many others. I think it awesome you are in a supportive church. Some churches don't deal with these issues very well.
I am glad you had an uh huh moment.

At 5:16 AM, Blogger Anne-Geri' said...

Hey hon,
I found your blog. :-)

Thanks so much for this; I appreciate your candor and your heart. You are truly an inspiration to people who are touch by you - maybe this happens in spite of yourself, but it does happen.

And that's a God thing.
Love you,


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