20 October 2008


I'm not sure how much I've blogged about my depression. 1998 was a horrible year for me. January brought the death of my father and my uncle followed him two weeks later in February. Over the next seven months, my mother called me almost every other day in tears, it seemed, because either someone we knew or were related to had died (25 in all at final count) or she desperately needed money in order to keep food on the table, put gas in her car, or pay for the roof over her head. To say I was stressed was an understatement.

Then September came with a final passing and the betrayal of a friend.

For most of the summer, our cat Sulu had been battling a strange illness and by September we had to have him put to sleep. I was just devastated and I felt worse for Ty-man because Sulu was his cat, his buddy, and I was too scared to take Sulu to the vet myself. I begged Ty to do it in my place. And just as I adjusted to not seeing Sulu's little gray tail or hearing his sweet meow, the shit hit the fan.

I was a technical writer at a well-known training company, based out of Atlanta. I had made a good many friends (YO! TERI!) and had finally found a job where I blossomed and enjoyed myself. There was one fellow-writer in particular who dazzled me with her smile, her friendship, and ease around computers. Let's call her D (I know, how original, the first letter of her first name). I felt I could talk to her about anything, that she got me, and compared to my previous job where my fellow employees acted more like dysfunctional pre-schoolers than adults, she was refreshing. D was dating (and married that particular year) the vice-president of our department, J (again with the first initials). J (who reminded me of Ty-man) lost his mother my second month at the company, so I felt sympathetic toward him. After my father died, I felt a kinship with him and made sure to treat him differently from the other upper-management at our office. Instead of ignoring him, calling him "sir," and only speaking when spoken to, I treated him as a friend. I chatted with him in the halls, I said hello to him in the break room, and I would joke with him about nonsensical claptrap if the moment called for it. I considered both D and J to be my friends, not just fellow employee and boss*. I suppose D felt differently.

Too cowardly to talk to me face to face, D mailed me a letter (a letter I immediately tore to pieces in anger and frustration) stating that I was flirting too much with J and if I valued our friendship to cease and desist immediately. I was absolutely stunned, hurt, confused, and mad as hell. Ironically, I had sat on the beach not one month before, drunk off my ass, and asked my outgoing friend Toni, "How do you flirt? How do you do it? I've never been able to do it. I don't get it." Not knowing I had been suffering from clinical depression for the past nine months, I reacted to D's accusation the only way a non-medicated, extremely depressed person knows how to act - I lashed out. In between grilling my co-workers about my actions and words toward J and if I had flirted with him (they all resoundingly answered NO!) I composed one of my most vitriolic letters to date. I wish I had kept a copy of it. It was astounding in its use of angry vocabulary and scathing verbiage. And when, in a fit of "ridding my life of all reminders of D," I e-mailed J to take home the chair she had loaned me for office use, his terse response was "don't place me in the middle of your disagreement with D."

That sentence. That response. That was the proverbial straw that broke the Heather's back. I left work early with a sick excuse, I called Ty-man and told him to come home now, and I promptly curled up on the floor of our bedroom, sobbing and wailing. I cried for ten months of sadness, anger, frustration, and hurt. I cried because I couldn't believe that both Dad and Uncle Curtis had left me. I cried because I was an only child and the only person Mom could call for help. I cried because my cat was dead and I was too chicken to take him to the vet and hold him while he died. I cried because my friend had cut me to the quick and because my other friend, who was the reason for said cutting, let me down. I cried to make up for all the horrible things I'd said to Ty in the last ten months. And when I finished crying, I found Dr. Oppenheimer's name in our insurance provider list and made my first appointment with a psychologist.

And discovered that counseling and Zoloft were a Godsend.

And I'm hoping I make that same discovery nine years later. I'm seeing Dr. Oppenheimer on Friday, for the first time since my last appointment with her in 1999 when she told me I was OK and could make it on my own. And I have. Until now.

I hope she and the anti-depressants can help me again.

* I know, I know. Big mistake. Should have treated them as fellow employee and boss and nothing more. I'm too damned trusting.


HEATHER said...

I hope everything goes well for you. I will be praying for you!

Jenn said...

Having delt with PPD, I know what a complete and utter "weight" depression can be. (That's the best way I can describe it.)

Good luck at the psycoligist - I'll be thinking of you!

Unknown said...

You left out the part about how D is completely batshit crazy. :-)

And good for you for making that appointment!


Avitable said...

Dr. Oppenheimer? Hopefully she can bomb that depression back to the stone age.

Anonymous said...

I hope you find what you need with Dr. Oppenheimer.
That's such a huge step to admit to yourself when you need help. Good luck.

RiverPoet said...

Oh sweetie...I'm so glad you're getting an appointment and trying to get this thing under control. Sometimes life can feel like it's drowning us. There is a reason I call my Lexapro and Seroquel life-saving meds. Clinical depression runs in my family, as does bipolar and anxiety disorder. Terrible stuff. There were times I was ready to walk away from my husband and kids and never look back, without even a suitcase in my hand. It was all depression.

God bless you and I'll keep you in my prayers. You are a special woman. Take a break if you need to, though I'd love to keep tabs on you, I understand that sometimes even the act of blogging feels like too much responsibility.

Peace - D

Not Afraid to Use It said...

I'm glad you sent that letter to D. And honestly, she sounds like the kind of person that if it were not the issue with J., it would have been something else. I am just so sorry that everything exploded all at the same time.

You and I could have a definite pow-wow about cats and the vet. There is nothing more awful than shouldering that responsibility.

I hope your appt with Dr. Opp is everything you need it to be.

Molly's Mom said...

It sounds like you needed to send that letter. Obviously D was just a wee bit low on the dose of self-esteem...

For what it's worth, I've been feeling a bit on the down slope myself. I cried on husband's shoulder tonight, even though I couldn't really give voice to what it was that's been bothering me.

If you need to chat, you have my email. Seriously.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you the whole way on this post. I've gone through some of the same things in the past. I don't want to trivialize or inslt with a cutesy joke, so I'll leave it with - I know, YANA.

Gypsy said...

I'm so sorry you're hurting right now, but I'm glad you made the appointment and are doing what you can to help yourself.

I'm thinking about you. {hugs}

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Other Heather - Thanks, darlin'.

Jenn - Thanks, hon! I can't wait to get that weight off me.

Teri - Batshit crazy is an awesome description. I love you!

Avitable - Oh. That was lame, sweetie.

MommyCosm - Thanks, sweetie!

RiverPoet - Thanks, hon. Depression is horrible and insidious. I hope to get a handle on it soon.

NATUI - You're right. She was an absolute tool and it would have been something. And the ironic thing? She and J divorced. Amazing.

Molly's Mom - Sometimes, we just need to cry. I'm sorry you were feeling down, hon.

A Free Man - Thanks, sweetie. I hate it that you understand, but there's safety in numbers. :)

Gypsy - Thanks much! I'm glad I made the appointment, too.

Toasty said...

I'm afraid I understand too, and sometimes think about unloading the weight on a professional ear, but at the moment I am dealing...

I really appreciated the wisdom of this post though and just wanted to tell you.

On another note, I linked to you on my latest post...http://myinnerteen.blogspot.com/2008/10/in-case-you-were-wondering.html
Check it out.

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Toasty - Thanks for linking to me, hon! I so need to update my blogroll. I was dealing until I realized that there was to much to deal with. I just need the help.