Thursday, March 3, 2011

"Darkness Visible"

   Darkness Visible is the title of a memoir written by William Styron (author of Sophie's Choice) about his struggle with and recovery from clinical depression.  Styron was a gifted author, and so I borrow the title of his book for the title of my post.

   The photo above sort of reflects where I'm at right now: a tiny ray of light surrounded by lots of dark clouds.

   I've been really struggling these last few weeks with my postpartum depression.  I've reached a new level of low.  I've avoided, until now, broaching this topic here, but it is part of my blog title, after all, and it is a very pervasive part of my life lately, so I might as well open up about it.  Its quite scary for me to talk/post about how I really feel because I am ashamed (I haven't overcome the stigma), but perhaps if I open up about it, I'll find that I'm not as alone as I think I am.  Or perhaps it will just be good for me to put it into written form, for my own clarity.

For those of you who have not directly experienced "clinical" depression, let me describe how I've been feeling over the last few weeks:
-- I have no energy or motivation-- what little there is is used for my children.  (Sorry, Hubster, that I crash out shortly after you get home from work, and forget about quilting these last few weeks.)
-- I feel completely overwhelmed and just want to curl up in bed.
-- I force myself to go through the motions of daily life.  It's hard to eat and dress and face the day.
-- I'm tearful and irritable and I've been too quick to snap at my kids.  It breaks my heart, most of all, when I see how this depression affects how I interact with my wonderful children.  (I'm close to tears as I write this).

   So as you can see (I think), I'm not at the best place right now.  I'm speaking from an emotional and vulnerable state-- my perspective and "objectivity" are temporarily hibernating.  But let me reassure you that I do have support ( a wonderful, supportive and understanding husband, and a therapist whom I meet with weekly, who I trust and respect).  I'm also adjusting my medications (luckily my son is past the breastfeeding point), and I am not suicidal.  I know things can and will get better, and I love my husband and children too much.  I have a collection of inspiring books to read: William Styron's Darkness Visible, Tracy Thompson's The Beast, and Brooke Shields' Down Came The Rain (to name just a few)--all of which warrant re-visiting when I get like this.  I also have some self help type workbooks to help build my skills in coping.

   So I just have to take each day--each hour, each minute-- one at a time, until I can work through this especially difficult time.
    Thank you, quilting bloggers, for your inspiring thoughts and creations, which I still love to read, and will hopefully contribute more of my own when I'm feeling a little better.
   I hopefully haven't scared too many of you away with my honest disclosure.  If so, please return for a visit when I am focusing more on quilting and positive aspects of life.

  I will close now on a more optimistic note with two photos I took out my window the other morning:  I made a long chain of paper cranes in all different colors and patterns that has faded over time, but I love the sunlight streaming in the window on them and they give me hope.  Cranes are a symbol of peace, fidelity and long life.  In the background, you can see that the deep, heavy snows we had this winter are starting to melt away-- a sign that spring is coming!  I look forward to brighter days (filled with quilting!)


Kathleen said...

Love your cranes. I feel sad that you are 'ashamed' to let us know about this.... it's like being ashamed that you have a cold. Talk when you need to and keep going one minute at a time. Know that there is one more person that holds you in her thoughts and keeps you in her prayers.

Helen said...

Beautifully written. Like Kathleen wrote, it is sad that you are ashamed. I don't think this is necessary. Writing is down helps clear the mind and put things in perspective. "Awareness is the greatest agent for change". Eckhart Tolle.

Regina said...

My comments haven't been working so I'm going to just message you as soon as I put the kids to bed (I'm only writing this in case the comment actually works).

Mama Mason-Mann said...

I hope you're feeling better these days. I'm thinking of you. I've enjoyed reading through your blog. Hug those kids for me.

ck said...

I think it is wonderfully brave of you to take the first steps of shaking off any shame you feel regarding depression, by writing about it. I would say that you shouldn't feel shame in it - but I am firm believer that I can never tell anyone how they *should* feel. I would hate to invalidate or cheapen what are very real feelings. However, I realize that this post is several months old, so I am hopeful that things are a little brighter for you :-) I have watched my mother and brother struggle with crippling depression, and think that it is SO important that we help people remove the stigma associated with the term.

It is so nice to get to know you a bit through your blog :-) Blessings to you and your sweet family!