Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Rest of the Story

I used to love listening to Paul Harvey's "and now for the rest of the story...". When I think of how old I'm getting I get...well...depressed. :) But that depressed is not the same as what we're talking about here. So here is the rest of my story.

What changed for me? I had a loving wife that gently kept pushing. She never gave up. When she e-mailed me that article at work I just sat in my chair numb. I thought to myself "I could have written this article". I read and re-read it. "How could I have been so stubborn?!" I thought to myself. God really does work in mysterious ways!

I laughed when I read the one comment from a couple days ago "I hate to tell you but I told you so." Yeah, I think many people were trying to tell me. I was just too stubborn to admit it. After all, I never thought about hurting myself so I couldn't be depressed, right?! That's what depression is, isn't it?

That can't be further from the truth. Sure, suicide can be the end result of serious depression, but suicide happens in severe cases of depression. Because you've never thought about hurting yourself doesn't mean that you may not be depressed. Any of those symptoms in that article are symptoms of depression. Untreated depression can have very serious consequences...and possibly even suicide.

Now I think about depression this way: When do you start taking a decongestant or Motrin? after you have a full blown sinus infection? No! First the sniffles, then a minor sore throat. Now you think to yourself "I better take some zinc to start fighting this cold now". You don't wait until you have a stuffed nose, cough, sore throat, sneezes and a major sinus headache before you do anything, right? So why wouldn't you talk to your doctor if you have just a few of those symptoms listed in that article. By the time you wait until you have all the symptoms it may be too late! Now just because you have one or some of those symptoms doesn't mean you're suffering from depression. But, they are all signs. Your body's way of signaling that there may be something wrong. Everyone is unique. How depression affects me will be different than how will affect the next guy. Etc., etc. The key is listen! Listen to your spouse. Listen to your loved ones. Listen to your body. If someone is telling you that you may be suffering from depression TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR!

I waited too long. The fatigue I had 24 hours a day was unbearable. I had isolated myself and gave up all of my favorite hobbies. The same day Kristi sent me that e-mail I didn't wait on calling my doctor. I called him right away. I called Kristi and told her "get the name of that shrink and make me an appointment". I was willing to go, but I didn't want to talk to anyone so she made me the appointment for me. It's a man thing. :)

I came home from work that night (it was a Friday) and I was pumped. For the first time in years things were starting to make sense. That weekend I was flying high all weekend. The next week I saw a psychologist, then a psychiatrist and started taking an antidepressant. My plan was to throw everything at it. Why not? I couldn't possibly feel any worse so it was worth the try. I can't explain how excited I was (and am).

After 2 weeks of being on the antidepressant I definitely started noticing a difference. I was less tired throughout the day. That was the biggest factor for me. After 3 weeks the change was unmistakable. I called my doctor and asked him to up my dose. I've been on this current dose for about 3 weeks now and have met with my psychologist twice and a psychiatrist once. I am still a little tired during the day but not nearly like I was. My psychiatrist said it may take 8-12 weeks to realize the full benefit of the antidepressant - but it's already working!

Not only is the fatigue getting better, I'm actually getting my spark back to start up some home improvement projects again and this past week I made it to the gym twice and didn't dread it. I actually wanted to go work out!

Looking back, I can't believe how sneaky that depression was and how it took over my life, little by little. It was so subtle how it came on. I've always considered myself a pretty reasonable, intelligent person - that's why I figured it couldn't be depression. I would know it if I was depressed. Looking back I couldn't have been more wrong.

My point in making this post and "coming out" is to educate people about depression. Many people suffer unnecessarily from depression but let it go untreated because they, like me, think they can "just deal with it" or refuse to believe they can be suffering from depression. The solution lies with your pride, your "manhood" (unless you're a woman), your willingness to admit that there may be something wrong. Once you admit that, it's one easy phone call to your doctor. Make an appointment and talk it over with him. It's a very simple appointment with life changing/altering/improving benefits. Your doctor will know. Think about it, for once you can go to the doctor and he won't even prick you with a needle, he won't probe in areas that weren't made for probing, he won't stick anything down your throat. Nope, just a few simple questions. It's completely pain-free. Wow, I sound like an infomercial. But that's how passionate I've become about this. If Oprah calls tomorrow I'll be there!

I could go on and on but I think you get the point by now. Just know that without your prayers and God's guiding this family, we couldn't make it through this storm. We do believe that God is leading us and whatever the outcome, we know it was His Will that is done - not ours.

Kristi will probably update tonight or tomorrow. She had a much better day yesterday and today.