I have been asked by Jo to write a blog about something very personal to me as well as many others. I agreed to do so, in hopes that some one may
read this blog and realize that there is so much joy and beauty to be seen in this world.
My name is Linda. I am 48 years old and suffer with deep depression, Psychosis, as well as Agoraphobia. I will explain a little about each one as it effects me.
I am not a Dr. and don’t have the answers and may not know the right lingo, but will do my best.
Deep Depression: There are times when all of us feel blue, or a little down. Maybe something didn’t go as planned, or a loved one is sick and we feel bad for them.
Having deep depression (to me) is lower then the lowest you’ve ever felt. When every bone in your body aches. You can’t brush your hair, either because you just don’t care or because it even hurts to touch your head. When you visit a doctor for depression they will ask you a group of questions and you have to rate on a scale from 1-10
on where you are. For all the questions I have never scored any higher then 3. You are also asked from 1-10 were are your moods most of the time. My mood at a high would be at 3. So to crash into a low mean that I’m even below 1. When this happens, I don’t shower. If I do, it’s only because I have really forced myself into doing this. I’m not able to take care of my children the way they need to be taken care of. I have a boyfriend who is amazing. He drives in every morning to take my little ones to day care or school.
With out him doing this, my children would never make it. My home is a constant mess. Oh sure a 5 and 4 year old can do a lot to a home, but most days I don’t even have the ambition to pick up a piece of paper that has sat of the floor for 4 days. With deep depression every day is a chore. A chore to exist. The thoughts of dying are a constant wish. I suppose that is why I like to stay up late. The rooms are dark, and everyone is sleeping. I don’t have to force myself into doing anything. I can just sit and think. Deep depression makes a person think a lot, the only problem with that is that our thought are not in the right frame. All passed memories are relived over and over again. Each time thinking of different ways to solve the situation. At times this is all consuming.
Psychosis: Remember, I’m speaking of only myself. For many others who suffer from this, their symptoms can be quite different. Since I was a young girl I have been able to see and speak with spirits. Some times they were family members other times not. Some times even bad spirits would make them self known. This was the norm for me and never thought to much about it. Then one day I was sitting at my dining room table ( in my mid 20’s) and heard my name being called. It was a different voice and a different way of speaking. I looked around the house and saw no one. Even checked out side, no one was around. This continued for quite a few years. Never once did I think I had something wrong with me. Then a new voice yelled out one day “Mom!!”. I looked around and no one. Then about 8 years ago, while walking down the street I felt some one tap my shoulder and say “ how you doing?” I turned and no one was around me.
Now I was starting to get scared. It was happening more often. While crossing busy city streets. While sitting on a bench at a park. Once a young girl walked passed me. I could have sworn she called my name and asked me how I was doing. I looked up at her and of course she didn’t even notice I was sitting there. Then I became paranoid, and eventually went to my dr.’s. He quickly put me on meds. The voices are still there, but not as often as before. I should also add that this is different then having Schizophrenia. So like I said I became very paranoid and soon became a shut in.
Agoraphobia: Plain and simple…the fear of leaving your home. I’ve come a long way since first having it 5 years ago. Back then I lived in Hamilton Ontario, in an apartment building. I couldn’t even leave my apartment to check my mail. My sisters had to do all my shopping. I couldn’t even leave to go with them. Now I had just been given full custody of my Grand daughter. She was born a very sick baby and needed medical treatments constantly. This meant that either I had her die in my arms or I fought my illness and looked after her. I chose to look after her and began to bring her to the hospitals for treatments. Now 5 years later, I find myself able to leave the house, do my shopping, check the mail and even go out for outings…As long as there is some one with me. A couple of weeks ago I was bent and determined that I was going to step out my door and go for a walk by myself. I woke up that morning in such a panic that I bald and bald. Needless to say I didn’t go for my walk. But I’m okay with where I am with this illness. One day I will make it out on my own.
How my illness’ came to happen: I was in an awful marriage for quite a few years. To be honest I can’t remember how many years. I can’t even remember the date we got married. I remember the day I left and the day I arrived in Hamilton. After that life for me became a blur. I ended up in a hospital on the phsyc ward for 3 months. Left and began to see a physiatrist 3 times a week. The Dr’s nurse would call me a cab I would take the cab to the hospital, and the meter didn’t change. I was less then 5 minutes from the hospital and couldn’t walk it. I remember sitting in the nurses office one day waiting for the Dr’ to show. There was a student Dr. there. She asked me how long I have been coming for visits. I said “ I think 6 months”. The nurse looked down at my chart and said “ Linda, it’s been 3 years.” I had absolutely no memory of the 3 years that had passed. It scared me so bad that I went home and attempted to kill myself. While in the hospital on the phsyc ward again I found out that my daughter was expecting her first child. Joy was back in my life, the first time in a long time. Things happened, found out my daughter was a junkie and living a very bad life style and CAS was now involved. CAS in Canada is an organization that looks after the welfare of children. I knew I had to get out of the hell I was in and became determined to become healthy for my grand daughter. About 6 months before she was born, CAS came to me and asked if I would like to raise her. I jumped at the opportunity and said I would of course. By now my life was consumed with Dr appointments for my daughter and her and babies well being. My depression and all the other mess was put behind me…so I thought. About a month before the baby was born another bout of deep depression hit me again.
With out thinking of what would happen, I took as many of my pills as I could in hopes of dying. I can’t tell you what happened or who showed up. I just remember waking up in the hospital and my daughter standing over top of me. I made a promise to her and to the Lord that I would never try this again if He could some how erase what happened and allowed me to go home and raise my grand daughter. By some miracle that is exactly what happened. A doctor came in, asked how I was feeling. I said okay. He said I could leave. For me I will always think of my grand daughter as my saviour. Some say that she is lucky to have me in her life, but the truth be told. I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for her.
Now the years have passed…5 1/2 years have passed. I am blessed to be able to raise two of my grand children. Something else they gave me, besides the will to live is the love of photography. Of course like every grand parent we are out there taking picture after picture of our babies. Something about children that I just love is their excitement over everything, no matter how small. Watching them and listening to what they had to say opened my eyes to the world again. I began to look at the world in a whole new way. They taught me to see, not just look. To go out and take pictures of something anything…everything, come home and upload them and see all that I was able to capture makes me realize just how blessed I truly am. Some one else who I owe a great deal of thanks to is Rick. He will take me for miles to take a picture of a flower or a tree that I’ve been thinking about. He’s an amazing man and I love him for his constant encouragement and strength. Life is good. Oh sure I still have my weeks. But at least now I have 2 good days out of 7 instead of 7 bad days. And who knows maybe next month I’ll have 3 good days. I could never imagine not being able to take pictures now. It has become a huge part of my life. It has filled an emptiness in me, it has made me want to be out there, and experience life again.
My advice to others who suffer with depression or deep depression is…that one hour or one day that all seems to be right with the world, think about what makes you happy. Go with it, and just do it. Oh sure, it may take you a while before it becomes a big part of who you are, but in time it will help. And use sticky notes!! Post them every where. Write on them…” I am good” “ I am smart” “I’m going to be okay” “ I am the best me that I can be”. When you see these notes around your house, say the statements out loud. In time you will grow to believe what is true…You are good. You are smart..you are funny…you are beautiful..you do have a reason for being here…you are loved…you can love.
Thank you Jo for giving me the chance to speak, and thank you for taking the time to read this blog.
Linda you are more than welcome, and for anyone wishing to get in touch with Linda-Tiger Lilies Photography CLICK HERE