Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Will that Be Me?

So a few weeks ago, I wrote about how I was thinking about something but was not sure I was able to write about it. I actually spent a whole blog post avoiding the subject. But I sort of opened the door with my last blog post.

When I was 8 my mom was 30. Until then she was a great mom. She was always there. She played games with us. She read books to us. She took us to the park and to church. She was happy and fun. There was no hint that her world, and thus our worlds, were about to fall apart.

I have heard that depression often does not show up until a woman is in her 30s. And that has worried me. I struggled with depression in my early 20s. I also ended up with chronic fatigue syndrome. I think both were part of me breaking free and healing after growing up in my house. My body and mind seemed to just need a break.

At some point in my mid 20s when I decided to have kids, I decided to stop taking the low dose antidepressant I was on. I have not had to take any depression medications since.

But there is a part of me that still wonders if I will eventually be taken over by the depression that runs in my DNA. I worry when I get down. I don't like feeling the winter blahs because I worry that they are just a slippery slope leading me into becoming severely depressed and unable to be there for my kids.

I wonder at times if I am just living in denial and I am really depressed. But then I look at my life and realize that I am not staying in bed all day, well unless it is Christmas break and we are just enjoying a lazy day at home.

I may cry too easily at the American Airlines commercial with the soldier being saluted by the elderly vet. And I don't like to cry too easily because I don't want my emotions to dictate my life. But they don't. I am still able to think and act rationally beyond my emotions.

I guess I won't really know until I get to the end of my life if depression will someday take over my life. I have made it almost all the way through my 30s and it hasn't so far. I have had three babies and while I had the baby blues with the first one, I never struggled with post partem depression. I can be sad without falling into a dark pit. I can be overwhelmed without shutting down. I can suffer the winter blues but when the sun comes out my innermost sparks with joy.

Maybe I will not be taken over by my DNA. Or maybe the decisions I have made, the work I did in college with a therapist, and God's hand on my life will keep me safe. I don't know. I just know that I don't want my kids to have the childhood I had. I don't want them to have to worry about their depressed Mommy.

That is my big dark secret place I try to avoid. The worry that I will become depressed like my mom. Do you have a dark place you don't like to go?

1 comment:

  1. Jen, thanks for living "out-loud" and sharing such a deep, honest struggle. I am so moved by your post. And, I certainly have my own set of "deep, dark secret worries". I join you in the struggle.

    But, that is tomorrow, right? And, today has enough worry of it's own!! (Matt 6) If I might add my 2 cents... don't own "the depression", it isn't yours--- DNA or otherwise. Yes, the work you did in college... the freedom you have found in these later years... the person Jesus is making you to be. Yes, own those... yes, they are all "yours" and who you are.