Caregiving

Depression is sneaky

Another pile I'll attack next weekend.

Another pile I’ll attack next weekend.

Saturday I did something I haven’t done in a long time. I attacked piles of paper, magazines and mail on a glass top table in our small breakfast room. It has been covered in stuff for months.  There is still a counter in the room that is covered with stuff, too. Mostly cooking magazines and ever-growing piles of mail. I will clean that up next week. My work life is so full I never get to those kinds of tasks during the week, which is why I also do all my cooking on Sundays.

But Saturday I finally had the time and energy to clear off the table, go through the magazines, clean up, run the vacuum sweeper downstairs, and put away some stuff in the living that had been there since October when we painted. It was a little scary for me to have so much drive and energy I hadn’t felt that way in a long time.

For the last 3-1/2 years, either me or my husband has faced a serious medical issue.  I had hip replacement more than three years ago.  Until my husband got his new heart at Christmas, he was not himself. He hasn’t been himself since late in 2011, but he’s coming back into his own now.

People have told me that they thought I was doing fine, amazingly so, and I’m realizing that I wasn’t doing fine. I was getting the necessities done, at home and at work, but I wasn’t really excelling at anything or attacking any big problems because I didn’t have the time or the energy. I was too busy either getting care or giving it.

I can see now that whether you are a caregiver or needing a lot of care yourself, you might not realize you’re walking in the fog of whatever is permeating every part of your life. Because even if you are getting through it one day at a time, that’s all you’re doing: getting through it.

It’s only now that I know I’ve probably been depressed for three years. About carrying the caregiver load. About gaining weight. About not really being able to help my ailing husband. About never having a spare moment. During that time I chose not to think too much about it so I could live my life without being overwhelmed by it — or so I thought. The truth is that living those moments, those minutes, those days, weeks, months and years was dwelling on it. Maybe not consciously or with purpose; maybe not verbally, maybe with no outward, identifiable expression. But every waking minute was spent dwelling on it, because it was always there.

Was that healthy behavior? I’m not sure. I’m not sure how I could have done it differently. My husband and I both came through it stronger — I do believe one learns from hard times. All I can do now is keep praying, keep working at getting better, be thankful I finally recognize what has been happening and move on.

Because it’s time to get done with existing and get back to living.



2 responses to “Depression is sneaky”

  1. Yes, depression can come in the door without knocking. You look up and it is standing shoulder to shoulder with you. Being resilent people we continue to “handle” the things that life can pile on. Before, we know it we are “desensitized” to the abnormal load we are dealing with. We have lost our joy and sense of balance.

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