I was diagnosed in 2010 with something they called ‘Major Depressive Disorder’, or more commonly referred to as ‘clinical depression’. There were a series of events that led up to all my happiness being sucked out. By a demon. Yes, you have heard this word before, and as cliché as it is – that’s what happened.
It started in November of 2010, I was diagnosed around this time. Five months after my husband and my lovely wedding, we purchased a home. We had a housewarming party, and we love, love, LOVED our new house. Our first ever, dream home. We had everything ready, all moved in, unpacked, and were deciding what our next BIG thing would be. We had a trip to California planned for the Christmas holidays, and we were excited to tell everyone about our new house. When we returned… the house just… stank. My husband went to the basement, and .. squish squish squish… The carpet was wet. We had a flood. A big one. A nice, big, wet, moldy mess.
Back to the house. Here’s where things got tricky…
No, insurance didn’t cover it. Were there damages? You bet. Now, we had to max out credit cards, take out loans, just to MANAGE the flooding. It wouldn’t stop if we hadn’t put ourselves into financial hell. So, for the next 6 months, instead of doing our next BIG thing… we paid off our debt.
Depression sunk in. I realized our horrible situation, and how this was going to affect everything. This was the beginning of when I realized something was wrong … in my mind. And I needed help.
It flooded again… and I started thinking about suicide. I didn’t want to go through this anymore. As much as the flood and money problems are all material things, there were much deeper issues going on. Family issues, emotional issues. I couldn’t do it. I went into work with a mask on, trying to hide the fact I was royally fucked up in the mind. My mind was a prison and I couldn’t breathe. It had padded walls and no windows. Thoughts of previous traumas filled my head.. one in particular, and it was my demon. He haunted me.
Now, during this time, there were also MASSIVE family issues going on (my side and my husband’s side. The issues aren’t directly related to this story, so that’s for another time. The nightmares started. The demon was in my head. I stopped sleeping. He started coming during the day. He was everywhere, and he was after me. I was now on anti-anxiety meds, antipsychotics, and sleeping pills. I was numb from the pain. That was the idea. Miraculously, my husband and I weren’t having problems, but we weren’t great either. We were… managing.
A few months later (March), we had another flood… in the other side of the basement. This time, we were going to cover all our basis. I won’t get into the nitty-gritty details, but basically, this cost us about double our down payment. So, again… financial hell. Things weren’t getting better… we were just getting deeper and deeper into debt. My depression got worse, and I was numb every day. I wanted to die. I just needed one shred of good news…
Well, I got promoted (company from hell)! This was going well for about three weeks. Then…I got fired. Great, huh?
No reason as to why they let me go. None, no explain came from my company. It was really… out of the blue. So, I immersed myself in self-pity and thoughts of death. I tried to talk to my husband about it, and he got angry at me for thinking that way. I stopped going to therapy. I didn’t want to go anymore. I didn’t want to get out of bed. So I didn’t. I just played video games. And watched Grey’s Anatomy. Which actually helped. I liked to watch other people’s problems, and thought they were funny. That’s what the show is supposed to be about, right?
I hated myself. I failed. Our house is a mess. Our wallets are empty, and in my head, they would be forever. I couldn’t sleep, the nightmares kept coming. I didn’t want to do anything, but if I didn’t think, the demon would come back. I didn’t want to talk to this demon, and I didn’t want to see him. I hate him. I saw him everywhere, he followed me awake, asleep, at home, in the car, at a restaurant. Everywhere. If I shut my eyes hard enough, he was gone. Just white spots appeared instead. So, I had a drawer full of medicine that would make me sleep for a long time. Maybe, if I didn’t wake up, the demon wouldn’t come after me anymore.
So, I took a bunch of the pills.
Apparently, that wasn’t enough, because I woke up the next day and the demon was there. So was my husband. I couldn’t tell him what him what happened. (I did eventually, he was angry again) I just told him I was really tired.
Well, a few weeks later, I gathered up what remaining dignity I had and looked for a job because my severance was out, and unemployment only went so far. I put on the mask again and went to interviews. I found a job. A great job, actually. With a great company, great people, great pay, and best of all… these people are now my friends. I feel they support me, and understand. I need that. I need a ‘work family’. Which I have now.
Shortly after I started at this great new company, I saw my therapist again, and she recommended I get a dog. A therapy dog, specifically. Well, in our current financial state, buying an already trained therapy dog wasn’t possible. So, I just settled on getting a puppy. Which we were seriously considering. A coworker of mine needed to find a new home for his dog, and Wa-La! We have Napoleon. I fell in love, and he’s the perfect ying to my yang…so to speak.
Now, back to the basement issues, we had 2 more floods in 2011 while we were rebuilding. So, we hired a lawyer and threatened a lawsuit. Because we asked so nicely, the plumbing company came out and fixed their mistakes. . . finally. So, we started rebuilding again…
One room at a time..
Framing.Insulation. Drywall. Mudding. Texturing, Baseboards, Painting… Dollar sign, Dollar sign, Dollar sign… gone, gone, gone. More anxiety, more feelings of we’ll never get out of this.
But we did… and here are some pictures of our finished basement. After the damages.
1 year since original flood… November 2011
My dog was diagnosed with mast cell cancer. This was a pretty big kick in the gut. There was no other option: We had to operate. We had to do everything we could to keep him around with a high quality of life. So, we removed the tumor. There was only one, and he would need some recovery time. They got it all, and were having it biopsied. We would know in a few days how bad the cancer was.
Now, we had already planned going to visit family for Thanksgiving. Ryan’s family lives in California, and we like to go once a year. All the plans were already made. So, we planned on going, and leaving Napoleon with a trusted friend. The stitches would be out, but he would still need regular walks and some physical therapy so that those muscles were used to prevent atrophy.
Cancer test came back Grade 1, and we think we got it all! That’s great news. What a great way to start the trip! Knowing our dog would be with us for quite a long time!
So, we left Napoleon with our friend after his surgery, and we had the neighbors watching the basement every day. We covered all our bases. Now… I was really uncomfortable without Napoleon. He had been my security blanket and without him… I felt naked. I cried, I felt unsafe, the fear came back. The nightmares, the demon. But… I put on the happy face again, and pretended to be excited.
Now, the kicker… a few days before we left, my grandmother passed away. My mom was very upset, and she was having a really hard time with it. I felt horrible for leaving for Thanksgiving. We already booked our hotel, and our car, and our flights, there was nothing I could do. It was done, I was leaving.
The day we got into town, I noticed I had a sharp pain in my stomach, but didn’t really pay attention because of all that was going on. As the week progressed, this got worse and worse. I was in tears almost every night because of the pain. I just took more anti-anxiety meds because it numbed me.
We get to California, and we see my husband’s grandmother (who we knew was sick) … but we weren’t prepared for what we saw. She was dying. She had lost her spunk, her energy. It hit me like a train. I had just lost my grandmother, and now we were going to lose my husband’s… I have been in the family long enough where his family is my family now. This was hard.
Thanksgiving Day. I started vomiting this morning. But I sucked it up, because we were on vacation, and I was supposed to be enjoying myself. I also had to because it was Thanksgiving day.
So, I sucked it up, and we spent the day with the family… while our grandmother was in a hospital bed.. she had started hospice the day before. Meaning she didn’t have much time. That evening, I was in so much pain, I had started to vomit more, and I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t walk, everything hurt. I felt like I wanted to die. Oh, how badly I just wanted someone to kill me. This was from pain, not from my mental prison.
Emergency room. They finally gave me dilaudid for the pain. They did tests, and realized I had a severe kidney infection, and it was in danger of rupturing. They kept me there until I had ‘drunk’ all the fluids in the banana bag (which also had antibiotics, apparently). Going to the ER in another state, and not having a ‘home’ to go to when you leave is not comfortable, let me tell you. I was told to be on bed rest for a week. I thought that meant a few days. I’d be up and around.
We went to my husband’s family’s house the next day and said our goodbyes. Especially to our grandmother. She really was near the end… I didn’t know how much longer she had. I was now drugged up to all hell, and was numb again. So, seeing her like this, and saying goodbye was painful, yes. But I wasn’t really ‘on this Earth’, if you know what I mean. I was watching myself say goodbye.
Then we left for the airport. I had to basically close my eyes the whole way because I had car sickness. The movement was hurting, so I just focused on not throwing up. Got to the airport, couldn’t walk. Needed a wheelchair. I was scared about the flight… scared I might vomit, and I hate planes. So, I combined my drugs and took a sleeping pill, and a dilaudid for the plane trip. I do like dilaudid…
When we call my father-in-law to let him know we got back into town safely, he tells us our grandmother had passed away. I was numb already, so I couldn’t feel anything. My husband was very upset and I, in my sick state, needed to take care of him, too. We picked up Napoleon, who was overly excited to see us, and we just weren’t in the mood to be around a jumpy, excited, slobbery dog. So, we went home, I curled up in my bed, with Napoleon on his bed, right by the bedside, and slept… for a week. I had started my treatment for the kidney infection, and had some much needed me-time under the gentle protection of narcotics.
Once I was ready to go back to work, I was rested, I was more happy than I had been in a while, and best of all, I didn’t have the demon show up. At least during the day.
That’s … the incredibly long story (sorry about that… hope it wasn’t boring) about how I was diagnosed and the first few years of dealing with my demon. He still comes around, and I’m not ready to face him. But this was the last time he’s come during the day. There were events from years before that led up to this diagnosis… but I need strength to post them. I need support from my friends. I think it will help… I need strength.