Wednesday, September 26, 2012


In January of this year, I said farewell to my uterus. I even had a party. It wasn’t a sad occasion. I was so happy to see it go. It had been nothing but trouble for years. But, I felt like it should be honored for it’s diligent service and contribution to bringing my four delightful children into the world.

Since we’re being so open about my body parts, I feel like I can tell you I still have my ovaries. I wasn’t opposed to keeping them. They were and are still behaving.

Now, the weird part about having ovaries and no uterus, is that I have invisible periods. This means once a month I get crabby, but have no physical indication of why. It’s a strange thing and maybe it would be easier to predict if I would make a chart of crabby days and happy days, but I’m just not that organized. So I go for the Russian roulette surprise effect when dealing with my moods. I’m not sure my family is in favor of this method. But, it is what it is.

I’m getting to the part of the story that I really wanted to share. Sorry you had to wade through all that other stuff to get here. But really, if you know me, you probably expected it. Here’s the deal. After the surgery, my hormones and emotions and all my thoughts and feelings got a little out of wack. I’ve heard this is very normal. It didn’t feel very normal to me because I’ve been living a very steady, mostly stable, non-emotion controlled life for around nine years.

My youngest will be ten in less than a week. If you keep up with my children’s ages, that means they will be 10, 11, 12, and 17. I know, right? No, of course I didn’t do that on purpose. But, surprises are good. Anyhoo, back it up to ages 0, 1, 2 and 7 through 1, 2, 3, and 8. Life was difficult, to say the least. But, this was also the darkest, most hopeless, most confusing year of my life. And, quite frankly, I’d dealt with divorce and single parenting, and that didn’t even come close to the way my emotions turned on me that year. Nothing was wrong in my life. Sure, I was busy and sleep deprived, but I really had a wonderful life.

I suspected post-partum depression. I really didn’t do anything about it, though. I just figured it would go away with time.  It didn’t. By the time the littlest guy was six months old, I didn’t want to leave the house. I didn’t want to leave my bed. I didn’t answer the phone. And I let very few people into my life, and pushed others out. It was by the Grace of God that I could care for the children.

I would say, for the next six months I tried and tried to get myself out of the pit. I couldn’t. My husband was helpful and supportive, but there was nothing he could figure out to do to help me. Eventually, at a routine doctor visit, I saw a pamphlet that caught my eye. It was about depression. Real depression. It had a self-assessment to fill out. I could check every box. I brought it back to the doctor with tears in my eyes and just handed it to her. Yes. This was what was wrong with me.

We had a nice long talk that ended with her writing me a prescription for Prozac. Oh, I can tell you, that didn’t make me happy. Oh, great. I was “officially” nuts. I didn’t know anyone who took medications. Good grief, I was a freak. But, daily I swallowed my pills. And eventually, I swallowed my pride and started talking to other women. And you know what? I was far from alone. I would tell someone and she would whisper, “yeah, me too.” I would tell someone else, and they would laugh and say, “me too.” On and on it went, the bolder I got in sharing, the louder the “me too’s.”

Not everyone I shared with had the same problem. But, many.  And I didn’t have a bad experience in sharing with anyone. No one called me kookoo and started to avoid me. I totally believe that not one person thought less of me. And I started to wonder why we were all keeping this ridiculous secret. By this time, I was feeling much better. And by much better, I mean, I was me again. I really didn’t even know I was gone. But, I was back. Now, I know prescriptions are not  the answer for everyone. I’m not suggesting that they are. But, in my case, totally, unequivocally, it changed my life.

I would find this out the hard way, when on random occasions I would deem myself “better” and quit the meds. I’ll just say, that never went well. My hubby would eventually ask the question, “Are you taking your happy pills?” It was huge for him to recognize how much of a difference they made, because he was never really on the pro-medication team. But, he could see, and I could see that they helped me control what was otherwise uncontrollable. 

And now, let me flip back to the beginning of this post. My surgery somehow messed up my inner workings again and I decided to take the plunge back into pharmacy free living. I had a long season where medication had to be used to keep me on track.  Right now, in this season, my body seems to have reset itself. It’s been a bumpy reentry. But, I’m into my third month and I feel like I’m back to normal…whatever that is. I’m a bit more emotional, but I’m okay with that. I’ve grown into it.

And really, the point of this very long post? I want to stand out there and say that there’s nothing wrong with needing help. You are not alone. Oh, how I wish someone had said that to me. I remember giving a little testimony about my depression five or six years ago. I mentioned that I had friends that also struggled with issues and were taking medication. A dear friend that was in the room raised her hands and shouted, “woo hoo!” It was a funny moment for sure, but really one I’ll never forget. Because, we shouldn’t be ashamed.

Whenever I tell my story to a group, I always have two or three people that come talk to me afterwards. They either have a similar story, or are in a pit asking for help. This just encourages me to share whenever possible. Hopefully, by standing in the spotlight, maybe you or someone you know will realize you aren’t alone and will seek the help that is readily available.

If you see yourself in this story, follow the link to a depression self-assessment. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/depression/MH00103_D 
If you find you have signs of being seriously depressed, please make an appointment with your family doctor.

UPDATE 11/5/2012:

I am so thankful that I posted on this topic. I had fabulous feedback and, as always when I tell part of my depression story, I got messages from people who NEEDED to hear this. I want to add something that wasn't in the above post. My dear friends and family, do not feel guilty for missing it. I was an expert at hiding it, as many depressed people are. We simply disappear during the really bad times and never speak of it. We push through when we can. We pretend that nothing is wrong. I believe this is pretty common.

One more thing...I certainly don't want to advocate going off your prescription when you think you might be feeling better. I knew my surgery had changed something and I needed to fix it. This is unlike the times before when I thought, "Gee, I'm better. I won't take my meds anymore." Let me tell you. That never ended well. And I always needed to get back on and get back on track. My doctor was very good at adjusting my dosage up or down as I needed to. So, just to be clear, I suggest working with your doctor at all stages in the process.