Monday, April 16, 2012

The luxury of a nervous breakdown

Two years ago I had a meltdown that was a long time coming.  It was on the heels of four years of various trials. Some were the normal stresses that people experience if they live long enough--minor health problems, the challenges of raising teenagers, caring for aging parents. And there was serious stuff too.

Things eventually settled down. When everything should have been good, I went into a funk that wouldn't leave. I had bouts of depression before, but this was the worst. I slogged through every day and, for the life of me, couldn't think of a thing I was looking forward to. I focused on just getting through five minutes at a time. Spiritually I bottomed out. While I once had been passionate about the Lord, I now felt wooden.

What was my problem anyway?  I figured it was a luxury to have a nervous breakdown, feeling guilty that I didn't have anything to be depressed about. Other people suffered real tragedy. All that I was suffering from was a midlife crisis and selfishness.

When you're depressed the last thing you want is to be around people. But it's the thing you need most. I credit my friend, Terri, for dragging me out for coffee. She'd make me laugh.  Every day I talked to LaDonna, a friend who lives in Washington, who distracted me from my inward angst. My sister, Vicki, who is younger, took the role of big sister and would check in with me, letting me talk and cry  Friends at church, who didn't know what was going on but just knew I wasn't myself, gave me hugs and encouragement.

Dave, at a loss, would tell me I was going to be okay and stepped up with housework. I felt sorry for Landon, the remaining child at home who was trapped with a mom who was an emotional wreck.  It couldn't have been easy for him.

It was obvious even to to me that I needed medical help. I went to our family doctor and balled and balled. She gave me the depression test. It was no surprise that I scored at the top as severely depressed.  She referred me to Psychiatry. With my first appointment, I was diagnosed correctly and was put on two little pills that prevented me from ending up in a corner, wild eyed and licking my lips.

It took awhile getting off the bipolar express, but eventually my whacked-out brain chemistry evened out. I started feeling better. The turning point was when Amber got engaged. My girls both said, "Mom, now you have something to look forward to."

I stayed busy for the next months helping plan the wedding. The day of the wedding was glorious. It's hard to describe the feelings you have seeing your little girl walking down the aisle on her father's arm. While Paul and Amber took communion, I felt such abundant grace. I had been richly blessed by people who loved me through to the other side of a dark time. Life was good again. I felt joy.

With Terri, who keeps me laughing.
P.S. I think most women have times of depression. Depression can be situational, hormonal, spiritual, or biological. In my case it was a combination of all these. Get help if you have depression that is persistent. You're not alone.

What's helped me kick depression to the curb is blogging, laughing with friends and family, not taking myself too seriously, and exercising regularly. And taking those two terrific little pills every day.

Blessings, Jacci


  1. Girlfriend, I totally get it. Was in the same place a year ago. Love the little pink pills. They keep us girls sane. Same deal, logically no reason to be depressed. Husband, home, job, check. Sometimes we just need to bottom out to realize how lucky we really are.


  2. Wanetta, yes it seems to be a common theme for women our age. Glad you're doing better too. Love ya, Jacci

  3. those little pills are magic, aren't they?

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  5. Wow! Never saw this one Jackie! I can well relate but never took the pills.... Anyway, I just have to say it is VERY HARD living alone. I'm glad you have a husband and one son left. Not just living alone but being 18 hours from 2 sons and an hour away from a daughter and a son. Ready to start a new family! It says in the Bible...God puts the solitude in families.... I need one...