Explaining Depression to My Family

If there was ever a diagnosis for non-specific symptoms, I could certainly be a case study. In fact, I recently made an appointment with a doctor to go over some of my ailments.

The woman making the appointment asked me what I needed to see the doctor for. It would be so much easier if I could say, “Oh, I have a broken arm.” Not that I would want one (like my son has currently, poor kid). But a broken arm is relatively easy to treat.

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Take an x-ray, feel around, put on a cast and wait. At least that’s what Evan has had to deal with. It’s a hairline fracture that didn’t even show on an x-ray but his elbow hurt and couldn’t fully extend. The doc said we should mobilize it in a cast for two weeks and then he should be good to go.

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My experience at the doctor’s was a bit different. My hip was hurting, probably due to my scoliosis putting pressure where it shouldn’t. Maybe physical therapy will help.

And my left ear has been hurting. Like, it has physical pain when I touch certain areas. Inside looks fine. So it’s possibly related to my jaw – maybe TMJ, maybe just a bad bite alignment (still). Maybe an oral surgeon has answers.

But the worst symptom I presented was “my head feels weird.” And it does. I’ve been feeling light-headed and struggling with random bouts of vertigo. The diagnosis? “I don’t know.”

Maybe it’s related to my jaw or maybe it’s my sinuses or allergies or something else we can’t put a finger on.

So I decided to just go about living hoping that ignoring it would make things better. For the most part, it does. But Sunday struck me hard.

I yelled at my husband over our oatmeal. Something about him misplacing something that I very well could have misplaced. I stormed away, cooled down, and apologized for yelling.

He came over and asked me how I was doing and I told him I just wasn’t feeling like myself. My head was feeling funny and I could tell I was suffering from PMS (see: unsubstantiated rage).

Sometimes my husband gets it right and our little chat was a welcome distraction from my brain. Then the ugly monster reared it’s head. No one was safe in my path so I took my path into another room where I could take comfort in solitude.

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While I was in my room throwing on a little make up, trying to make myself feel human, the vertigo hit. I felt like the room was tilting and I needed to hold on. So I gave myself a break and decided that I might need to spend a little time lying down.

When my sweet little boy came up to ask me what I wanted in my enchilada, I told him and then let him know I wasn’t feeling well. He came back a second time and asked how I was sick.

I told him I felt a bit dizzy and explained vertigo to him. Then, I hesitantly told him I was also feeling depressed, quickly adding “but I’ll snap out of it.”

Maybe that’s not painting an accurate picture for him but I want him to know what my husband already does. That some days are good and some days aren’t. Maybe it’s the weather or hormones or simple chemistry. Whatever it is, it sucks but I always come out on the other side.




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