Sometime way back in the past, I struggled (a lot) with post partum depression and since then I’ve tried to be pretty open about it… There seems to be some sort of stigma associated with it, which is so crazy because TONS of women get it, and maybe if we all talked about it that stigma would go away and all of us would stop feeling like we are the ONLY one dealing with it.
Fast forward a few years to mid 2011: I’m doing great. I have 2 beautiful little girls, a wonderful job, awesome husband and that ache in my shoulder that just won’t go away. A routine surgical repair in November of that year was the beginning of my nightmare. I was pretty open with the first repair, a little quieter about the second and didn’t mention the last one until after the fact here in this space. Almost 3 months out of that third and we are already talking about a 4th surgery.
For the last 9 months or so I haven’t been living as much as I have been surviving, barely. A few weeks ago my friend Marni emailed to let me know that they were going to be moving back to Portland… I cried all day long. Certainly I will miss her, she is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met, but my reaction was extreme and I knew it. I started to think that it was possible I was depressed again, but I didn’t want to tell anyone… there is that stigma again. Seriously?!
About a week after that, I was feeling particularly brave and decided it was time to talk to Sean: “I have something I need to say. Over the last few months, things have been hard and I know that you know that. I never have even considered hurting myself, I love you and the girls too much for that… but I sure have wished that something tragic would happen, something that would just make all the hurting stop.” And then suddenly, he got it. He finally understood how bad things really are.
I think I’ve denied my struggles with this for a long time because there are times that I’m happy and I still laugh pretty much every day. Somehow I thought that to be “depressed” was an all-encompassing condition (and certainly it is for some people). The other day I Googled “Depression with Chronic Pain” and I found this article, as I read through it I just kept thinking “Yes! This describes me perfectly.”
I am going to see a pain specialist next week, I am hopeful that he will have some ideas to get me through this, to let me get back to the life I had before all of this... that life was certainly one worth fighting for.
I have so much to say about living with chronic pain: the depression it has caused, what it has taught me about myself, the strain it places on relationships, dealing with profound disappointment (in others and within myself), trying to parent through it, learning to ask for help, and hopefully overcoming it.