Pam Halter
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Parents Blog

Depression's Demands
8/15/2014 2:19:26 PM by: pam

Depression sucks. So many people claim to have it. What the heck IS depression, anyway? Sadness? Grief? Frustration? Is it chemical or emotional? How does medication help or hurt? What does depression do?

Depression is demanding. It gags you so you can't call for help. Lies to you. Calls you names. Makes you feel like no one cares. Blindsides you. Captures your thoughts and twists them.

I don't know how it affects you, but I can share what I've experienced.

Hindsight is always perfect. When I look back, I see now that I shouldn't have been diagnosed with clinical depression. I was overstressed because Anna's seizures were bad, Daryl was post-surgery for his ankle, I had a new diagnosis of high blood pressure, and I was homeschooling Mary. But that's what my family doctor said. Depression. And he put me on Paxil. At first, I felt okay. Not much change, although maybe a little lighter. I waited to feel better. What happened was a slow change, taking about six months or so, and I began having anxiety, which turned into full blown panic attacks. Following that, I began to see three demons hovering just out of my eyesight, up and to the left. They wanted me to die. I began cutting. The day I sat on the couch and mentally counted all the medication in the cabinet and realized I could easily end it all, I got scared – really scared – and told Daryl.

I prepared for my emergency appointment with the psychiatrist by packing a bag for the mental hospital. I told him everything. Held nothing back. He said, "You're on the wrong medication." And he didn't send me to the hospital. I weaned off Paxil and started Abilify. Besides gaining over 50 pounds, I did great on it for 10 years. Just this past March, I went off and started taking Holy Basil. I'm doing just fine.

My point is this: feeling sad, overwhelmed, and frustrated is not necessarily clinical depression. Parents who have special needs children often feel this way. We also grieve the loss of a normal child every day of our lives. Does that mean we need meds? Maybe. Maybe not. But with the potential horrendous side effects of anti-depressants, I like to encourage parents to try natural supplements like Holy Basil first. And to talk. Find a friend. A counselor. Someone you feel comfortable with. Someone you can trust. Often, we who feel depressed feel totally alone. This is the devil's lie. You aren't alone. You might think no one knows how you feel. That's a lie, too.

I'm not trying to tell you what to do. But there are options. Explore them all. Feeling down, stressed, angry, freaked out, scared (and more), is really normal for most of us who have kids like Anna. The best thing I've found is to talk to other parents. I kept it all in for so many years. I didn't want anyone to judge me. This is why I'm blogging now. I want to reach out and help others who are struggling. Nothing you can say to me will shock me. And I won't judge you. If you can't post a comment, but want to talk to me, you can contact me on this website. Please don't wait.

"Two are better than one . . . if one falls down, his friend can help him up." Ecc. 4:9-10


pam From At 9/15/2014 6:10:43 AM

Yes, Jenny, let me know about the Holy Basil. I'm doing great on it. So thankful! God provides all we need.

Jenny From At 9/14/2014 8:39:26 PM

It's taken me months...and I'm still working on getting through the ""depression"" grief, sadness, etc. while still visiting him and working towards the future...which is a scary and completely ""walking by faith"" thought.I went and bought some Holy Basil. ... :) I'll let you know how it works! :)

Jenny From At 9/14/2014 8:37:07 PM

I can TOTALLY relate to this.... Long story short, Eli was diagnosed (with the ADHD and impulse control disorder.... Aspergers!) He is currently in a residential facility. I didn't realize how immensely stressed out and overwhelmed and on High Alert for 14 years I had been, until he left.

Carol Pennington From Vineland, NJ At 8/15/2014 7:48:04 PM

Pam, thanks for your transparency. I'm trying to be more confident and transparent for my own good. You're always an inspiration. :)

Laur Kirk From At 8/15/2014 2:58:35 PM

Thank you, Pam. Your blog is so helpful and healing.

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