The Backwoods

Where we teeter between our love of modern convenience and the yearning for something long past; a world where neighbors knew your name and a “Friend Request” was eye contact and a smile.

The Sinkhole of Depression

Posted · 28 Comments

Depression Image

I don’t know when it started, for sure. The feeling of not feeling.  A few months, maybe more.

But without warning, without any clear signs it was even happening, I lost myself for a while.  I don’t remember when I stopped being me. Or exactly when everything dimmed.  Just suddenly, I was dark.

But nothing was wrong.

My older kids will say, “But mom, you have always been dead inside…” and they are right. I’m not an emotional person. I’m not a hugger, a baby squeezer, a chick-flick crier.  But his was beyond not being bubbly or cheerful. This was, if anything, indifference.  My give-a-damn appeared to be busted.

My thoughts were not in order. I couldn’t finish or even process an idea, the words whizzing by, scrambled, out of reach.  I felt fragmented. Disconnected. Like I was watching my life on television, not actually participating. Just floating along.

But there was nothing wrong with me. I was fine. I wasn’t sick.

I drifted away from my friends, telling them I was ‘too busy’ and they’d met my kids, so they believed me.  Nobody questioned it. Nobody, really, even noticed.  And maybe that made it worse.

I stopped singing in the car.

I stopped doing things I loved. The beach I’d walked daily may as well have been a thousand miles away. Because Netflix and warm socks took a close second to sleeping and anything beyond that felt impossible. Unfathomable, really.

I stopped writing.

I just didn’t care about anything. Not my kids, not my life, not me. I didn’t hate…I wasn’t really ‘angry’…I just didn’t give a crap.

How are you, people would say. And I’d nod my head, plaster a quick smile.  Good, I’d reply. Good.  Lies.

And then one day my best friend, Sandi, said, “You are not YOU anymore…” And I said, “well duh…”.  And then we went out for drinks and she bought me pajamas and I felt better for an hour or two. But when the hangover wore off nothing had changed.

I sat in rooms full of people and was alone. And I liked it that way.

I stopped carrying around my camera.

I can’t think, I told my husband.  I can’t finish a thought. Something might be wrong, I explained. He said go see a doctor. And I didn’t.

People drank coffee and shared stories and smiled and my life seemed so different than theirs. They compared fabrics and purses and all I could think is, “My kid smeared shit on the wall this morning…and I don’t even know where my purse is.”

Everyone’s issues seemed so trivial and yet I know we each carry our own burdens. Yet mine seemed to be swallowing me, devouring. I was in survival mode, barely making it through each day without going postal on total strangers.

Nothing was fair.

Was there something wrong with me? This wasn’t me. I’m a nice person. One of those annoyingly optimistic people that always sees the good side of everyone. And suddenly I was picking people apart. Finding fault in every move.

Undoing my children one angry word at a time.

I was getting worse. No longer was I just not ‘happy’. I was mad.

So in the wee hours one morning, because I don’t sleep when I’m supposed to, I had a thought.  Could something, besides my unruly children, be causing my moods? What had changed? How long had I been on my blood pressure medicine? Was there a correlation?  I mean, I’ve had every possible side effect to every medication I have ever been on. And so I Googled my prescription, Lisinopril.

For about two years my blood pressure sat pretty high and when it became clear my structured regiment of Umpqua ice cream and Espresso wasn’t going to change, my doc decided she’d better put me on some meds. I begrudgingly bought one of those Day-Of-The-Week pill dispensers and so launched my demise into old age.

The blood pressure dropped immediately to a healthy level. Every night I dutifully popped my pill while little by little my sense of value and motivation eeked away as symptoms of depression crept into my world. Silent. Slow. But sure.

So the little pill that was designed to make me live longer…made me not want to.

Within three days of tossing the tiny pills the fog began to clear. My thoughts fell into order. The images in my brains stopped swirling and I was able to focus on the moment for the first time in months.

It was like waking up.

It’s been two weeks now and this morning, at the top of my vocals, I sang in the car.

Now I don’t pretend to know anything about depression. I’m sure there a thousand different types, causes, mysteries and medicines having to do with depression that I know nothing about.  But I do know I wish I’d noticed earlier. I wish my friends, my family, the people who know me, had looked more closely when I pulled my head inside my shell. Maybe knocked on that door a little sooner. And I’m glad all it was…for me…was a reaction to a pill.

I hope if it happens again I see it coming, like a train in a dark tunnel, and I’m able to step out of the way. Or at least have somebody there to push me off the rails.







28 Responses to "The Sinkhole of Depression"
  1. Grammice says:

    Lisinpril I had the same reaction AND my hair started falling out in mass quantities & I developed a horrible cough. 1 day while getting my hair done & listening to my hairdresser complain about how much hair I was losing this lady says have you started a medication..yep new BP pill, Lisinopril, she googled & there was my problem! I finally convinced my Dr to change script. It had previously been chalked up to Menopause since I had been experiencing hot flashes & nite sweats. New meds & things changed for the better. 1 yr later I’m in full blown menopause, but at least I know its not the meds!

  2. CA Reader says:

    been 4 days and nothing more on FBook. Hoping it is due to driving south with family. Sending concern your way, crawling back from dark places isn’t easy and doing it while moving homes is probably even tougher. Know you are cared about ALOT.

  3. RobinG says:

    I’m sorry you had to walk through that. I’m on my way out of the depression pit–one so deep that I thought I would die–and I wanted to for awhile. I’m glad you are better. Praying I am fully recovered soon–it’s been a long six months. 🙂

  4. Lisa E. says:

    I’m so glad you found the source! I wish you joy. I lost a friend two weeks ago to suicide. I wish I’d been more in tune. It’s tough when someone isn’t living nearby, to know how to reach out.

  5. grmother in CA says:

    Possible chemical causes of depression beyond a BP med can include the following:

    1. onset of sleep apnea (because you may not realize you are tossing and turning and waking just enough to disrupt sleep due to not breathing)

    2. hormonal imbalances that shift cyclically enough in a month to create depression without any single blood test being way out of norm for the statistical average woman…but it IS enough to impact the individual concerned. Because hormones change hourly and every woman’s hormonal balance is not the same as a range of normal statistically.
    3. changes in the amount and intensity of natural light… the day light hours in Alaska especially are very different as fall and winter close in than as spring heads towards summer. And our reactions to the change in light can vary at different ages of our lives.
    4. changes in the amount of daily exercise/movement you are doing…which is a double whammy on top of other depression causes as depression saps our ability to move.

    I am so very glad you found your depression solution and hope you can also now find a safe way to control your blood pressure. More than your children and family and IRLfriends gain sustenance and support from you.
    Gazillions of thanks for your postings about your life and your children and Alaska or wherever you live in the next months.

  6. Pam Ferry says:

    I am glad for you, it was only the blood pressure med, but I hope you are still taking something else for blood pressure

  7. Anonymous says:

    The “standard medical” route would have been to add an anti-depressant, which would have led you down the path to diabetes ( and a new level of hell on earth. Good for you for putting and end to it. My own depression (not medically induced) takes the form of unexpressed anger. I can write it, but can’t speak it. I don’t burst into tears, I actually can’t cry at all. I don’t care enough to cry. Or eat, or sleep or speak to anyone, or shower or anything else but rehearse my anger. It’s a long, hard road to stay on the narrow path.

    • RobinG says:

      I don’t know who you are, and I don’t deal with the anger side of depression, but I’ve been so depressed I wanted to die–and it lasted for months and months. My situation is perimenopausal depression. I will pray for you.

      • Sue says:

        I am one who has been through the perimenopausal depression and other symptoms of pre-menopause. There are many natural products that can help–i.e. progesterone cream and various herbs. I hope you’ll try some of them until you get results. And if not those, perhaps ask your doctor for an anti-depressant or try hormone replacement therapy. Wanting to die is serious depression and I am concerned for you.

        • Sue says:

          Robin G, I just saw your additional post below and it sounds like you are doing some of this already. I’m glad for you.

  8. Guest says:

    Wow – amazing tale – so glad that you found a way out of the dark.

  9. so sad says:

    My question to you is what can a person do when the friend is married and out of state. My friend husband is in the military and every year they move and every year a new doctor switches her meds and it puts her in a tail spin. No one and I mean no one notices except for me. Her husband told a friend that he wished his wife would come back-he’s the dip sh*t that had her put on the meds in the first place. Yet he doesn’t see how all this is going on and no one else does either. I fought the first time to help her but I don’t think her husband was happy about it, because this last time I was told off.

  10. Cathy Scriba Tubb says:

    Welcome back to being you and thank you for sharing your story so honestly. Often times we think our stories are so ordinary and everyday that they cannot possibly make a difference, but they do. I appreciate your bravery, your honesty, and your stories. Every single one of them. Have a good day today Keri!

  11. Lisa says:

    My son is battling depression. I wish I could just remove a pill and make it better. I’ve never felt so helpless.

  12. Linda Wojes Dudley says:

    I am very happy for you that a medicine side effect was the reason for your depression because of course medicines can be changed. I hope that you have or will have your blood pressure levels checked as it is extremely dangerous to just stop them.

  13. audrey alfson says:

    I am SO glad you discovered the culprit was the medication and didn’t fall into the trap of medicating the medication problem with MORE medication! Be well, Kerry! You are wise, indeed, and so lucky! Eat well, laugh much!

  14. nancy ceglarek says:

    I’m awfully glad you found yourself again; only you, because you are you, can you do what you do; with your camera you capture the raw majesty of God’s creation — and because you do that and you share it I get a glimpse of what I would not otherwise see with my own eyes; you live life full of the reality of other people’s damaged children, and because you want them — even if it was only one — you share what that looks like from the depths of despair to the joy of a breakthrough, and you restore hope to humanity; you are the best realty show not on tv. When so much is wrong in the country — in the world — honestly, what you do is the only thing that’s real; you are living your authentic purpose on earth with all the human trappings and laying it bare to anybody that cares to look exposing beauty and joy and unconditional love in the midst of a chaotic, ugly, fallen world. Keep fighting the good fight, BACKWOODSMOM, and keep showing us how to smell the roses that grow in the weeds 🙂 you are loved ♥

  15. Holly says:

    Thank you for sharing. It is the best description I have read for depression. It is exactly how I have felt for about four years now. Mine was situationally induced. Every day I wake up thinking “OK this is the day that I am going to come out of this” but by the end of the day I just want to crawl in a dark hole somewhere. I am on an antidepressant, finally and I can function, but would I call myself happy….no. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • RobinG says:

      I am unable to take medications and have had great success with a homeopathic doctor and a nutritional therapist (not a dietician). They, along with God, have saved my life.

  16. dee says:

    I struggle with depression also. Your words touched my soul deeply this morning. Thank you for sharing your story.

  17. Michelle says:

    Oh how I needed to read this! I’m just starting to come back out of that same pit of depression, also medically induced. Thank you for being so transparent and helping me know I’m not alone!

  18. Robynne says:

    Holy crap you are my new hero… I mean before even bat man!!!

  19. irene says:

    Thank you. It’s been, that’s the thing, you never really know that it’s happening, but it must be about 5 weeks now.
    You describe it the way it its.
    Going to call my psychiatrist now, get me back on antidepressiva. Thank you.
    It’s such a sneaky bastard that you only notice it’s there after a while when you’re all in.

  20. teri hagen says:

    Keri, I could have written this post. Except for the shit part. Although my son DID poop in the ball pit at Chuck E. Cheese once.
    I think it is necessary to recognize the signs. However subtle. And I’m glad you did. Love you and I missed your writings.

    Teri Hagen

  21. Hannah Blackerby says:

    So happy your fog has lifted.

  22. Amanda Roscoe says:

    Thankyou for sharing. It is a hard thing to admit that something might be wrong and even harder sometimes to take the first step in figuring out what it is and how we might fix it. The hole we fall into gets mighty comfortable and hey netflix makes it bearable!
    My depression didn’t come from medication(like yours) and it is something I struggle with daily and have for the last decade(and I’m not on meds as I flat out refuse to do take anything). Not one of my friends even realises how I feel on the inside I don’t think. We get good at putting up fronts (and then wonder why no one notices).
    I’m glad that for you, a simple fix was enough to get you up outta that hole & singing for all that it’s worth. Enjoy the sunshine & know that your kids are happy(as if they would ever admit that though!) to have their car singing mummy back… even if they didn’t realise she was gone.

    • RobinG says:

      I don’t take medication either–I would, but my body won’t tolerate them. I’ve had wonderful success with a homeopathic doctor and a nutritional therapist (not a dietician). Taking white sugar and white flour completely out of my diet has changed my world.

  23. Leslie Tombleson says:

    Thank you…

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