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    By Amy and Bernadette

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When there’s nothing you can say.

Depression and anxiety can manifest themselves in so many ways it can be hard to keep track. But I was hit with one of those manifestations over the weekend, and knew it for what it was immediately.

What did it look like?

Let’s see if I can come up with enough negative adjectives to paint a picture of what I experienced in my husband in this situation: Cranky, cruel, critical, hateful, mean, selfish, unfeeling. How’s that?

Nothing earth-shattering was happening. My mom had come to visit overnight. The Husband had been working on his mother’s tax return all day (never a good omen). Our daughter and I prepared an excellent meal. The Husband came downstairs (late) for dinner.

Every word out of his mouth was unpleasant. A scowl was permanently attached to his face. He criticized just about every aspect of the meal. It was impossible to ignore, and made for a very uncomfortable dinner hour.

And there was absolutely nothing I could do.

I know from past experience that any mention of his negativity would have created an even uglier scene. I might have just gotten up from the table and made myself scarce, but couldn’t bring myself to abandon my mother and daughter.

I was hurt. And I don’t like feeling silenced and helpless.

So far I haven’t even been able to bring it up to him in retrospect. He’s still wrestling with the taxes and the resulting depression and anxiety. And while his demeanor has improved (having taken a break from the annual task yesterday), any mention of his behavior during that dinner will send him in to a tailspin. I know. From LONG experience.

I ask myself why I put up with this crap. A large part of the answer is that the ugliness my husband sometimes displays is not who he really is. When he’s not under attack from his diagnoses, he’s generous, kind, thoughtful, and loving.

But it’s extremely difficult to remember who he really is when depression and anxiety take over.

-Amy

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Empty, Lost and Depressed

gas tank

The tears were waiting on the rim of her eyes.  She was going through the motions of her job, talking with co-workers, and trying to be positive about what was going on around her.  And the tears waited.

When she arrived at home, the dull ache inside her continued.  She tried to be responsive to her husband, to care for her three year old, but again, only the motions were present.  She was somewhere else.  And the tears waited.

And in bed that night, the tears finally spilled over, wetting her pillow, choking her throat.   She had “lost” her baby and she felt responsible.  What could she have done to prevent this tragedy?  Wasn’t she as mother responsible for the baby, even if it had barely started growing inside her?  Somehow she had failed her child.  And depression was rapidly overtaking her.

We’ve learned a lot about post partum depression – how important it is to support the wife or husband suffering through it, how vital it is to make sure professional help is given, and how necessary it is for those who surround the person with depression to give support and understanding.  Unfortunately, we have never applied those rules of post partum depression to those women who suffer miscarriages.

We instead talk about the person “losing” the baby.  We say that “you can always try again” or “there was probably something wrong with the baby” and “it is all for a good reason.”  How hollow those must sound to someone dealing with a miscarriage.

Generally, for most women, miscarriage is difficult, grieving occurs, but they are able to get on with their lives.  For a portion of women, however, miscarriage is the trigger for depression, a depression that is often overlooked or pooh poohed as not being all that important because “you can always try again.”

These women have “lost” their babies.  Let’s not fail them and lose them to depression.

A Caregiver’s Lament

Okay, I will start with saying that this probably has a lot of baggage with it – growing up as the youngest in a family of eight, having a disabled and depressed father, a mother who worked and took care of said father, being not noticed despite whatever I did good or bad – a lot of baggage,

BUT…..

None of that helps with my present feelings, namely feeling unappreciated, not chosen, and taken for granted.  I know this is the lot of caregivers world wide but does it have to be?

I spend a lot of time helping people, listening to their challenges, trying to be understanding of the pulls on people from so many places, and in general just trying to be there for them.  Therefore, when I express a need or suggest something that I would really want to do, why is it that I am met with reasons why they can’t meet that need or obstacles that keep what I really want to do from happening?

I am a caregiver.  I give of my time freely.  I love the people I have to care for.  I understand where they are and I am generally accepting of things, gently but surely helping them to recognize the things they need to in order to progress.  I am, however, also a person.  I need to be recognized.  I need people to care about me.   I need someone to take me in their arms and tell me that they understand the challenges of caregiving.  I need to be chosen – to be the one asked out for coffee not the one doing the asking, to be the one invited to dinner, not the one entertaining.  I need to be chosen – to be the one you want to spend time with, to be the special friend.  Is that asking too much?

I guess so. So Mohammed will continue to go to the mountain and hope that someday the mountain will come to Mohammed.

– Bernadette