Clouds, clouds everywhere. It is typical in Western New York to feel a little gloomy during the winter. Where is that sun?? It is also typical to feel gloomy when your life enters a transition. Well, there’s gloomy and then there’s something deeper.
Depression isn’t the same for everyone. Why would I be diagnosed as having depression? Hey, I have an amazing life! People may ask what I have to be depressed about. Good question. People don’t always see what’s going on behind the scenes.
This is me being incredibly vulnerable and personal.
There have been 23 months since my last post. My grandson is nearly two now and a granddaughter was born just this month. Since March of 2021, there have been some incredible changes in my life. Some are amazing, some are downright crappy.
It has taken me this long to feel the urge to write. I am still struggling to put to words exactly how I am coping. Throughout the great quarantine of 2020 I accomplished some wonderful things. I found a purpose and I was able to find joy.
In 2021 we all hoped that our lives would become more “normal” and in ways it looked like we were all figuring out the “new normal.” We carried on and pushed through wearing masks and social distancing. All the while my sister and I continued to increase the care for my parents as they aged in place in their home. In 2022 we saw more and more activities returning to the way things were done pre-Covid days. At the same time, it was becoming more and more challenging for my sister and I to provide the quality of care my parents required. But my parents (mostly my father) were stubborn and wanted to remain independent, so we continued to persevere through difficult visits and increasing responsibilities.
Then double whammy. On Easter Sunday, both of my parents were hospitalized for non-life-threatening issues. This started a sequence of events that had my siblings and I place them in a nursing home. Both of my parents have different stages of dementia. It’s a deeply personal circumstance that I cannot really write further about but I’m sure anyone reading this understands how sad and painful this has been for our family.
Eventually we had to sell our parents’ home, my childhood home, the house that held all the memories for our family. There were many discussions on how we could keep the house in our family, but it wasn’t meant to be. Watching all their possessions leaving the house was truly heartbreaking. I do believe all this pushed me into a depression.
Needless to say, 2022 was extremely difficult. In order to try to find joy I turned to the outdoors. In the past the outdoors always brought me great happiness and lifted my spirits. When the outdoors was not bringing me joy, I knew it was bad. I sought out more advanced help from my doctor. Learning that was normal to feel unhappy and heavy-hearted with my parents’ situation helped me to realize that this is something that I will gradually overcome. Some days there is a real struggle to find the desire to do the things I previously enjoyed. Today it is beautiful outside, I should be hiking! But I found myself going back to bed, making an excuse for why I could not possibly go hiking today…. it’s muddy because it rained yesterday. Mud NEVER stopped me before! But yet, here I am looking out the window at the sun shining and getting my words out instead of my boots on.
Someone told me that it is okay to find joy while grieving. Because that is what I am doing. Grieving the life my parents used to enjoy, grieving the loss of the relationship I had with my mom and dad, grieving the loss of their independence, grieving the loss of the life I remember with them. I am also grieving the loss of the person I was before all this occurred.
I am hopeful that I will find complete joy again. For now, I will settle for the joyous moments I find in my life that embrace my heart that pumps the blood to the smile on my face. For those are moments are coming closer and closer together.
If you think you may suffer from depression, I encourage you to seek help from a trusted friend and or a medical professional.