I'm having a lot of difficulty making sense of all of this, therefore I find it hard to write. My friend who recently had a spinal surgery had asked if I would write about the negative emotions and depression associated with these major surgeries. I had tried several times, but always abandoned it. I'm not sure who would want to read it, I always thought. Today I'm having a very tough time. I'll try to find the words.
There are many kinds of depression. Chronic and acute readily come to mind, but there is also situational and clinical. This link helps describe some the the differences.
The situation I'm in, and many people find themselves in, is what can cause situational depression. That is, there has been a change in your life that has become difficult to deal with. The changes are not welcome and disrupt the normal flow of your life. Adapting to change that you likely didn't initiate, has negative implications and takes some serious support to get through. A sense of defeat can creep in and settle in if you're not careful.
Consider my friend who had suggested I write about this. A normal university student going through life with all its demands, and adventures suddenly struck down with an illness or injury, life stops. At least life as you knew it stops. It is hard to be a part of a young vibrant group when back pain is crippling you. People around you are often shocked, understanding and helpful, for awhile then they get on with their lives. Some have a select few who hang around and support for the long haul. It literally takes your life as you know it from you. There are bits and pieces you grasp onto, but the main focus of your existence has become your pain. That causes a sense of loss and grief and more often than not, depression. Medication often prescribed for said injury or illness can also be adding to depression. Having a sense that your life is out of control can make you feel alone and different than your peers; and that you feel you no longer fit in. Every event, every celebration and gathering has you feeling a sense of loss and sometimes even grief for the person you used to be.
All the while your emotions are going through all of these ups and downs, you may be dealing with a frustrating medical system that doesn't always work as fast as we would like it. Many chronic pain sufferers do not sleep well. I've just described a recipe for a serious, chronic, depression.
Depression is not the blues. It is not a day of not feeling well, it is a serious lost of interest in life, coupled with a profound sadness. If you or someone close to you seems depressed talk about it, educate yourself and most importantly get help. This link is may help.
As far as I'm concerned, I have worked very hard to deal with my loss and to this point, not fall into a depression. My strategies are varied but always include having supportive people around me. I love to have happy people in my life who are not falsely positive or add pressure to "look on the bright side" but those who truly care. Those same people have had me at their side when they have needed support.
There have been many times that I have been mildly depressed throughout this process; but I have worked hard to recognize it, and stay ahead of it. Thankfully I have been able to do that but for many people depression is a very real part of illness and pain. The best support you can give at a time like that is to be there; offering whatever you can, to make the life of the person dealing with depression a little easier. Counselling, talking to a doctor and getting out in the world in whatever capacity they can will help.
We have a lot ahead of us once again. Last evening we got a call confirming my MRI for next week, so the ball is rolling. How fast it is rolling, only time will tell. We are working hard to keep over head above water on this rutter-less ship and so far we are both dry.