Thursday, September 25, 2008

Under Pressure

Seven years ago, I received a call from my mom that a friend of mine had died in a car wreck. I was stunned. For the next week I walked about in a daze seeing life through a different set of lenses. As I looked around me, I realized that some things I had deemed important in this life really weren't that important.

Six months ago my daughter confided to me that she had been depressed for quite some time. Though I went through the necessary steps to get help for her, I was in denial. I was sure that it was just a hormonal know, part of growing up....and that everything would be better soon. Reality set in the day I found myself holding a bottle of Prozac in my hand and listening to the pharmacist on the other side of the counter counsel me about the possible side effects of the medication. I don't think I'll ever forget the drive home. On the outside I forced myself to stay calm for my daughter's sake, but on the inside I was shaken. How had this happened? In the space of one year, both of my oldest girls had experienced major events in their lives that no parent would ever wish for their children. Over and over again I pondered what part I had played in bringing us to this point. By the time we pulled in the driveway, I again found myself looking at life through a different set of lenses.

The changes that came about in my oldest child's life were easier for me to deal with. It was something I was familiar with and I knew it would have a definite end. I knew how to help her. But with my younger daughter's depression I feel like I'm in a dark tunnel trying to feel my way out. I want SO much to help her, but I'm not sure how. And like a dark tunnel, I cannot see if the end is close or far away. There is no way to tell. At times I think we are making great strides, and then I stumble on an unexpected obstacle and I realize that we haven't come as far as I had naively imagined. And when I stumble, I realize how tired I am. I try to stay strong for my daughter, but there are days that I falter.

A few days ago, I experienced an unexpected obstacle along the path. My daughter let me know that her medication was actually making her have more frequent bouts with the depression. There was a flurry of communication between the psychologist, the pediatrician, his nurse, and me. In what felt like the blink of an eye, we found ourselves in the pharmacy with a new prescription in hand.

Interestingly enough,it is almost always after one of these unexpected bumps in the road that I remember that I need to put my new lenses back on. Tonight I did just that and I was reminded of what I learned after my friend died....some things are more important than others and those are the things that I should focus on.


Eldon and Janeil Olsen said...

I think it's great you could express yourself like that and those of us who have children with depression problems can really relate. Treating this is more of an art than a science and I'm afraid there has to be some experimentation with medication. I'm going through that with my blood pressure medication. I'm starting to think the new one I started a few months back is the cause of my awful coughing.

The important thing is that you are getting treatment and that experts are trying to help her. She may grow out of it or it may be a life long challenge for her.

I know we're sent to earth to see how we'll deal with the challenges. But Heavenly Father didn't mean for us to be blind here nor rudderless. There is help a prayer away. He loves you and your daughters and will send help as you ask for it.



darkfire said...

It could ALWAYS be worse. Just go read that book. Anyway, we love you.

sheryl said...

It's so hard to see someone you love suffer and not know how to help them. I think it's so great that she is able to recognize and communicate with you how the medication is affecting her. We have also tried different medications and doses. Right now LexiPro and Yaz (for hormones) seem to be helping. It takes time to get things dialed in.

Back in January I was drowning and feeling very helpless and hopeless. I did some counseling alone and with my daughter because we weren't communicating and I didn't know how to help her. The therapist gave me some good counsel as a parent to put into practice. (I still check in with therapist occasionally).

What has helped me the most is attending a weekly 12-step class. "I can't; God can; I think I'll let him." I learned I can't fix her problems. Hope and healing comes from atonement of the master physician. That program has saved my sanity and my soul. She hasn't changed, but I now have the ability to love and support her unconditionally with hope and not despair. See D&C 121:6-7

Please take comfort in the fact that you are not alone and we are praying for you and daughter.

brenda said...

Wow, you have been dealing with so much.

I was so terrified of the pharmaceutical rollercoaster that I waited years to seek help for myself. It can take so long to find the right medication at the right dose. So frustrating and even scarier if it's your child (rather than yourself or spouse). Maybe getting in on the research of different treatments would help you feel more included/empowered (although I bet you're doing that).

I've been praying for you guys. It's such a blessing that it's been identified. It really is. That might save her from the desire to "self-medicate" down the road, as others before her have done.

darkfire said...

Mom, I think what you really need is to work on feeling free to tell people what you think, and more importantly what you need. There are so many people who want to help. If they can help, DON'T be afraid to tell them how. If what you really need is space, then go ahead and tell everyone. Don't worry about hurting others' feelings as much as you do. Those who are offended easily are usually not worth their salt. Most people do their best to be understanding, even when we are hard to get along with. Those are our true friends. (I should know, remember, I was a pain). So just go ahead and tell people to leave you alone and give you space if that is what you need. It will only make the situation worse if you don't. We wont disown you for it.