Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Buying Time

Grief is so hard.   I still haven't read a lot about grief because I don't believe that reading about it is necessarily going to help me deal with it, but I do know that there are stages of grief.   I feel like I've skipped the stage of anger, or maybe it's still going to come, but I knew there was a stage of 'depression' when you start to feel intense feelings of sadness and emptiness. 

We believe that this life isn't the end and that I will be together with Aaron and Noah again, but that of course doesn't stop the grief.   I have hope that things will get easier, but know that they will never, ever be the same again. 

 Over the past two years I have been doing all the things that I had been told would help me cope with the enormity of what has happened.   I was going to the gym (even though it felt like I was going to the torture chamber as I didn't enjoy it like I used to) I was trying to eat well; I was getting out; I moved house hoping it would help (it definitely has); we got a dog, I was working with kids that I love, and I was planning things that we could look forward to

Most of all I was praying more than I've ever prayed before, that I could understand why Aaron had to go so soon after Noah, and that I could get through another day without him. 

Somewhere along this journey of grief things changed.  It was a gradual thing that slowly crept up on me but I believe things started to change as I was dealing with a particularly stressful situation that I felt like I couldn't change.  I guess you could say it was the straw that broke the camel's back.  

I went from feeling like I was coping quite well, to feeling like everything was overwhelming me.  I believed that the grief was really starting set in because I had been so busy every day just trying to be strong for the boys, and it was now my turn and it was finally catching up with me.  

Doing all the things I was told to do didn't help.  I didn't feel sad anymore.  I just felt nothing.  I didn't feel anxious anymore.  I just didn't want to do anything.  Things that I once loved to do, I started to avoid.  I was told that going to the gym would be the best thing that I could do, but I would work out and feel like I hadn't done any exercise.  The usual 'gym high' I would feel after working out wasn't there.

My friends would invite me to catch up for lunch, but it was the last thing I wanted to do. It was just too overwhelming to just get out of the house, and I couldn't think of anything worse than having to find the energy to talk.  I knew that my friends would understand and wouldn't expect me to put on a happy face, but I just couldn't find the energy to do it and started telling my friends that I wasn't up to it.  I told them I was fine, I just didn't feel like it.

Since Noah passed away I have experienced 'the fog'.  My mind often felt clouded over, but there were days when the fog had lifted just for a little bit and I felt like I could see through the fog again.  Suddenly the fog was so thick.  I couldn't see past it and I couldn't think clearly. 

I knew that I had so much to do around the house, but I couldn't think clear enough to get things done.  I would start doing something in the kitchen, but would leave it after a minute because I had thought about something else I had to do.    I had started ten jobs or more throughout the day, but hadn't been able to finish any of them.   My house was a mess, but I didn't care anymore. I just didn't have the energy to deal with it - mentally or physically. 

I went from being in control of things, to not wanting to get out of bed and that's exactly what happened.  I had no reason to get out of bed except to get the boys out the door to school, and to cook them tea at night.  They would kiss me goodbye, and then come home and call out to me 'Hi Mum!' as they got home as they knew I would still be in bed.

I finally thought I knew the enormity of grief and thought that this was another stage that I unfortunately had to go through, before the next (and hopefully easier) stage would come.

That stage didn't come.  Things didn't get better. 

At first I was upset with myself.  I wondered why I couldn't fix it myself.  I hoped that by getting out of bed and continuing to go to work, I would snap out of it.   I'm usually a very optimistic person, and have strong beliefs that I will be with Aaron and Noah again and that there has to be a reason as to why it has happened, but even though I believe this, I just felt so empty and tired.  The hope that I once had that things could get better, had gone. 
I am so grateful for lovely professionals who realised that what I was going through was not just a normal stage of grief, but it had actually turned into 'uncomplicated severe depression'.   Uncomplicated meaning that there was a clear reason for the depression, which is usually easier to treat.  It was so severe that diet and exercise did not help at all, which would explain why going to the gym did nothing.  It explained why I couldn't sleep despite being exhausted.  I have family and friends who have suffered from depression.  I always imagined what I thought it was like for them, but I had no idea. I thought they felt sad.  I didn't feel sad.  I just felt nothing. 

It was suggested that I urgently went on medication for severe depression.  I was shocked that I was suffering from depression,  and was particularly shocked that it was so severe that I needed to take medication.  I don't like taking any type of medication if I can avoid it, so I wondered whether it was really necessary that I took medication.

I was told that it would probably help me feel on top of things quite quickly, and that I probably wouldn't need to be on it for long but it would just be 'buying time'.   It wouldn't take away the grief, but it would give me some time to get on top of things again as it would help restore the chemical imbalances in my brain.

I was very blessed to have been put on a medication that worked for me straight away.  Within two days I felt like the old me again.  Not the me before Aaron and Noah passed away, but the me who was still grieving, but felt like getting out of bed.   I felt like doing things again.  My mind was so much clearer and I could get things done without forgetting what I was supposed to be doing.  I could drive again without worrying that I was going to cause an accident.  I looked forward to doing things with the boys again.

I only told a couple of close friends that I had started the medication, because I didn't want people to worry about me.  I guess I am good at putting on a good front, which is often the case with people who are suffering from depression.
After three months of being on medication, I started to wean off it with the advice of my doctor and was so grateful that I still feel 'good' without the medication and still do, even after stopping it a while ago.   
Despite having a blog that is read by many people,  I am actually a pretty private person.  There is a lot that I don't share on here, and I thought for a long time about whether to share anything about this, but I have decided to share what I have gone through because I want to 'keep it real' and hope that by sharing it, it may help someone else, somehow.  
In some ways I feel like I failed myself.  I still wish that I was able to get through this hard period in my life without medication as I kind of feel like I took the easy way out,  but then the rational side of me says that I should be proud that I was able to reach out and ask for help and then to accept it, because I know that there was no way that I could've felt better without taking the medication.
I still don't like taking medication, but I know that there are times when it can help so much and is necessary.  The medication did have side effects, but the benefits far outweighed any side effects that it had. 

Now that I'm off the medication I feel sad every single day, but I am so glad that I feel something again.  I never thought I would say that I'm glad that I can feel sad again.  I'm glad that I can cry again.  I'm glad that I can laugh again.  I'm sure there will be many more tears until I'm with Aaron and Noah again, but I'm grateful that I was able to buy some time to feel on top of things again. 


  1. I'm sorry you had a such a hard time. Depression is hard and misunderstood by most, including ourselves as we suffer through it. Not feeling emotion is one of the strangest experiences. I've been having struggles over the past 2 years with infertility, going from extreme emotion to absolutely numb within a few weeks. Good on you for asking for help. I'm so happy you are feeling more like you again. xoxoxoxo

  2. Thanks for sharing!!! Praying for you and your family!!!!

  3. Thank you for sharing the honesty and reality of your feelings. Speaking as one who suffers depression, when people share how they really feel, it helps others to acknowledge how they feel that that it is okay to say that you have depression. Thank you Lisa.

  4. There is no shame in taking medication for depression if you need it any more than there is shame in taking medication for a heart disease or diabetes. A disease is a disease and needs to be treated as such.Sometimes you just need extra help.I have suffered from crippling depression since I was 13 YRS old ( I'm 46 now) which began when I was bullied in school and carries on thru several other traumas in my life and life just overwhelms me and I have been on medication on and off for YRS.It is something I will always struggle with, sometimes better, other times worse.

  5. Lisa, If you had asthma, would you take your puffer or try to manage through an asthma attack? Depression works the same way and it's not a bad thing to have to have medication to do so. I really, really admire you. I enjoy reading your blog, seeing your boys grow. I feel like I have a connection to you because one day a part of your story is most likely going to be my story too (the losing a child bit...). You handle everything with such grace. I hope that I can do the same. Although you have never met me (and probably won't..unless you ever get to QLD and i might exhibit stalkerish behaviour!!! hahaha) I want you to know that you are loved and supported. You are doing an awesome job. You have such a heavy cross to bear but you do so with such dignity. You make me want to be a better me. xoxoxo

  6. You are so brave. In every way. Including with sharing this on your blog. I am sure you are helping so many people. xxx

  7. Thank you so much for sharing such a personal thing. The things you write about do help others and I am thankful for you to be able to be open about such a topic that's hard for each person. I think of you and your family often. My heart hurts for you. I can only imagine and can't comprehend what it must be like but you are a constant reminder to appreciate the now and the time with those close with us. Thank you. I am still so very sorry for all you have to endure, but you will endure to the end because you know what you want. Hugs! Hope you keep having some better days!

  8. As hard as this was for you to write, it WILL help many. For you to look back on all the sad things that have happened in your life, it must have been very difficult to even seek help. But, you did and it worked! Very cool. You are fortunate that you didn't have to be on the medication for the rest of your life. Am very glad that you are feeling more like yourself now!

  9. Proud of you for seeking help when you needed it. Those boys need you and you have a whole life ahead of you. Continue to be strong and live on knowing that eventually you will be with your hubby once again and he will tell you how proud he was of how you lived and raised your boys. Live for Aaron and Noah!!!

  10. Thank you for sharing - I understand how hard it is. Every depression is different - I have been on medication for 6 months now and I didn't have an absence of feeling but too much - I could not stop crying - over things that were not worth crying over. Mine is brought on by PTSD. I like you have told very few people about it. You are an example to us all.

  11. I remember hearing someone say that sometimes our brains aren't always our friends. Medication can help us be friends again with our brains (or as you said, to get back on top of things). I've been reading your blog for sometime and have never commented before, but I want to let you know that what you share makes a difference to people. It lets them know it's okay to grieve . . . and to be happy . . . and to have emotions all over the place . . . and to take medication if needed. To do what is right for you and for your family is the bravest thing anyone can do. Thanks for your example.

    Sarah from Utah, USA

  12. Thank you for sharing Lisa. I think if more of us shared our experiences as honestly as you have, maybe more people would reach out for help. I remember being shocked when the doctor suggested I go on medication for my severe depression. I was also suffering from anxiety attacks and post traumatic stress. Your story bought back many memories from that time in my life. Even though the gospel can give us hope and a belief in eternity with our loved ones, grief still can wear us down and consume us. I loved the quotes that you shared. Elder Holland's talk at conference was one of my favorites of all time. Thank you again. You are a strong women.

  13. Thank you for sharing. You are so brave. Raising awareness about depression is so important. God bless you and your family. Families are forever.

  14. As a depression sufferer who is still on medication to help me, I know the angst of telling people about it. But I've ALWAYS found the sharing is worth it. Thank you for sharing Lisa and remember, there is a whole cheer squad behind you whenever you need it.

    Michelle from Brisbane xx

  15. You are doing such a great job. It always amazes me how well your boys look, you are obviously caring for them so well, despite grieving.. Thank you for sharing.. I'm sorry that i can't do more to help you. If you ever want a break, you know Gavin and i are happy to take the boys to play footy or to the movies or anything you want - we love hanging out with them, don't hesitate to ask us. Love you heaps xxxx

  16. Thank you for sharing. I am sure that there are people whose situations are similar to yours who feel a sense of freedom that they are not the only ones who have had to use medication to get through a difficult time. I'm glad that you are coping better, even though the grief is still there. At least the love, fun and pleasures of life are real again, too.

  17. Oh Lisa... thank you for sharing such deeply personal feelings. I love and admire you so very much.

  18. Thank you for sharing! You describe the feelings so clearly that it has helped me understand depression so much better. I'm sure this post will help many people in many ways.

  19. You are amazing. Thank you for sharing. I am like you and don't like taking medications. But I guess you could liken this to having an infection of some kind... your body could possibly get over it without medication, but it would go through extra pain etc in the meantime. By taking the medication you are not taking the easy way out you're treating your body of a medical condition. Thank you for your honesty. May you continue to find comfort in Him, your strength constantly amazes me.

  20. Oh, Lisa, my heart aches for you. I know just what you mean about not wanting to do anything and doing things just because you should and not getting any joy of it. I've been down the road of grief since my husband died almost three years ago. He was 72 and died from pancreatic cancer. I miss him every day. I used to wake up in the morning with the feeling of a hole in my gut--I guess we can say that was emptiness. I was sad most of the time, and the second year was harder than the first year after David's death. I've seen a professional and still follow up with her and do take medication. That has certainly helped. I do keep busy, I volunteer at a nursing home, and I am very active in my church. I get out every day unless it is a miserable rainy day and I don't have any special reason to go out. In April, I adopted a tuxedo cat (she's black with a little white under her neck, belly, and paws. This was the best decision I made and she has made my life so much better. She makes me laugh and is so much company. She is someone to come home to and not an empty house. I continue to go to my bereavement group and we've formed a social group called New Friends of the Bereaved. It is a social group for people who have lost someone, either in death or divorce. It isn't a therapy group or a dating group. Just a group of people wanting to get together and socialize. We meet once a month on a Sunday afternoon, and our first meeting was the 13th of October. We had four people come and we are hoping for more. I think it is a great idea, as Sundays are very lonely for me and this helps. Our next meeting, we are going to have a Tai Chi teacher come and in December, a teacher in line-dancing. Should be fun afternoons. Thank you for sharing your story, as I could practically walk the same road as you. I didn't go into a deep depression for which I am very thankful. I'm glad you are enjoying your life again as best you can without your dear Aaron and sweet Noah. Your boys have their Mum back again. Bless you, Lisa, and I'll keep you and your cute little family in my thoughts and prayers. I love the pictures, too. Sending love and hugs from Massachusetts.

  21. You are an amazing woman. Thank you for sharing. I am also the Mum of 4 boys. I think of you often.

  22. You are spot on...thank you for sharing your thoughts on depression. You and your family have been through so much and am proud of you for all you have done. Depression is a very hard thing and something those who haven't had to experience it, don't understand. Keep up the good fight and thank you for your honesty and the great quotes. I love reading your blog and seeing your kids grow and you have a smile on your face more often. Thank you for writing this post. It touched me and was meant to be read by me on this day...things happen for a reason. Thanks Lisa!

  23. Thank you for sharing your experience with depression and being brave enough to be so public with the challenges you have face from it.
    I have recently written my story of depression and have shared this on my blog.


We are so grateful for everyone's love and support, and appreciate your comments xoxo

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