living with depression

ptsd

Depression does get that bad that I barely function on a daily basis.  At home I can get away with being like that but when I am out volunteering have had my ‘wobbly’ moments as the people I’m with care.  I simply ‘put on my mask’ and come out with some excuse such as I’m tired but would rather keep busy than go home early.

My minister is good at frustrating the heck out of me at times and over the past couple of days she has done that.  A few of us need to have a meeting and she knows that I’m in the lunch time twice a week – she doesn’t know I do a third one – yet she has insisted that the meeting has to be on Thursday morning of next week.  Now I have been severely depressed for about a year now with very few good days in between. The email sent me into a mini rant of why should I be forced to go in late.  My minister suggested, in the email, that I swapped with another volunteer but there aren’t any other volunteers for the lunch club.  She knows I go in both days and the only other volunteer that I could have asked to cover me goes in on Thursdays anyway.  I have responded and told her all I could do is let them know in the kitchen I would be late.

My minister doesn’t know about my severe depression, P.T.S.D. and I also suffer with O.C.D. (obsessive compulsive disorder) which is usually well managed.  I don’t know what triggered me to suffer with O.C.D. but it started around the time I started suffering with depression.  I suppose, like suicide attempts and self harming, it is a way I can have control of my life.  My husband has got used to it and at least he knows I can put my hands on anything we or I want except for when he decides to tidy up.   At the lunch club the others have got used to me and my O.C.D. so it has become a bit of teasing time when I decide to ‘colour co-ordinate’ the boards we use or getting the drinking glasses in a certain order or start on something else.  Nobody minds as it doesn’t affect my time in the kitchen doing what I should be doing.  I am thankful that I do have lunch clubs to keep my mind occupied as I do believe I would have physically shut down and not just emotionally shut down.  There are two people within the church who know enough about my depression to keep an eye on me and that I trust enough to talk to if needed.  I also know I can trust either they or my husband will ring the crisis team if  I need that support.

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PTSD, or Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, is a psychiatric disorder that can occur following the experience or witnessing of a life-threatening events such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or physical or sexual assault in adult or childhood. Most survivors of trauma return to normal given a little time. However, some people will have stress reactions that do not go away on their own, or may even get worse over time. These individuals may develop PTSD. People who suffer from PTSD often relive the experience through nightmares and flashbacks, have difficulty sleeping, and feel detached or estranged, and these symptoms can be severe enough and last long enough to significantly impair the person’s daily life.

This post is specifically to do with the reason why I suffer with PTSD which is to do with adoption.  It makes sense to explain what adoption has to do with why I suffer with severe depression as well.  I have suffered with depression since I was 12 or 13 years old due verbal abuse which I didn’t realize at the time.   At the time I didn’t understand why I was so sad often nor could I have explained why I was sad.  My life was good, I had friends, there was no need to be sad.  I should have had the courage to speak.  I started having suicidal thoughts occasionally but didn’t act on the thoughts as the one time I tried my mum stopped me drinking a hot drink which she guessed I had put tablets in.

I found out I was pregnant after a long term relationship ended. I kept quiet long enough so that my parents couldn’t try and persuade me to have an abortion. It had crossed my mind once but I couldn’t go through with it as I wanted my baby. I was working so could afford to keep my baby financially as well emotionally wanting to keep him.

When my parents found out they were angry as it was too late for me to have an abortion so they were adamant he was to be adopted. Nothing was discussed nor did I agree with them and they went ahead with making arrangements. The first time I saw a case (social) worker was after I had my son on the 3rd August 1981 and I told her I didn’t want him adopted.  That it was my parents who were adamant about this. She promised to put a stop to the adoption and that she would support my decision. However she did persuade me to let my son go into foster care until I got sorted and not to see him in case I decided adoption was the best option. My one act of defiance was to go and see him in the nursery and to hold him for a while which I have always been glad I did. I was in hospital for about a week as I was ill so asked to see my son again but was told I was too ill to see him.  I left hospital never seeing my son again.

The weeks went by and I still wanted to keep my son but my parents started putting more pressure on me as the case worker had told them how I felt. They used lines like I couldn’t work and look after my son, I couldn’t afford child care, they would make sure I would lose my job, that I would be homeless and that if I was living on the streets my son would be taken away from me. When he was 6 weeks old I was told it was too late to put a stop to the adoption which I naively believed so that was it.

I was suffering with post natal depression which wasn’t treated.  What I didn’trealize was that I was now suffering with severe depression as well.  Over the years I went through cycles of coping, being severely depressed, suicidal (including suicide attempts) and self harming.  I had emotionally shut down so ‘put on a mask’ and was in denial.

For the next 23 years my son wasn’t talked about although I never forgot about him. I got married on the 20th November 1993 although, sadly, we haven’t had any children. In early 1999 I had a falling out with my family. In the August my son started searching for me and found my family quite quickly. However by this time I had moved so they quite honestly told him they didn’t know where I was.

In late 2001 I got back in contact with my parents as I felt it was time to try and bridges as they were elderly and frail. In August 2004 my husband and I thought it would be fun to join Genes Reunited which is a British based site for people researching there family trees. After I had put all the details that I could I realized my details had been entered by my son as he was a member using the names I had given him. I emailed him without a second thought then panicked about it. He responded quite quickly. I was very upset to find out that my parents hadn’t told me that they had contact with him or let him know where I was.

What I didn’t know was I suffer with PTSD due to the trauma of my son being adopted.  It hasn’t helped that I found out my son’s adoption was / is illegal.  I have to live with this as I can’t change the past. My mother died on the 1st April 2011 and I never got an apology from her for her part in my son being adopted.

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