The lessons of depression
Growing up, I nicknamed my mom 'the Dragon Lady'. She had a strong personality. I used to think she was bossy or mean. After living at home for many years to help care for my dad, I came to realize that mom was passionate, passionate about the way she worked, about her family and life in general. I was a teen when she had her first bout with major depression. It was the start of a never-ending battle that we still fight. Over the years and through many types of treatments, mom's personality has shifted. She has become more childlike, and dependent. Some days she is so sweet, other days she can be very demanding. Dad has seen her through much, but now he faces his own end of life treatments. I once again find myself moved in with my folks. I have accepted that this time it's for the long haul. It's so hard to watch your loved ones suffer debilitating illness. While mom is a different person now, sometimes the old 'dragon' peaks through and makes me smile. I have siblings but they have kept a distance from the depression war. They do not understand what the disease has done to mom. When the illness 'speaks,' they often take it personally. I don't hold it against them, but it would be great to have their support some days. Both my brother and sister have families of their own, so I know they are busy. I try not to be resentful of all I have given up to be a caregiver. I will say for the most part it was a choice that I would not change. While I experience sadness, stress, frustrations, I also share a unique relationship with my folks based on trust and understanding. I have started compiling my experiences for a book someday. It's such a personal story, but I believe that these could give insights to others who also battle on. I am so grateful that 'love bears all things." I have learned so much and am learning still.