Depression Hits When You Least Need It

McLoughlin: Well … me calling in — I was at Lake George and I was saying to … I think I know if I'm ever going to die. I would just swim off the dock and see how far I could … Just bizarre kinds of things that — that aren't part of normal speech or thought for me.

McLoughlin's empty nest brought on a serious situational depression. For Kaplan, it was an addition to the nest.

Kaplan: I just felt like this disconnect. The days that I was feeling really bad — just felt like I was in a black hole. He would be crying, and I would just sometimes leave him in his crib and just let him cry. And I'd be crying myself, like, "Just make him stop. Make him stop." And you just feel really alone and very ashamed.

Woodruff said she set her bias aside her bias against antidepressants after Bob's neurotherapist, Mary Hibbard, explained that she had run out of steam, and those feelings of anxiety weren't going to just go away. She pointed out that Bob really needed support, but in her current state Woodruff had nothing left to give.

So she agreed to medication, and she soon felt it working.

Woodruff: What I felt, after they started working, was completely like myself again. I felt like the "old" Lee.

I just felt like there was a floor for me, beyond which I couldn't go. Almost — I describe it almost like a trampoline … It would give a little bit. I would feel myself getting sad, or worried, or "What's going to become of us as a family? How's Bob gonna recover?" But it would stop me, somewhere in there.

It wasn't like I was sitting around, driving and feeling like, "Uh, life is grand." I just felt able to get up, make the lunches — do the dishwasher, you know, do all of those routine things that had so bogged me down, that felt like such responsibility on the heels of care giving Bob and all that that meant.

McLoughlin faced a similar situation, and her health returned as she began taking antidepressants.

McLoughlin: I would see people I would know and talk to them and say, "Oh, don't pay attention to the tears that are coming down my face. They don't mean anything." But I couldn't control any of it. Somebody said, "You need to go see someone." And, like you, I went on an antidepressants. And it was night and day. Other than the few things we've talked about with feeling like a couple of pounds have come along with it. Honestly, it's been like a miracle for me.

For me talking about where I am today, telling people who seem to want to know about the medication and — and what it did feels good. It's taking away the shame. And it's, it's also taking the secret away.

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