PTSD and Depression: Strange Bedfellows

For the past few days I have been feeling progressively more jumpy, irritable, and triggered by “minor” things like slight changes in my mother’s tone of voice, or “minor” putdowns, expressions of devaluation, etc.  Concurrently, I have been sinking into an episode of major depression complete with suicidal thoughts and plans (don’t worry, I won’t do it: I have promised myself to stick it out, as long as I can).  The whole thing has been complicated by my mother’s birthday, which was yesterday, and the plethora of expectations that go along with that.

Last year was her 85th birthday.  I made her a surprise party, complete with a band and 200 people.  She was very satisfied with that.  Then, come to find out (I don’t know how), her birth date turns out to be wrong and she’s really 85 this year.  I told her, if you think I’m going to do that again for you, you’d better have another think, because I’m still tired from last year.

Last night we were supposed to go out to dinner, which is always stressful for me because I only eat kosher food and my parents always get upset if I don’t eat, even though it’s been that way for eight years already (there are no kosher restaurants in Western North Carolina).  Lucky for me, there was a pea-soup fog and no chance of driving anywhere, so I got off the hook and had a rain-check until tonight.

Meanwhile, my anxiety, depression, hypervigilance, and out-of-control anger was building.  I took my meds at 8:30 last night and was asleep by 9.  I took an extra 25 mg. of Seraquel, at my doctor’s suggestion, and it knocked me out.  I slept until 11:30 this morning, and woke up feeling as if I hadn’t slept at all.

I usually call my mother at 11 am to check in with her and see how my father’s night had gone (he often falls at night), but today I couldn’t muster the strength to do it until around 2.  She said she’d wondered what had happened to me (although it would never occur to her to call), and said something sarcastic, a cheap shot which I blotted out immediately, but it still put me into a blind rage that only subsided when I told her I wasn’t feeling well and she said, well in that case you should stay home tonight.

I really question my sanity (hah!) at coming back here from my beloved Israel to help my parents.  My therapist tells me over and over that it’s life-threateningly detrimental to my health to be here.  I’m sure she’s right, and yet I can’t bring myself to leave my dear old father, who gets more demented day by day.  The only way I keep myself even marginally right-side-up is by reminding myself that I have an unbreakable agreement with myself that as soon as he leaves this life I am back home in Israel, period, new paragraph.  My mother has a huge and very supportive social network that will gladly take care of her.

In the meantime I don’t quite know what to do with this awful perfect storm of PTSD and depression triggers.  I’m taking more meds.  I’m gaining weight because of the meds.  I feel shitty about that. I do need to exercise more: maybe that is the key.  I just have to find ways of staying alive, is all.

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  1. Good for you for sticking with your father!! Good for you for the boundary you’ve set for the future by knowing you’ll leave behind the most harmful person to your soul and therefore also to your body!! I’m proud of you for making these decisions!!

    Keeping you in my prayers!!

  2. It sounds like a really chaotic situation for your heart and mind. Writing helps me make some sense of it all – or at least to try to pinpoint what is most pressing. When I’m able to exercise, it helps more than anything. I know that, yet it remains one of the most difficult things for me to do. I hope you can find a way to give yourself credit for what you do achieve in a given day – even a given moment 🙂 Every moment you imagined you couldn’t survive before you’ve made it through so far…

  3. Do you think our mothers know eachother?! Your description of your relationship with your Mother was very recognisable for me. And painfully sharp. Don’t worry, although we live in the same town we won’t be seeing eachother til the end of the month. And that whole keeping kosher stuff? Don’t get me started! Just thinking about this stuff can set my mood spiralling. But I am glad you wrote about it. I’m thinking of you.

    • Nic, it seems to me that our mothers are identical twins, separated at birth LOL!!!! Take good care of yourself. Glad you have the option of only seeing the mum-ster every so often.


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