depression

I’m Tired of Missing Out on Things Because of My Depression

alone

And then there was that time I had to bow out of a women’s retreat with my synagogue because of my treatments for depression. I had ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) scheduled for the day I was supposed to leave on this retreat, and the aftermath of the treatment consists of fatigue, headaches, and nausea. I would not be in good shape to be “on” and open to getting to know other women. I cried when I realized I would not be able to attend, and I chickened out of calling my friend (the rabbi) to tell her and texted her instead. I had looked forward to this retreat for so many months, to be there with my rabbi’s first big event post (her) cancer treatment, so it was quite a letdown to have to walk away.

I was looking forward to meeting other women of various ages, praying together and learning together. I was looking forward to learning different tunes to prayers I know so well and learning not only about others, but learning about myself—you know, those things we learn when we are thrust into a situation where we must be present and by doing so we gain something that is indescribable. This is what I was excited about and what drove me to sign up to be a part of this experience. It was too bad for me that I was unable to attend.

READ: Sarah Silverman Opens Up About Her Battle With Depression

When I suffered a year and a half ago from depression and underwent ECT, it worked rather quickly. This round seems to be taking more time. I am more frustrated with the process and more afraid. This is why I am opting for the ECT instead of the retreat. This is why I will go see my therapist this weekend (she graciously offered a time over the weekend due to my busy ECT schedule). I need to take care of myself and accepting help from others is a key part of this process.

So what am I choosing here? Me or my health? Certainly if I attended the retreat I would benefit spiritually, religiously, and personally, but to what extent based on my limited cognitive functioning due to the depression? This is the unknown, and yet I think that the one thing I am clear about is my limited cognition. I know that my depression must lift before I can take on any sort of learning and processing, either as an individual or as part of a group. And if I am going to be a responsible group member, I need to take responsibility for myself.

READ: Managing Motherhood & Depression Means Asking For Help

What’s difficult is that my illness is robbing me of not just my solid cognition, but something else—that ability to be a part of a group of strong women who are intelligent and willing to give.

What can I do to make myself feel better about my situation this weekend? I have no choice but to take care of myself: have ECT, see my therapist, and have a date night with my husband. Date night is a big deal as we have not had one in months and to say we need one is an understatement. I know there will be other opportunities to join my community of amazing women, and the best I can do for them is to get well now. I want to be ready for the next event or retreat where I will be an active participant with much to offer.

READ: Electroconvulsive Therapy Saved My Life & Helped Me Be Myself Again

This is just another situation where I feel sad and at a loss, but I will certainly overcome this, just as I will overcome this horrible depression.

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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