Something you may need to know.

What she wore: Black short-sleeve tee with a lace inset at the top, denim pencil skirt, black flat mules with beading design.   The kids said I looked "gothic."

I promise I’ll do something funny one of these days, but today isn’t the day. 

I have a list next to the computer of blog ideas—just little reminders in case there isn’t any inspiration.  The following topic has been on the list for at least a couple of months—but I could not bring myself to blog about it.  But, as you may know, I’m all about the truth and I’m also a big fan of education.  Maybe this blog will help someone else, or maybe just shed a little light on something relatively unknown.   That’s the only reason I’m putting this out there.


When I was twelve I had my first “major depressive episode.”  I changed schools, and the stress was too much for me at the time.  I spent every night huddled in my bathroom crying and writing in my journal.  My parents were angry at me for my inability to “snap out of it,” but I could not bring myself to stop crying.  When I was sixteen I had a similar “episode”:  I wandered the house in sweatpants and couldn’t bring myself to eat.  If I talked to anyone on the phone, I ended up shouting or crying.  I drove away my friends, and worried my family to no end.  I lost about fifteen pounds.  Eventually, I climbed out of my hole, but it was a slow journey and took a long time. 


It would be easy to say that I suffered from depression—something that many, if not all, Americans will deal with at some point in their lives.  But this easy answer did not satisfy me completely.  If depression is an episode, why couldn’t I shake it?  Why did the negative record player stay with me long after my symptoms had passed?  Why could I remember feelings of melancholy going back almost my entire life? 


When my husband entered the Air Force four years ago, I had to get a comprehensive physical examination including filling out several questionnaires about pre-existing issues.   The doctor casually told me, “you don’t have depression, you have dysthymia”  Huh?   This is a pretty new diagnosis used to differentiate between people like me and the people who can’t get out of bed in the morning.  Simply, dysthymia is low-grade depression that can last months or even years.  You can still have a major episode, but it’s completely separate from the dysthymia.  My spell check doesn’t even recognize the word, but I bet you could name someone with the symptoms if you thought about it.  Dysthymics are functional, but unhappy; they doubt themselves, and people with this diagnosis are at the highest risk of suicide of any of the depressive disorders. 


Knowing what was wrong with me really helped.  Sometimes I need antidepressants, sometimes I don’t, sometimes I need a shoulder to cry on, sometimes I’m OK.  I’m vigilant about my moods and am careful not to slip into my old ways.  I try to value myself even when the record player in my head says not to.  My husband is my biggest cheerleader, but I’ve also had to learn to stick up for myself and not let other people get me down.  I’m not talking about this to get pity, and I know some people hate this kind of talk (Karla).  That’s why I don’t usually say anthing about it. 


I’m mentioning this solely because I think it may help someone else.  Here’s a pretty good internet link if you want more information.  If you think you may suffer from this then please seek some professional help—you have no idea how easy it can be to treat. 




PS: Mr. K’s youngest daughter is sick–please put her in your prayers.




About takedeux

In one summer I had a baby who was hospitalized for five weeks, quit my job, and moved back to my hometown. This blog is about starting over.
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18 Responses to Something you may need to know.

  1. Chipperla says:

    Thank you for visiting my site.  I live in La Place and work in St. Charles Parish. 
    While the full brunt of the storm did not hit St. Charles Parish, we took a a lot of damage.  But, due to our proximity to Jefferson Parish and Orleans Parish, a lot of the evacuees from there came to our Parish. 
    I\’m proud to say that my buses rolled a total of 2,000 hours and evacuated to shelters and much needed medical care close to three thousand residents and evacuees!
    I hope and pray your family did not suffer the devastating loss that so many families did from the breached levees!
    Working in Special Education is a major challenge in its own right.  I admire your dedication to work in Special Ed. 
    People will tell me that they want to major in Special Ed because they can go anywhere in the nation and get a job.  I tell them, "Yes, you can.  But you will earn every penny." 
    As you know, especially if you work an emotionally disturbed class.  They can hit, they can cuss, they can do about anything they want, but since it is related to their disability, all you can do is deny them only ten days a year.  It can get frustrating.  The burn out rate is high in Special Ed. 
    My predecessor, nine years ago, every time Special Ed called, used to say, "Damn Special Ed., what do they want now!" GRIN
    Have a wonderful day.  Thank you for visiting my site.  If your family would like to talk, please share my address with them!  Hurricane season is only a week away.  We are all family!

  2. Caroline says:

    Well wow.  Thank you for your blog on depression and dysthymia.  I don\’t think I\’ve ever heard the word before.  You educated me.  I have been diagnosed with depression, and people with depression have to be a lot stronger than most to get through the day.  It\’s a tender issue — and thank you for speaking of it with grace.  Your honesty, like mine, shines through, and it is beautiful.  Thank you for that.

  3. Kathleen says:

    I have had depression/anxiety for years. I can rememer the feelings as far back as grade school.  When I was in college I went to a counselor – once.  She met the stereotype to a T. Suit, hair in bun, notepad… I didn\’t schedule another appointment.  For years I thought it was normal to feel that way and then I was ashamed of it.  As an adult I have gone to counseling and been on and off of medication.  The description of dythsmia fits me pretty well – especially since I keep on going – even when the going is tough.  I admire your willingness to blog on the subject. I hope it helps some people to realize that they don\’t have to feel this way.  Treatment does help. 
    By the way, I love your blog.  Your writing is fun, funny, touching and though provoking.  Keep it up!

  4. K says:

    thank you for sharing such intimate and personal details about yourself – you will be helping many.
    I think at any given time, more than a few of us will suffer from low-grade depression and for some, severe depression.  I know last year… in September I had hit rock bottom and needed medication because the symptoms were really bad – anxiety – nervousness – insomnia – depression.  Needless to say that I did work through it but it took some time.  I got help – which is important to recognize that you do.
    Again… your post today will help many.  Thank you for sharing.
    Ciao bella,

  5. Dennis says:

    KM this was very interesting.  Your decision to speak up about it is of great merit because many of us need to know.  There is always something to understand about many situations and conditions that we just don\’t have enough information.  So thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  6. Aunt says:

    i really appreciate your courageous, genuine writing.

  7. David says:

    Trust me, I know and it is a really bad place to be in!!

  8. Renee says:

    Ahh Katy…it is often the people we think "have it all" that are most plagued by these types of disorders…I love the way you love to educate people even when you are not at work!
     I had never heard of this either…and I watch Dr. Phil everyday! LOL! Seriously though this is  obviously something that people are very unaware of…lucky for you someone was able to identify your symptoms and help you….before something horrible happened…sometimes just knowing what is wrong with you makes you feel better and not so alone!
    I think everyone probably has experienced some form of depression at one time or another. I would probably be a basket case if it weren\’t for my kids…I have no time to be depressed! Who would keep these boys in line if I didn\’t?? It has been my life\’s work…I have been a mom since I was 19 and I know how important I am to these guys…I wouldn\’t trade it for the world…but I am still sometimes envious of folks like you that went to school and have a career,sorrority sisters and bachlerette weekends…sometimes I feel so left behind…I know there are women who work and go to school and have a family all at the same time… but that was never my style…maybe in ten years or so I will be able to focus on myself for a change…ok this has nothing to do with your blog entry anymore..hehe…all I was getting at is I feel depressed sometimes too!
    Oh yeah …I have an idea for your fashion dictionary…you could describe the different types of skirts…I have an idea what a pencil skirt is but I am not certain…just a suggestion though ..I know you are busy AND you man is coming home SOON!! I am so excited for you!!
    take care

  9. Tracy says:

    Wow, well I am glad you seem to be able to deal with it well!  It\’s amazing to me how many stories I hear about people who have been mis-diagnosed about one thing or the other — I mean years of a doctor saying one thing, and then another doctor finally says something else and finally can help with it.  Sorry to hear about Mr K\’s daughter, I hope she is ok!

  10. KEL says:

    Interesting.  I\’ve never heard of it, however as you mentioned I\’m sure there are many people out there who can relate.  I have a history of depression and suicide in my family and when I ran into my first bout with depression as a teenager it was horrible.   Sometimes the world just gets to us and while we can function in society we can still struggle silently. 

  11. WINDOW LIVE says:

    This was very interesting.  I beleive that is probably me.  Now I am wondering about my daughter.  It is difficult for me to figure it out with her since she is also ADHD and 15 almost 16.  I think I will bring this up in my threrapy session.  Mr. K\’s daughter is now on my prayer list.

  12. Darcy says:

    Hey girl… OMG, I was transfixed (is that a word) with your description of what you went through as a child and teen.  That… THAT is the very thing that I get… It\’s like sometimes it\’s a bit better, but always kind of there… not depression, because I DO get out of bed and function and go on, but the ease to tears or shouting and screaming… a short temper, a feeling of being in a hole and not being able to dig myself out… knowing that I should just be happy for all that I have and can do, but not being able too… all that stuff… and people thinking that you should just \’get it together\’, but you being unable to accommodate that… Girl, you\’ve effectively made it so I don\’t think I\’m crazy!  THANK YOU!  I will look into it further and it\’s always nice to know that you\’re not alone in the world… that there are other people going through the same stuff….
    I\’m so glad I \’know\’ you!

  13. Nora says:

    I think that entry will be helpful to many people. One is probably me.  I\’ll have to check out that link.
    Being a teacher is a hard job (my husband is one too).
    As school ends, a big thank you to all those that are doing it and really care.
    Now I wonder if all those old burn out teachers I knew in high school just cared too much at one point and had to stop or go crazy.
    I probably have 20 typos in this one comment.  Sheesh.  I need to get back to work, break is over. ; )

  14. Jane says:

    Interesting. Sounds like my younger brother Joe. Thanks. Toodles – Jane (PS – nice space!)

  15. Tammy says:

    A lot of people are ignorant about depression and think people do it on purpose for attention.  I do believe that some of it can be brought on by pessimistic thinking habits, but true depression is of chemicals in the brain or bad circumstances happening all at once and not getting adequate care for yourself to deal.

  16. Karen says:

    Great entry, very educational.  I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder a year before my daughter was born and generally I have this low-grade, almost imperceptible depression hanging about me.  I can hide it quite well at work, but take one look at the clutter and disorganization in the rest of my life & it\’s pretty obvious.  I no longer take medication as the cost was becoming an issue (raising a child alone isn\’t cheap), but I don\’t know that they were helping much anyway.  Anywho.  Sorry for rambling.
    Thanks for this entry.

  17. Unknown says:

    perhaps that\’s what i experienced after the affair.  i was medicated until just a month ago on Cipralex (i called them my crazy pills).  Sounds all too familiar.  never thought i could suffer from depression. Apparently, i was wrong.

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