(Spring-Summer, 2003) -- I have never been a depressed person. I have had sad times, but I get through them. But now, my therapist notices that I am speaking in sweeping generalizations. Example: “I am the biggest loser in the world, and I deserve to be miserable.”
She thinks the depression might be chemical, and she encourages me to ask my doctor about anti-dep.ressants.
I don’t like to take medicine, but this seems necessary to the health and well being of my family. I begin to take a very low dose of an SS.RI (Selective Sero.tonin Re.uptake In.hibitor). After a few weeks, I begin to feel better.
I try to figure out what’s going on in my body. I discover that serotonin is produced during deep sleep. No wonder I’m feeling like crap –- I’ve been getting no REM or deep sleep.
Later in the season, in a message surely meant just for me, my mail carrier hands me the current Adoptive Families magazine that holds a feature article about PADS: Post-Adoption Depression Syndrome. This monster inside me has a name! I am not the only monster in Adoption World!
As I'm working on the physical aspect of the depression, my counselor is helping me with the emotional. She suggests I envision disrupting the adoption.* It's something that's really, really, really, really hard to think about. What kind of a person would do such a thing? Oh yeah. Me, the monster.
What will happen to Reed? I ask, in tears. What about Michele? I cannot go back on my word to her. My counselor tells me that none of that matters: I simply need to decide if I want to parent Reed.
I manage to form a scenario in my head where I disrupt the adoption. In the imagining, I tell Roger I can't parent Reed. I tell the agency and they come for Reed. I weigh this scenario against trusting the process and knowing that this wrinkle will work itself out if I just outlast the monster.
I look hard at my choice about releasing Reed. I realize I HAVE bonded to him. I DO want him in my life. I AM his mom.
I am finally able to break free from the grip of the monster. The freedom of choice, the article on PADS, and the anti-depressants (which I stop taking a year later) bring me back to center. I finally can feel gratitude for all my blessings. And parent Reed wholeheartedly.
* For the record, I don't believe this exercise was actually about disrupting the adoption. It was about getting to the place of choice. My counselor trusted this process when I was unable to. And I'm deeply grateful :-).