I cannot explain all the clinical terms or reasons for depression, but what I can do is explain what it did to me after bypass surgery. The first time I felt this weird feeling of isolation, I was driving in my car. It is a very somber feeling that crashes into you like a wave. You start feeling bummed out, then you ask questions like “Why me?” or “How did I let this happen? What is wrong with me?” Then there is anger, sadness and even crying. I started to question everything and every feeling I was having. It hit me like a tsunami. This did not necessarily begin in the hospital for me, but it can.
There are a million clinical reasons why we get depressed and a ton of statistics to back it up. I don’t follow stats – I just tell it like it is. As I drove in my car alone about 3 months after my procedure, I started to get all bummed out and I could not figure out why. The thoughts in my head were swirling around, all jumbled up. I pulled over to collect my thoughts and started to get upset for no reason. Then I realized what I was feeling and why.
The thoughts I had began with what just happened to me and what I did to my family and can we get past this? Will I ever lead a normal life? My smile left my face and I started to feel bad for myself. Then it hit me: I was suffering from depression. At that point I decided that I would not go to the doctors for more meds, but I would work through this. I started to think of all the positive things in my life. I put back on that smile and realized life goes on, and you have to make the best of the hand you are dealt. Although I chose to work through this problem on my own, if you are severely depressed you should see your doctor.
Now 4 ½ months after my procedure, I still get those feelings. What I do is surround myself with things that make me happy; pictures, videos and even the music sung by my children. This really helps me go on. I am not a professional. I only speak from my heart. If you can’t get out of this funk – call someone or even email me to talk. I have lived and keep on living with this.
One more thing, I have found that watching a sad situation on television can trigger this response as well. You will be sitting there crying like a baby and can’t figure out why. They tell me that this is normal, so I go with it. I laugh about it with my wife or kids and just go on. It is a very weird experience. Keep your head up high and remember this too will pass. And take 1 day at a time. Don’t think too far ahead – think and feel in the moment.