Monday, September 20, 2010

Depression and Me

Being sad occassionally, is normal. Crying is normal. But being and and crying all the time, is not normal. I suffer from anxiety and depression. I was diagnosed back in 1998. At the time, I was so bad that I stopped working, I stopped driving, I refused to leave my house unless I was accompanied by my sister. I clung to her for dear life. I used to be afraid to be alone, so I would make her stay with me and follow her around like a little puppy. This lasted about six months. Finally, at the desperation of my mother, I sought medical help. I found a therapist who I felt comfortable with and she quickly put me on anti-depressants and anxiety medication. Life got a little better after that. I worked very hard at finding my way back. And I did, find my way back again. But the thing with depression that many people do not know or refuse to accept, is that you can't just get "cured". It's not something like when you get a headache and you take a pill or two and then it disappears. -I wish it could be that simple! I can see the look of exasperation on my family and my friends' faces when I am struggling with an "episode". (That's what I call them: Episodes) I can almost hear them saying, "Just get over it already!" Again, I wish it was that simple. I'm very good at masking my emotions and pretending all is well, sometimes, I'm so good, I even convince myself. And honestly, I've not had an episode in years! That is, until last month. I've been going through a lot of changes in my life, some major, some trivial, and there have been a lot of collosal family issues and emotions to deal with. I guess all of those problems finally caught up with me. I haven't felt this sad or this out of control in a very long time.

Sigh, this is an exhausting and frightening disease. It's chronic and if not treated, it can debilitate you or worse. Because I know the drill and the repercussions if I don't follow the drill, I called my therapist and made an appointment to see her. My visits with her are once every six months or so. Since I had been doing so well, I have not seen her in over a year! Oh I still take my meds, and work-out and for the most part, am fine. Its just that the past month and a half have been not so great for me -as I said earlier. I'm getting on my own nerves, I can only imagine how much havoc I'm reaping on my family and my friends. Which is why it's time for action.

What's weird is, I'm smiling on the outside but on the inside, I'm crying uncontrollably.

Definitely not the way I wanted to start off my week! But I needed to write this if for no other reason, than for me to to acknowdege my situation and get ready to fight "the battle" again. I see this as part of the process of healing and changing my life.

Sadness engulfs me.
Casts it's shadow over me.
I fight daily to free myself of it's grasp!
Sometimes, I'm lucky and am able to escape
yet other times, I am helpless, defeated, and I give in to it's hold on me.

This isn't a pity party, it's just my truth.

5 comments:

Belle said...

It is my truth too. I call them break-downs. I left my home a few years ago and stayed at my sister's place for two months. When I came back, I still couldn't stay home and went to live with my mother for a few weeks. This was during a time of terrible trouble with our grandson and also personal issues with myself. We were all trying to help my grandson, and he did come out of it and is well now. But it just became too much for me on top of my regular depression that I have had since childhood.

Every time I try to enter society by working or socializing, i get sick. I have finally given up trying and stay home and don't look for jobs any more. I am much happier doing this. I also hate upsetting my family with things, but I have been so sick they do understand and warn me when I am starting to go downhill. We all watch for the signs.

The only thing that has brought relief and happiness to my days has been doing what Joyce Meyer writes about. And now I am bringing up religion and God, and if you don't want me to do that I understand and just stop reading the next paragraph and that is fine.
Joyce Meyer says to find some verses in the Bible that will help you with your problems. Then when you feel sad, like first thing in the morning, you say the verses out loud. This has made a huge difference in my feelings of depression. I start to smile and just feel better the whole day long.
I won't say anything more now about God except that he loves you and will help you if you ask.

I am always helped by therapy. I am not cured but much better. I no longer want to run away from home - and that is a big breakthrough for me. I am happy and content with my life just as it is, and that is great too.
A therapist gave me a book once on how feelings always follow thoughts, so if we learn to think differently - more positively, we can overcome depression. He says that just because a thought comes into our mind, we don't have to dwell on it, we can choose to think of something else. This is similar to quoting happy Bible verses I guess.
I look on my illness like a person who has a physical disability. I am not ashamed of having a mental illness. It isn't my fault at all as far as I can see. My father abused me when I was little, so if it is anyone's fault it is his. Also, some people are perhaps just born with problems.
I am sure you will feel better after talking with your therapist. It will take awhile maybe, but I just know you will get better. I will be thinking of and praying for you as I have since the day I first talked with you.
Sorry this is so long. Love, Belle

Belle said...

It is my truth too. I call them break-downs. I left my home a few years ago and stayed at my sister's place for two months. When I came back, I still couldn't stay home and went to live with my mother for a few weeks. This was during a time of terrible trouble with our grandson and also personal issues with myself. We were all trying to help my grandson, and he did come out of it and is well now. But it just became too much for me on top of my regular depression that I have had since childhood.

Every time I try to enter society by working or socializing, i get sick. I have finally given up trying and stay home and don't look for jobs any more. I am much happier doing this. I also hate upsetting my family with things, but I have been so sick they do understand and warn me when I am starting to go downhill. We all watch for the signs.

The only thing that has brought relief and happiness to my days has been doing what Joyce Meyer writes about. And now I am bringing up religion and God, and if you don't want me to do that I understand and just stop reading the next paragraph and that is fine.
Joyce Meyer says to find some verses in the Bible that will help you with your problems. Then when you feel sad, like first thing in the morning, you say the verses out loud. This has made a huge difference in my feelings of depression. I start to smile and just feel better the whole day long.
I won't say anything more now about God except that he loves you and will help you if you ask.

I am always helped by therapy. I am not cured but much better. I no longer want to run away from home - and that is a big breakthrough for me. I am happy and content with my life just as it is, and that is great too.
A therapist gave me a book once on how feelings always follow thoughts, so if we learn to think differently - more positively, we can overcome depression. He says that just because a thought comes into our mind, we don't have to dwell on it, we can choose to think of something else. This is similar to quoting happy Bible verses I guess.
I look on my illness like a person who has a physical disability. I am not ashamed of having a mental illness. It isn't my fault at all as far as I can see. My father abused me when I was little, so if it is anyone's fault it is his. Also, some people are perhaps just born with problems.
I am sure you will feel better after talking with your therapist. It will take awhile maybe, but I just know you will get better. I will be thinking of and praying for you as I have since the day I first talked with you.
Sorry this is so long. Love, Belle

Shady Del Knight said...

I have suffered bouts of depression my entire life, some severe and debilitating. A general malaise is my normal state.

One of the things that you wrote jumped out at me immediately. You wrote: << sometimes, I'm so good, I even convince myself. >> Please know that what I am about to tell you is straight out of the Tony Robbins play book and I am not trying to offer a simplistic solution to complex issues; yet your comment holds the key to bouncing back when things get particularly bad. The principles involved have worked for me time and time again. Truth is you actually can "convince yourself" to feel better by changing your body language and physiology. We all tend to slouch and hang our heads when we're depressed. Ask yourself these questions. How would I sit or stand if I was ecstatic? How would I walk? How would I talk? What expression would I have on my face? If you smile and keep smiling long enough your other-than-conscious mind gets the message that you are happy and you start to experience happiness. If you stand and walk boldly and confidently like a champion who has just won a gold medal your subconscious picks up on that signal and your mood swings back to the positive side of the spectrum. When I find myself getting depressed, I fight fire with fire. I immediately start playing my favorite and most empowering songs. I play them loud so that they drown out my unresourceful internal dialogue. In a matter of seconds I can turn my mood around and find myself singing and dancing and feeling like a winner again. These NLP tools and techniques work and work quickly if you believe they do and remember to use them. It's great knowing that you can run your brain instead of letting it run you.

You have a strong support system, Yvonne, a network of family and friends who really care about you (including me). That in itself is reason to rejoice.

ISRAEL CARRASCO said...

Yvonne, I know how it is. I'm going through and "episode" right now which is why I left my town for a little while. I hope the book I recommended help. I my recommendation didn't come off as a cure because depression is life long and I know what you mean when people that don't have it think that you can switch it on or off. I like the previous post's advice about using a Bible verse to focus on that. Whatever works for you do it. God knows I need help myself. One good thing about expressing these thoughts is to know that there are others out there that experience similar angst. And many that are prone to depression can offer alternatives. Depression sucks. I hope you feel better. I'm going to play poker at the casino to try to feel better. Hope I win!

Yvonne said...

Belle- I never mind when God is brought into a conversation. But I know you were just trying to be prudent and I appreciate that. Thank you for sharing your stories with your bout with this disease. I am very fortunate to have found you! :)

Shady - Believe it or not, I have read Tony Robbins' book several times. I believe in the whole "walk like a champion, think like a champion" mentality, but sometimes, it's impossible to muster up even a morsel of "positive". -At least for me. Thanks for your encouragement and for your kind words.

Israel- You are right in saying that by expressing my feelings and gettting feedback from people who actually know exactly what I am going through helps tremendously. It's a great outlet! And yes, your book recommendation is helping. I'm not done with it yet. I hope your "episode" is short-lived and you bounce back real soon! Thank you for your kind words. Now go out and win BIG MONEY!!!!! :)