Saturday, May 25, 2013

"Depression is humiliating. It turns intelligent, kind people into zombies who can’t wash a dish or change their socks. It affects the ability to think clearly, to feel anything, to ascribe value to your children, your lifelong passions, your relative good fortune. It scoops out your normal healthy ability to cope with bad days and bad news, and replaces it with an unrecognizable sludge that finds no pleasure, no delight, no point in anything outside of bed. You alienate your friends because you can’t comport yourself socially, you risk your job because you can’t concentrate, you live in moderate squalor because you have no energy to stand up, let alone take out the garbage. You become pathetic and you know it. And you have no capacity to stop the downward plunge. You have no perspective, no emotional reserves, no faith that it will get better. So you feel guilty and ashamed of your inability to deal with life like a regular human, which exacerbates the depression and the isolation. If you’ve never been depressed, thank your lucky stars and back off the folks who take a pill so they can make eye contact with the grocery store cashier. No one on earth would choose the nightmare of depression over an averagely turbulent normal life.

It’s not an incapacity to cope with day to day living in the modern world. It’s an incapacity to function. At all. If you and your loved ones have been spared, every blessing to you. If depression has taken root in you or your loved ones, every blessing to you, too. No one chooses it. No one deserves it. It runs in families, it ruins families. You cannot imagine what it takes to feign normalcy, to show up to work, to make a dentist appointment, to pay bills, to walk your dog, to return library books on time, to keep enough toilet paper on hand, when you are exerting most of your capacity on trying not to kill yourself. Depression is real. Just because you’ve never had it doesn’t make it imaginary. Compassion is also real. And a depressed person may cling desperately to it until they are out of the woods and they may remember your compassion for the rest of their lives as a force greater than their depression. Have a heart. Judge not lest ye be judged."
Depression is not a synonym for being sad or having a bad day/bad week.
It’s not a PHASE. It’s not a CHOICE. It’s not LAZINESS.

This is reposted from Mercurial Girl at Tumblr and had been re-blogged 167,000 times prior to my finding it. 
Looking back it is clear how depression and bi-polar disorder has shaped my life. As a teen, I was left to deal with my mother in her battle with mental illness and at the same time struggled with my own issues.

Mom drove Dad away and he was happy to go as he was restless and unhappy in his own life, and was ready to move on. He knew he was abandoning me, but Mom repeatedly accused him of sexually abusing me that resulted in both a police and child protection investigations. My siblings wanted as little to do with Mom as possible, except for Kenny who preferred to check in by telephone.

Me? I was considered a (almost) model kid. After all I was a good student who didn't do drugs, the fact that I was a pro-typical small town slut was by the measure of our small Christian community, a result of my and my family's moral turpitude rather than evidence that I was in crisis.

My freshman year in college was probably the first normal period that I had since junior high school. I was happy and had friends and lovers that provided normal relationships, and for the first time in some time felt contented.

My sophomore year ended with my sitting on an abandoned railroad trestle dangling my legs over the edge and contemplating throwing myself into the turbulent, rain swollen river. I'd become involved in a power exchange relationship with a much older woman. In truth rather than being a responsible dominant that the BDSM community advocates, she was only interested in abusing me emotionally and physically and I wasn't her first victim. Obviously I walked off that bridge, but my grades as a sophomore precluded any thoughts that I would graduate an honors student.

My remaining college years were uneventful, but arriving in Paris my mental health took a turn for the worse and for several years I battled mood swings and moderately severe depression. Over the last few years I've been "normal," I asked my therapist about this a few months ago and she simply shrugged and said the brain is complicated and that I may enjoy good mental health the rest of my life or it might all come apart.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Art Alexakis (Everclear) wrote a great song about this, Father of Mine. It includes these lines:

I will never be safe
I will never be sane
I will always be weird inside
I will always be lame
Now I am a grown man
With a child of my own
And I swear I'm not going to let her know
All the pain I have known

If you don't know the story, his father abandoned them and the family moved into a minority housing project where "It wasn't easy for me to be a scared white boy in a black neighborhood". His brother died from heroin when Art was 12. His girlfriend committed suicide when she was 15. He tried to kill himself by filling his pockets with weights and jumping off the Santa Monica Pier. He later OD'd and nearly died.

He has his issues. He's been married 3x, filed for bankruptcy but ...

Daddy gave me a name
Then he walked away
Daddy gave me a name
Then he walked away

We all have problems. Some more than others. It's how we deal with them that counts. -M

5:25 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

"We all have problems. Some more than others. It's how we deal with them that counts."

We can whine and complain some about our lot in life, but in the end we need to make changes or adapt.

1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you tried medication for depression.

7:34 PM  
Anonymous VJ said...

Thanks for the timely reminder here Kim. We each have our familial inheritances to deal with and overcome. Some of them just as deadly, if slightly better understood. We've got a new generation of Vets now with PTSD & TBI, with estimates of upwards of a million troops being afflicted. And they're mostly scarcely getting the treatment they need or deserve. And most of them are fully covered for much of it too. It's a crisis everywhere, and a highly costly one on too many measures to count. Which you and many others well understand and come to cope with gradually and as well as you can and might. Cheers & Good Luck, 'VJ'

6:30 AM  

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