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Sunday, January 23, 2011

On Depression

One of my favorite sock knitters (though she’s never knitted a pair for me! *pout*) Wrote a little about depression recently and it really hit home.

The thing is, if you’ve never experienced depression, true depression, then you haven’t the faintest idea what the big deal is.  Everyone has felt sad or mad or frustrated or disappointed.  Everyone has had, well, let’s call it “the blues”, but it’s not the same as the dark, overwhelming, perception changing state that is depression.

Depression is like a best that whispers lies.  It threads its way through every fear, every anxiety, every insecurity and then yanks - hard - and tells you those things are truths - the only truths.  If something bad happens, it’s because yes, yes you are stupid.  If someone is rude to you or mean or angry, it’s your fault, clearly.  Worse, even things that should bring you joy, do not.  Even things you used to love or appreciate are faded and hard to acknowledge.  As Andrea once mentioned, when you have depression, all the color in life is washed out.  It fades away until all you see, all you feel, all you know, is gray. 

Depression can also leave you paranoid, especially if your natural insecurities and fears lie in that direction.  You think people are talking about you behind your back.  You feel like people are intentionally trying to ruin your day or break your spirit.  Even when you can stop long enough to reason that this couldn’t possibly be true, the dark voice of depression hisses, “Yesss… yess it is. Everyone hates you.  You’re worthless and that’s why they can’t stand you.”

There are other flavors of depression.  The worst is where you’re so.very.tired. all of the time.  You find comfort in sleeping.  Sort of.  But even sleep isn’t pleasant and refreshing, it’s just an escape.  Maybe you find comfort in eating.  But it’s not that you feel satisfied and full after eating, you just feel like for a brief moment, you’ve held the beast at bay.  You want to care.  You try to go through the motions of “normal”.  You get up, you brush your teeth, you do your hair - sort of - you offer a half smile to your kids as you half-heartedly pour cereal into their bowls.  You mumble placating statements to your spouse, “Yes, yes, I’m fine. Have a nice day.  See you when you get home,” but all the while you keep thinking that if this is all there is, you don’t want another tomorrow, you don’t want to fumble your way through the motions again, and again.  But you don’t care enough to change things, either.  And even when/if you break out of that monotony enough to care to break the cycle, you can’t figure out how.

Meds help - sometimes.  For those who have found relief and for those who have found actual recovery through medication - God bless you!  I won’t lie, Zoloft saved my life when I was in the worst depression I knew.  But it did not change my life.  It did not make me better, it just gave me enough of a push to keep me halfheartedly pouring cereal into bowls. 

Prayer helps - sometimes.  I do not believe for a single second that the hand of some deity will reach down and “cure” you of your depression, but I do believe we can draw strength and hope from a higher power.  I do believe we can see that we are all the same and all of equal value “in God’s eyes”, if you will, or in my own believe because we each are God, we are the essence of the everlasting and our actions, our inaction, our words, our deeds, even our thoughts are just shadows that play in front of the light that is God.  Ah, but that’s just my own belief peeking through… yours may differ, and the point is, there is something to be gleaned from faith, even if it is just the faith that today is just today and tomorrow has potential to be a totally different today with totally different outcome.

Counseling/therapy helps - sometimes.  The trick here is to find someone with whom you can be totally honest and someone with whom you can exchange thoughts and ideas on a level you both can understand.  I can say to HTL, “I feel so disconnected - like I don’t belong,” and after years of sessions and because of the good rapport we have, she can lead me right down the path of what I can do to address that feeling, and even reverse it.  I have always been fond of using metaphors and examples, and she too seems to be able to fall into that pace and pattern with grace and ease.  Other counselors have been far too literally and have resented and dismissed my need to reiterate and re-explain things.  It’s vital that if counseling is going to work, you find someone with whom you can easily and comfortably speak.  Also, it’s important to find someone who will allow you wiggle room for comfort, but who will also push you just a tiny bit further out of your comfort zone.  Clearly, your comfort zone isn’t working for you, so sometimes you need to push outside of it to see what things look like there.  It isn’t easy - trust me.  And sometimes, it works so well that it’s like someone turning a light on in a dark room, which is exciting, but also sort of shocking and even a little (or a lot) frightening.

I guess my point is - there is hope.  Depression doesn’t have to win.  But depression does exist.  It is real.  It hurts - physically, emotionally, mentally.  However, as long as we can build enough support to outweigh the weight of the pain, we will win.  That’s not always easy, and that’s why having other folks around us to help us build that support is so vital.  We can’t win against The Beast of depression alone.  Believe me, I’ve tried.  Build your network, build your support, build your safety net and make sure it’s as strong as you can build it - especially when you aren’t in the worst throes of depression.  People will forgive you when you’re depressed and hiding in your cave, even if they don’t fully understand why you go there.  People will still be there if you’ve lashed out or said mean things in hurt or frustration during depression. 

Trust, believe, and remember to love yourself as you love others.

Posted by Liberty on 01/23 at 05:16 PM
Posted under: See-Through

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Liberty Liberty  at  02/23/11 01:01 AM

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