Thursday, March 18, 2010

Silent Sea . . .


I've struggled with whether or not to discuss this on my blog. On the one hand, my blog is mostly informative and crafty, not really an account of my life in general, as most people would not be interested in reading my diary in a public forum.

On the other hand, I know the power of reading what someone is going through, and seeing yourself in it. It is sometimes good to simply know that you're not alone in what you're feeling, that there is someone else, even someone you've never met, that feels that way too. I'm not a psychiatrist (though I've been to a few), so this is not intended as medical advice and shouldn't be used for diagnosis. There; disclaimer over.

I have clinical depression. I know saying that these days is like saying, "I have two arms!", but I think most people who feel sad probably don't have depression, even if a doctor decides to put them on Prozac. Then there are people like me; in college, I had sort of a nervous breakdown, cried all the time, slept entire days away, and yes, even thought about suicide. A few people got me through it and I made it to the other side, but it made me realize that I had been struggling with depression for most of my life, and would continue to struggle with bouts of it in the years to come. Usually, outwardly, people have no idea how bad I'm feeling; I'm the master of the smile, the cheerful greeting, the phone call full of small inanities while I hope desperately that someone will see through it all to what's really going on underneath. Over the last ten years I've had four or five serious bouts of depression, serious enough that I became someone else for a little while until I got through them. I've been to doctors, I've been on anti-depressants, I've meditated and tried positive thinking. It never seems to get easier.

I've learned to recognize the signs that one is coming on: I stop sleeping well, and feel constantly exhausted. My eating habits change, as does the way my body processes the food I do eat; I feel sick quite a bit. I get a lot of headaches. Those are the physical things. All of this, of course, comes with the fantastic psychological symptoms: it seems like even when I have a good day, the first bad thing ruins it. I find it hard to muster up the desire to do things, and I put a lot of things off that I know I should take care of. I feel ugly, unwanted, and generally a nuisance to those around me. I get irritated with people very easily, and snap at people when I shouldn't. I go into full crisis-mode over nothing, and find myself crying for almost no reason. Sometimes, these episodes can be over in a few weeks. Sometimes, they last a little longer.

 I know this is something I will always have to fight: my great-grandmother, grandmother, and mother have all battled serious depression. I know I am not alone in this, that there are millions of people who fight depression every day. But, this is the kind of insidious disease that makes you feel completely isolated, inside yourself, and incapable of crawling out; silenced, neutured, broken. If you are feeling this way too, take heart: it will end, and you are not the only person feeling these things. I wish I had a better pep talk for you, but hey: depression, remember?

I am sad, sometimes crushingly so. But I am a lot of other things too: writer, artist, actor, singer, animal-lover. I will persevere.

I just hope it doesn't take too long.

11 comments:

Rebecca Jo said...

I can feel your words... I too suffer from depression... & its hard to explain unless you've been there...

I appreciate your hoensty too - I've always been watching your beautiful work you sew, but enjoy getting to know YOU a bit more :)

cheryl said...

I Love You; I feel your pain, hear your words; even those you don't speak. You are so right about people who have not been through this, have not experienced the insidious hold of clinical depression....they scratch their heads; thinking we should be able to just "snap out of it".

I have given you much; as your mother; but this is one "gift" I wish I had not...

I love you, my beautiful, courageous daughter.

Moxie Tonic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mimi and Tilly said...

I have huge respect for you for disclosing your heart, and writing this post so honestly. It's a difficult line to tread sometimes knowing how much to disclose about your personal life here. I want to thank you for deciding to go ahead and put your heart out into the blogosphere. I was very moved when I read your thoughts. Hugs, Emma. x

Jamie said...

I won't pretend to "understand" but I so admire your honesty and I admire how you were able to so clearly say what it is you are going through. I wish I had a magic cure for you - I am sending warm and happy thoughts through the bloggy world!

ThePeSla said...

Seamstress, You do fly through the air with the greatest of ease- we after all are actors in a play.

Think chocolate! I doubt the shrinks know what they are doing in any case my roommate Erik, an artist, just doesn't get any better.

It took me a long time to understand what he meant by mental pain finally finding a little of it on my own.

That said, I read in newscientist that red heads can tolerate more pain than the rest of us and if we could figure out why we'd all be better off.

Hey, happy st. patty's day to all of you and its spring moxie, make a recipe on Friday and enjoy the day!

Costume Queen said...

While no one goes through the exact same circumstances, and I'm not saying that "I know how you feel" because only you can know that, but I have also dealt with depression for the past couple of years so I understand what it's like for me personally, and it's awful.

When I once told someone about my depression, they said "people who talk about being depressed are just doing it for attention, and aren't actually depressed." I now try to keep everything to myself; not many people realize that I have (multiple times) planned out how to kill myself, have written a suicide letter, and practice self-harm on a regular basis. It's not something I can tell anyone who knows me personally because nobody wants to listen. People tell me to "just be happy" as if it's this easy thing I could choose to do, but no matter what goes right, I can't be happy.

Anyway, I don't know what your religion is, but I'm praying for you.

Ginger said...

Costume Queen: I am saying this with the utmost love in my heart, so please don't take this the wrong way: if you are hurting yourself, you need to talk to someone professional right away.

Hurting yourself is not okay, and not talking to anyone about how you feel is not okay either; it's true that most people don't want to hear it, but those who feel that way are not the ones you should be talking to. There are some truly wonderful people whose job it is to listen to people who are hurting and to try to help them through it, and there is no shame in seeking them out. I know you are young, and it is hard to decide for yourself to seek your own help if those around you don't recognize how serious your depression is, but you need to choose your wellbeing and talk to someone. Seek out a school counselor. Call a hotline. Go to your local church, even if you're not religious. Tell someone you need help, you need to talk, that you're hurting inside and you don't know how to make anyone listen. Someone will hear you.

If I had not had a few people in my life back in 1999 who listened to me, I probably would not still be here. I am sad now, but I'm not as bad as I was then, and I know if I get that bad that I need to seek professional help. Talk to someone and get the pain and the rage and the hurt out with words, and tears, and screaming if need be, but don't cut yourself. You are a beautiful girl, and no one should hurt you, least of all you.

padawansguide said...

I'm sorry that you suffer from this and admire you for sharing. I passed the link to your post to a friend of mine who is experience depression for the first time. I think it helped to know she was not alone - so please feel like your sharing was worthwhile.

Costume Queen said...

Thank you for your advice and encouraging words, Ginger. I really appreciate it, and I'm not offended in any way. =)

I'm going to take your advice and find someone to talk to about my depression.

Again, thank you. That was kind of the "push" that I needed.

Kay said...

I also suffer from depression. I'm 62 now and it's affected me all my adult life and possibly when I was a teenager. If you are taking Prozac and you're still having bouts of depression, ask your doctor if it's the best medication for you. It worked well for me for years and then it gradually became less and less effective until I became suicidal (in 2007). Now I'm taking Venlafaxine.

I know how awful depression is for you. What you said about your history was so like mine, it could have been my personal history. I've found that having a good balance in my life helps me immensely: enough rest, exercise, work, social life, nice things to do and plans for the future really help me. I also have planned respite once a month, funded by the health authorities, so that I can have a couple of nights' time out as a guest in a lovely house in town. As I live alone, having someone to cook for me and getting out of my own four walls keeps my head sorted. There are always other guests there but never more than three others. I'm more "well" now than I've ever been. There is hope and there are people like me everywhere who know what you're going through and how hard it is sometimes just to get out of bed in the morning. (I live in New Zealand.) So you're not alone and you're very brave. Love and hugs.