My battle with depression and the two things it taught me.

21 Mar 2021 06:04 #359244 by Jedi_J
Sorry is this doesn't belong here just had to vent a little bit.

It’s often said that depression isn’t about feeling sad. It’s part of it, of course, but to compare the life-sapping melancholy of depression to normal sadness is like comparing a paper cut to an amputation. Sadness is a healthy part of every life. Depression progressively eats away your whole being from the inside. It’s with you when you wake up in the morning, telling you there’s nothing or anyone to get up for. It’s with you when the phone rings and you’re too frightened to answer it.

It’s with you when you look into the eyes of those you love, and your eyes prick with tears as you try, and fail, to remember how to love them. It’s with you as you search within for those now eroded things that once made you who you were: your interests, your creativity, your inquisitiveness, your humor, your warmth. And it’s with you as you wake terrified from each nightmare and pace the house, thinking frantically of how you can escape your poisoned life; escape the embrace of the demon that is eating away your mind like a slow drip of acid.

And always, the biggest stigma comes from yourself. You blame yourself for the illness that you can only dimly see.

So why was I depressed? The simple answer is that I don’t know. There was no single factor or trigger that plunged me into it. I’ve turned over many possibilities in my mind. But the best I can conclude is that depression can happen to anyone. I thought I was strong enough to resist it, but I was wrong. That attitude probably explains why I suffered such a serious episode – I resisted seeking help until it was nearly too late.

Let me take you back to my third grade year of school. I’d just discovered my grandmother had devolved a very severe case of cancer. Since my grandmother was the one that raised me I felt it was my obligation to take care of her. watching her struggle I decided I would give up my childhood and take care of her. Too remarkable. About six weeks in I was feeling overwhelmed from all of the responsibility I brought upon myself. I started hating myself day in and day out. I was skipping classes, refusing to turn in my homework.

The only problem was that I did much more. It broke me down to a very fragile state, the slightest word or comment would send me spiraling out of control and I would need to be hospitalized. I’d frequently say ridiculous and painful things to people I had no right to say them to. So, after a few years, I decided to finally see a psychiatrist. I started medication that made me a different person, I was fatigued all the time. I felt like a literal zombie. The medication gave me an allergic reaction. I was thrown into a heart attack at like 10 years old.

I had hoped that was my last brush with mental health problems, but it was not to be.

On reflection, I realize I have spent over a decade dipping in and out of minor bouts of depression – each one slightly worse than the last. Some leading me to attempt suicide.

Last spring I was in the grip of depression again. I couldn’t work effectively. I couldn’t earn the income I needed. I began retreating to the safety of my bed – using sleep to escape myself and my exhausted and joyless existence.

So I changed my routine and told myself I would never take medication again after the heart attack. It was a rough journey, I had no motivation to do what I once loved. My life was spiraling out of control once again and I had no options. Doctors in my area refused to see me due to missed appointments and my refusal to cooperate. I felt like I was a failure for trying to seek help and didn't want people to know.

I couldn't convince myself that receiving help was one of the most important things I could do. Unfortunately the stigma surrounding mental health was the barrier for me. I didn't want to seem "weak" or "fragile" among my friends and family. After talking with those closest to me I decided to go seek the help I desperately needed.

So I sought help and took the prescribed antidepressant. And it worked. To begin with. A month into the course, the poisonous cloud began to lift and I even felt my creativity and urge to write begin to return for the first time in years. Not great literature, but fun to write and enjoyed by my friends on social media. And tellingly, my wife said: “You’re becoming more like the person I first met.”

It was a turning point. The drug had given me objectivity about my illness, made me view it for what it was. This was when I realized I had been going through cycles of depression for years. It was a process of gradual erosion, almost impossible to spot while you were experiencing it. But the effects of the drug didn’t last. By September I was both deeply depressed and increasingly angry, behaving erratically and feeling endlessly paranoid.

And now, I need to get back to work. Depression may start for no definable reason, but it leaves a growing trail of problems in its wake. The more ill I got, the less work I could do, the more savings I spent and the larger the piles of unpaid bills became. But now I can start to tackle these things.

If you still attach stigma to people with mental illness, please remember two things. One, it could easily happen to you. And two, no one stigmatizes their illness more than the people who suffer from it. Reach out to them.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Carlos.Martinez3, Kobos, Cheb, Diana W, River

Please Log in to join the conversation.

21 Mar 2021 06:38 #359245 by Diana W
I completely understand this. I have battled depression since my teens when it was the worse. I felt like there was a hole eating away at my gut, leaving empty space behind. Melancholy was almost tangible, touchable. I got through it with poetry - very dark at times, but self-therapeutic. I had no one to turn to. Mental illness in the 80's was not something to admit to or talk about. I once asked my parents for help, that I felt I was going crazy and wanted to talk to a therapist. I was 15. I got yelled at, scolded, and told "NOT IN THIS FAMILY!". So I delved further into myself until I left home. It's been a long haul, and a long un-medicated journey. But I get closer to this thing called 'happy' or at least content as I go along.

I was put on Zoloft back in the 90's while married. I did not feel anything. I became a machine, a robot that was merely more able to go along with whatever someone else wanted, or what they thought I should be doing. That lasted 6 months before I took myself off of it. I would've rather felt the melancholy than nothing at all. I could better deal with the melancholy. I wasn't a puppet for others to drag around and fill up my life with what they wanted from me.

I wish you well on your continued journey to a better place mentally and emotionally. If you ever want to talk things out, I am available. Also, this is a good place to write it out and others can respond. We've all had our take on depression in some form, and have sympathetic ears.

Be well and safe in all you do, friend.

. IP . Apprentice . Personal . Healing . Degree . Seminary

Previous: House of Orion
Previous TM : Zero

Life is a sum of all your choices; So, what are you doing today?
― Albert Camus
The following user(s) said Thank You: Kobos, Cheb, River

Please Log in to join the conversation.

21 Mar 2021 09:54 #359246 by River
I definitely hear this. Like, in an intimately familiar way. I think one of the toughest parts for me (aside from just depression itself) is understanding that most of the population doesn't actually live like this or have these thoughts and feelings. Partly it's how people use the word depression casually, the trend toward self deprecating humor, and the current almost glamorization of mental illness that make me think everyone feels this way, and partly it's just that I can't conceive of not having depression; I don't remember a time without it. And then I get into this vortex where if everyone feels this way and I'm the only one struggling, there must be something really extra bad about me... It gets real messy, real quick.

Thank you for your venerability in sharing your story.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Kobos, Diana W

Please Log in to join the conversation.

21 Mar 2021 12:57 #359248 by Carlos.Martinez3
Officially, as always If any one feels like they have need PLEASE SEEK HELP. There is no shame in seeking professional help. No one of any one here is a professional anything here, so seek out that which you need.
Tiss a good thing to get help.

Every one has different views and even different ideas of what the Force is and what Modern day Jedi ism is, thats the idea, to allow them to be what they are in every lane or in every path here. Every ones "care" looks different and are displayed here. The focus each of us has, can differ from feelings to the past to something we havent seen yet.

Mental Health is big to every Modern day Jedi I have met. It plays some part that is pivotal to every Jedi that touches that part of their path. The good news is, YOU can figure it out as many have before and will. What we do here is share. Some times we don't even teach anything but just share. There is a POWER in Mentorship that can only be experienced. For me, seeing or reading of others paths, reading their real journals, helps me big time. I don't
read for gossip but understand that each post and each journal entry is that much more closer to understanding things in a whole. WE all hurt and we all must figure things out if we can. Sharing HELPS big time. How else can we know of our fellow Jedi's paths and struggles if we don't share em...
I want to thank you for sharing and going out on a limb to share. As Pastor here, it is my JOY to encourage you, some times to tell others that we are on the same path sometimes is encouraging, ya know?
Keep on and keep seeking and May you find what it is you do seek.
Pastor Carlos

Contact The Clergy
Pastor of Temple of the Jedi Order
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The Block
Build, not tear down.
Nosce te ipsum / Cerca trova
The following user(s) said Thank You: Kobos, Diana W, River

Please Log in to join the conversation.

01 Apr 2021 12:52 #359386 by Streen
I admire your courage for telling your story. I also have suffered from depression for most of my life, and I found your explanation of what it's like to be surprisingly apt.

I too had to make the hard decision to get help. Like you, the first medication only worked temporarily. It took many years before I found the particular cocktail of meds that actually worked.

It sucks, for sure, but my pain made me who I am today, and had I not experienced that, I wouldn't be as strong as I am.

I hope you get the help you need. It's the hardest thing I ever had to overcome, so I know how you feel, and if you ever need to talk, I'll be here.

The truth is always greater than the words we use to describe it.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Diana W

Please Log in to join the conversation.

Moderators: RexZero