Friday, September 23, 2011

What depression looks like for me

For most of my life I have operated at an extremely insane pace.  And when life was calm, and peaceful I would sabotage it in order to get the needed adrenaline pumping.  This was not a healthy way to live, but it was all I had. I made life very hard for my family, and for myself.  I chased intense situations, feeling most at peace with the world, and comfortable, in the midst of the most extreme situations.  When a bull would start to charge at me, hundreds of people gasping in fear, everything would go into slow motion, and I felt awesome, invincible and honestly, at peace.  Same with fighting, bouncing, repo-ing cars, anything that was insane.

But as I got older, I started to have periods of something different.  When I would shut down.  When my usually extroverted self would want to crawl into a cave.  Where I felt tired, felt like I couldn't do anything nor wanted to.  What I learned later was: this is depression.  Then even later I learned that I have a very mild form of bi-polar disorder called bi-polar 2

I am now on medication for this, but I developed a problem.  The therapeutic dose for my medication causes me to have tremors.  The doctor and I decided to lower the dose and see if the tremors went away... they did.  But guess what came back?

So today I sit at work wanting nothing more than to go home, and sit alone playing a video game.  I am tired, sore, and lonely though I have a wonderful family and friends.  I feel tears constantly at the back of my eyes.  I can't rejoice at good news and the bad news seems to stab me in the heart.  I do not feel suicidal, nor do I feel hopeless.  For me this is normally a short cycle, and I will most likely be myself by Sunday.  But this is what depression is for me.  And it sucks.

So why do I tell this?  Because I think its healthy for us to acknowledge our difficulties, and especially our mental health issues.  I think we need to take the stigma off of these things. 

What I have learned is that this time also lets me be more empathic and caring towards people that suffer from depression on a much deeper level, and indeed all of those that have mental health issues.  Please feel free to ask any questions, and know that I am fine, this is just part of my life.



The Foggy Knitter said...

I'm slowly learning to accept that depression is part of me and how to learn to live with it. It is hard, I sympathise and it can be hard to talk about. It's every bit as brave as facing that bull or fighting, just in a different way. I pray that Jesus will be with you now, through the depression. Remember it doesn't separate you from Him (Romans 8)

Anonymous said...

Aye, tis a black dog as Churchill called it. I'd go further and call it a hound of Hell nipping at the edges of our consciousness, ready to rip us apart. But, I prefer to call mine, the Black Hole of Calcutta. We move slowly as if through water without any sense of buoyancy; we become dark matter. The waters are over our heads, but eventually recede. And we can't prepare for the next wave; we don't know when it will come—we only know that it will come. One cannot measure such human suffering, though the voodoo priests try to weigh it with their scales and relieve it with their potions with varying degrees of success. And what about our Lord? Why doesn't He hear our cries? Instead, time and time again we are called to stay awake with Him in Gethsemane, while other disciples sleep. The cup is passed to us to drink down to the bitter dregs and we enter the bowels of hell. And like the glorious Easter Resurrection, we too will leave behind an empty tomb made by depression and once again be engulfed by light. Well, maybe I'm being a bit melodramatic, but want you to know that I am shining a flashlight on you and I see you, even if you squint your eyes and bring your hand up to shield yourself from the abrasive light,

PS: To the Foggy Knitter...I can't knit in broad daylight, much less in a fog

Anonymous said...

Fantastic post mate, someone close in my life has the same bi polar. Thanks for sharing :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you, you may have just given me a name for what I have felt most of my life and especially in the last 2.5 years!

Aurora said...

It's important to share with those who do not know and for those who do know.We are supposed to be there for each other,thou at times we are alone.There is always someone and many who care.Do not hold the pain and depression in,keep sharing it's the only way to help each other out.To lessen the burden.The feelings always pass,just like all things in life,there will always be more joy and surprises ahead,keep looking up and out to other's who need help also with whatever the need might be.

simon said...

John, I feel your pain brother. Mental illness is so stigmatized but its often as organic as a physical ailment. Just know the sun will come up tomorrow and the Rev will be back to his old ways. Give me a call if you want. Dan

David said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Aurorabela said...

David,first you sound like a religious hypocrite,then you end up sounding like a pagan,either way,it's not good!

Christians get down,sick,oppressed of the devil,what you are is ignorant,with a foul mouth.

David said...

You are either filled with the Holy Spirit or you are mentally ill.

Both conditions can't exist at the same time. Otherwise, where is the power of God?

john jensen said...

David, you don't believe in the Spirit of God so what are you talking about? Mental health is a physical problem, I have issues with imbalances in the hormones in my body. How is this any different from having arthritis in my neck? It isn't. Nor do you get to set the stipulations for how God's Spirit works in the world. The bible is very clear that their is imperfection in all of the creation, which would include humans. The Spirit helps us, and comforts us, and even sometimes heals us, but not all times. Paul talks about how their were things in his life that he was not healed of, and these infirmities helped him stay humble and seek God.


David said...

"Mental health is a physical problem".

Really, John? Are you not aware of the controversy around this area?

What biological tests do psychiatrists use for diagnosis?

Refer to

[Note: they claim to NOT be related to Scientology]

In particular, read "The Myth of Biological Depression"

john jensen said...

What I have is physical easily proved by the fact that medication controls the issue. I am not on happy pills I am on mood stabilizers.

The truth is David I have a physical ailment. I refuse to be further stigmatized by people with an opinion I have experience.


David said...

That argument is debunked in the article.

I hope you're aware of research which suggests that most psychiatric medication has no long term benefits, merely masks symptons by interfering with normal brain chemistry, and have side dangerous side-effects.

And by the way, John, you're not the only person who has had experience with these matters. But you don't want to hear about that.

john jensen said...

I have benefitted greatly from the very scientific and clinically tested medications administered by trained and educated professionals (which in my case have also been very warm accommodating people who have never pushed drugs on me and worked with me to create balance). There are far more people that agree that bi-polar disorder is a physical condition than that do not and my experience and that of others I know and countless people I do not stand for that reasoning.

As you not only are not my doctor bit also seem to take pleasure in antagonizing, insulting and belittling me you will excuse me if I really don't care much about your thoughts on the matter.

I wonder what it is that drives you to kick a man when they are down? I am glad I don't have that inclination. I am also glad I am not down any longer


john jensen said...

Not sure where your last post went David but I never kicked you when you were down in fact I actually was very concerned for you and your family. Perhaps you have me confused me for someone else


simon said...

David, you are a jackass. For your 'scientific article' I can equally show you studies of the brain scans of people who suffer from clinical depression and the changes that occur in the brain when they are depressed and the effects medication can have to stabilize the functionality of the brain. Yes, things get over prescribed and Big Pharma is having a heyday with things but the truth is just like with Pain medication, when correctly diagnosed and administered under supervision, people are helped by medication.

So next time you get the flu just tell yourself its all in your fucking head.