Depression, Your Lease is Up

And as your landlord, it seems to me it is not in my best interest to renew.

As I contemplated my current state of mind as I drove to work this morning, my eyes often glazed with a haze of tears, it occurred to me that I have probably been fighting a battle of dreading every day for the last 25 years. For the bulk of that time, it's been sort of a low-grade pain--one that I have pretty much aways chalked up to having a melancholy personality. During certain seasons, that perpetual sanding on my heart spikes to crushing agony, though, and when that happens, my desperation to feel better kicks in. The trouble with depression, however, is its uncanny way of making you too paralyzed to do anything about the very thing you want to nip so you can stop suffering. And my personal struggle is that once I don't feel absolutely horrendous, I don't stay ticked off enough to pursue the help I know I need. I get back into the "I can survive, I just need a better outlook," mode.

And then guess what kicks in? Guilt. Guilt that I am not strong enough to push away the gloom I know isn't reasonable. Guilt that I continually cast a pall over my family they don't deserve. Guilt because I can't seem to manufacture the joy that other people have. Guilt that I secretly narrow my eyes when people gush about the little pleasures in life--pleasures I have never felt stir the dark fog in my soul.

When I do let something sweet or charming penetrate my murk, I can't just smile. I cry. And I hate it. I'm tired of never being able to have a genuine, pleasant reaction to something without coming unhinged.

As I have mentioned in other posts, I have a lot of ideas brewing, and for all I manage to get done in my depression-impaired state, there's so much more I could tackle if I wasn't driven to sleep to escape my pain, or paralyzed by an onset of anxiety, or rendered sluggish and apathetic in all the other times I'm not in the throes of a more blatant breakdown. It occurs to me that the time has come for me to stop pretending "it's not so bad enough of the time to make any radical change." Because the fact of the matter is, the dull ache days are growing fewer and fewer, and the sobbing, panic attack, confused, mean, hopeless days are becoming the majority. I'm sick of being sick. And I'm tired of pretending I'm ok.

How exactly I am going to wage an assault on my situation with a high deductible insurance plan, I'm not entirely sure. But it's becoming clear to me that while monetary cost has been a reason not to do a lot of health-related things in my life, neglect is starting to look much more costly.

My prayer is that I will break through the thigh-deep quicksand I've battled thus far and really go through with a change. It's my hope that the right intervention will help me pick my feet up enough to run the race, rather than merely dragging along behind it.

Comments

  1. Have you looked into St. John's Wort? It's an herbal treatment for depression with no side effects. It's the official treatment of choice in Germany and other European countries. You might do a bit of research and see if it'd help you. Better than a bunch of expensive drugs.

    Also watch your diet. High sugar high carb diets are murder on people who are prone to depression. But do the research yourself.

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  2. I do think I will give the herbal route a try, at least as an experiment. Having no idea whether I would be diagnosed with major or minor depression, I can't say from here how effective it might be. It certainly won't make anything worse, I'm pretty sure of that! :)

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  3. Hey Becky, I too struggle with this often. Even though I have a support system that loves me and supports me, sometimes I just can't get the courage to be happy. I'm not sure I would know what to do if things just started being "easy". I often have wondered if we as artists are just doomed. I mean, come on, we grow up with this talent that few others have and ultimately are set up for a life of struggle since really believe that there is nothing else we can do but make art.You and I both know how difficult the creative world is.

    I don't have many answers for depression and anxiety..for me it's a challenge almost everyday.

    I checked out this article on the Focus on the Family website...Depression: Reject the Guilt, Embrace the Cure...some pretty good ideas for us Christians.

    Too bad we didn't live closer. I'd love to catch up.
    -Dan Carsten

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    Replies
    1. I deeply appreciate the words of encouragement, Dan. It's weird how something as wonderful as art--things that the viewers and listeners truly enjoy--literally haunts its makers. Some less than others of course, but I have found the older I get, the more driven I am to make art, and that is a beast I need to get under control.

      I do appreciate the empathy, though. That has deep value in and of itself.

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  4. I'm so glad I'm on medication now. I like being calm most of the time, and able to have normal emotions the rest of the time. It may take a while for any of the medications to work, and at first they can increase suicidal ideation, but that goes away after a few weeks. If you don't mind really wild dreams for a month, you can try 5-HTP from any vitamin store.
    I did private pay for years, still do because of insurance issues. It's a good investment in my family's happiness. More of us take meds than you know.

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  5. I've expressed my peace (piece?) on this today already, but I do want to chime in and agree with Leila... I dont know if the stigma of being on a psych med bothers you overmuch but more people are on depression and anxiety meds than you probably think. Honestly, almost all of my friends are. I am actually in the minority. So don't let that play into your willingness to seek outside help. And I am soooo glad your day improved. I was certainly praying for you.

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  6. I agree with Dan on this--I think it is something that tends to plague us creative types. I think we *feel* a bit too deeply. It makes for roller coaster rides of emotion--our highs are high but our lows are really low, and the lows are harder to get out of. Emotional gravity, I suppose.

    Praying for you, Becky.

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  7. Hi, I know somewhat what it's like to be depressed, and I'm praying for you that you'll be able to kick depression out of your system soon and be able to function better and happier. God bless!

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  8. It took great courage to post something so intimate. Thanks for sharing. I will be praying for you.

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