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Compassionate Kossacks, my current state of mind is a good one so please do not interpret the following as a cry for help.  I write this now from the other side of the veil, newly emerging into spring.

Thoughts:  While acknowledging I may be wrong, I think that one who has never experienced depression cannot know the full extent of what it is to have this companion on life’s journey.  In truth, I do not know what another’s experience of depression is, for though we may have some similarities in our makeup, still the range for depression allows myriad forms.  Even so, I have greatly appreciated those who have shared their experiences, many times finding their insights useful.

I do not speak of disappointment, sorrow or even grief, or of some feeling caused by something someone else said or did, or even by whatever state I believe the world to be in.  I speak here only from my own perspective, casting a light upon only a sliver of my experience.

Accused of depression from the age of 14 (I truly didn’t know what they meant when they demanded, "Why are you so depressed! What do you have to be depressed about!"), receiving valuable insights from some extremely competent conventional therapists and counselors -- and wise friends --, sifting through and finding helpful, useful tips from ancient practices and alternative therapies, and once officially diagnosed as bipolar, I now view myself as living within cycles of depression and anxiety with a touch of mania that is more like giddiness...though mostly able to appear (and behave myself) in public without causing too much undesirable attention.

And it’s all relative, and it all varies and I’m often -- but not always -- aware of where on the personal mental health scale I am residing at the moment.  The one predictable thing is the depression always worsens in winter and, although my long history and experience are helpful to remind me that it always does get better and I truly need not resort to actively desperate measures, it’s still a major impediment to movement on all levels of being.

I am blessed in my life with the close friendship of a woman I have known since 1969 and that of her British-born husband whom I’ve known a few years less.  In the 70’s I once cared for their home for a year whilst they were working in Borneo.  When she advised me a couple of years ago that they planned a (possibly year-long) trip to UK and asked if I would again consider managing some of their affairs which would include living in their home and arranging to rent out a portion of it, I gently refused, reminding her that I choose to live alone and I do not own a house because I do not want to take care of one.

Time passed, circumstances changed and it happened that I was returning to the Santa Cruz mountains where they now live in House Beautiful set above a small creek and overshadowed by the redwoods ever dear to my heart.  On an exploratory trip, I stumbled upon a tiny but well placed and well maintained 5th wheel renting for what appeared to be not too much more than I had estimated I could afford while still allowing myself the two years I’d hoped to have "off" from income-producing labor.

I was enthusiastic with the landlady but, aware of my tendency toward impulsivity, told her I would take a day or two for further consideration before actually taking it.  (Small town, other friends in common with whom she could verify my integrity so she was already pleased to have me.)

The following morning, my friend approached me with a different scenario -- no other renters required and everything possible they could do to simplify my tasks.  Still, I again allowed myself 24 hours before giving her my answer, though it was basically the same one I’d reached when we’d finished chatting.  I’d give it a go.

When they departed last November, I was in a fairly balanced (for me) frame of mind  although somewhat fearful I might do something terrible, make some horrible, unforgivable error that would result in damage to their things or (worse in my point of view) to our friendship.

The Example:  Winter in My Soul 2009-10

As this winter approached and stayed, I (mostly unconsciously) began to enact a favored coping strategy of simplifying, as much as possible, my life.  Bear-like, I hibernate in shelter, paring down the claims upon my time and energy.  My awareness of surroundings lessens and memory fades. Confusion reigns and the ability to make timely and thoughtful decisions decreases.

I recall that, after turning on the power to the first computer-like equipment I used long ago, a screen appeared which said "Menu" and had a vertical dividing line between two columns of about six options each from which to select.  Can you imagine turning it on one day and having only one column of options appear?  Can you further imagine that you have no inkling that a second column ever existed?  Imagine those remaining options continue to fade...

Nearly unnoticed by mySelf, I stop doing things that might minimize the difficulties, i.e. walking in nature and practicing nutrition that is healthy for my particular body, limiting use of alcohol, etc.  I pay little attention to taking care of myself.  My physical energy disappears and I am exhausted.  Pain levels are high and tolerance low.  I feel uncertain and unfocused -- unreliable within mySelf.  I basically hunker down and try to get through it, forcing myself to take one step after another as and when I can manage.  Futility and despair most often accompany me.

But now the sun begins to warm and I awaken to what has been left behind, neglected.  

With their full knowledge, I use the house differently from my friends, having set up my desk in their upstairs Great Room with the cathedral windows looking directly upon the redwoods and having moved the tv/dvd equipment from the guestroom there as well. This room has been very gently used and well cared for by my friends.  I spend most of my waking hours at home there.

With my newly opened eyes and relatively heightened awareness, I now see the wear upon my friends’ furnishings, but do not remember how it was before they left, thus worry I am at fault.  Were there scratches upon that lovely glass table before?  Am I keeping everything as they would desire, or has my neglect been abusive?  And, OMG, I need to invite my indoor plant-knowledgable friend to come over and advise me whether the ones here are suffering...for I seem to hear them whimper just a bit.  These worry-filled thoughts apply to all the areas within my care.

I’m pretty sure all is reasonably well but that scary feeling of impending doom persists so I guess I’m not through the worst of my old stuff after all.  However, my recent approach of accomplishing at least one cleanup/repair/remedy task per day is an improvement that most likely will result in decreasing my anxiety. And simply recognizing and acknowledging where I’ve been and where I am helps me see where I may be able to go...  

This will continue to change moment to moment and day to day as I begin to "see more options on the screen" and remember how to behave in more healthy ways for mySelf.

Fortunately, the banana slug and newt population are thriving; the deer are emerging from the woods to taste the newest blossoms on the outdoor native plants and I remind mySelf I’m not responsible for everything!  

Plus I'm able to put some sentences together which satisfy me -- whether this is a good thing you may debate amongst yourselves. :0)

Thanks for listening.  I really value this site and you folks and will appreciate any comments or anecdotes you may have to share, especially about your own coping strategies.  Peace.

Originally posted to LinSea on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 06:01 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Oh Lin, I know from where you come and it isn't (16+ / 0-)

    a happy place.  I, too, am bi-polar, however, thanks to a wonderful, caring, attentive doctor I am now on a combination of medicines that, for two years, has had me feeling and functioning as a normal person.  I will send positive energy your way and if you ever want to talk (mail) privately, my e-mail address is at my profile.  Good luck with everything and thank god for spring.

    too often the tolerant aren't very committed and the committed aren't very tolerant.....unknown rabbi.

    by racheltracks on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 06:15:30 PM PDT

  •  thank you for sharing (14+ / 0-)

    I know that sharing can be the hardest part about depression.  i don't know if it's shame or what but when I pull into my depressions I lose the desire to share anything with the outside world.  I pull into my shell and refuse to engage with the outside world.

    I have also experienced mania so I know that this type of depression is different from other clinical depressions.  Riding high on your way into a depression makes the lows even worse.

    Honestly, I'm relying on medication.  Without it I don't know where I would be.

    As far as worrying about your friends furniture I would relax.  Being old friends they are likely to understand that some wear and tear is normal in life.  I'm sure they didn't leave the house in museum quality shape and don't expect to find it in that way either.  Get some help with the plants sure.  But don't let the rest of it bug you too much.

    As always get plenty of exercise which sounds like you have the opportunity to do.  I hope this helps a little.

    Peace

    "when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro"

    by gravlax on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 06:16:05 PM PDT

  •  I know how tough it must have been to write this. (13+ / 0-)

    I deal with chronic depression, which I am on meds and therapy to treat.  I'm glad you've come through the other side this time.  Are you getting help dealing with this?  Even if you are on the upswing, I would suggest getting some help for yourself.  Results vary from person to person, but the meds and therapy literally saved my life.  I hate to see anyone going through depression if it can be helped.  Good luck to you.

    (-9.25, -6.62) (BWIU #22) Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both -- Benjamin Franklin

    by trs on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 06:21:20 PM PDT

    •  Thank you so much for your caring, (8+ / 0-)

      sharing and understanding.  It's been years since I gave up trying meds as, although they sometimes helped other people to feel better about me being around because I appeared calmer, I was screaming frantically inside and feeling even crazier.  Withdrawing has seemed to be more effective though I appreciate very much your suggestion and it may be food for thought.  Blessings.

      Dance lightly upon the earth, sing her songs with abandon, smile upon all forms of life, and be well.

      by LinSea on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 06:31:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  In the time (5+ / 0-)

        that you've spent since last trying antidepressants, the scene has changed by light years.  The newer medications are much, much more effective.  Sometimes it takes several attempts to find the one that works best, as everyone reacts somewhat differently.  I had to try four before one worked--and has been working for eleven years.  The new drugs specifically target different receptors: Prozac with seratonin, Effexor with dopamine, etc.

        I'm glad you are feeling better now, but depression can come back again full bore at any time.  Especially if you've been suffering with it since adolescence. Please look into medications again.  You don't have to keep fighting this battle.    

        •  Thanks for your information and I'm so glad (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Belle Ame, trs

          you persevered to find an effective med.  I haven't the courage or stamina just yet to undertake trials -- afraid I'd get impatient and give up -- and even though its been years since I've had one, I've yet to get myself to establish a relationship with a primary care physician.  Your input, however, IS helpful and I will keep working on getting myself to an internal state where I may be able to act upon it.

          Dance lightly upon the earth, sing her songs with abandon, smile upon all forms of life, and be well.

          by LinSea on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 09:12:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Antidepressants alone (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            LinSea, QuestionAuthority

            might not be the best option if you have manic or hypomanic episodes.  Usually they take 4-6 weeks to start reducing depressive symptoms (if they work at all), but may start exacerbating manic episodes almost immediately.

            Also, it's hard to tell which ones are likely to work - most of the commonly-prescribed antidepressants work by the same chemical mechanism, but somehow different people still find different ones effective, and we have no idea why.

            So mood stabilizers might have to be added, or might even work alone. I'm guessing you've been on lithium at some point. There are newer mood stabilizers that might work better, but I've been away from medicine too long to remember them off the top of my head.

            •  Yes, the "bipolar" label actually made me (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              QuestionAuthority, trs

              hopeful as Lithium was lauded.  No real ill effects,  but no improvement for me either.  

              I'll search online for further information on mood stabilizers as that seems less frightening to me than the other categories just now.

              I took so many drugs and have been clear of that for so long now that I can't even remember their names, except Elavil and I'm not sure exactly what that was.

              Undoubtedly certifiably brain-dead just now from needing to get some sleep so I'm closing down 'til come sunup.  

              I wish my words could better express just how greatly I appreciate your time, consideration and thoroughness in providing this information.  Your "being away" from it seems to be medicine's loss.

              Peace.

              Dance lightly upon the earth, sing her songs with abandon, smile upon all forms of life, and be well.

              by LinSea on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 11:57:55 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  And your diaries offer great comfort even in (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cfk, Belle Ame, slowbutsure, trs, Ebby

      the dimmest of times.  Thank you so much.

      Dance lightly upon the earth, sing her songs with abandon, smile upon all forms of life, and be well.

      by LinSea on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 06:52:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yep It's Not "Sadness" It's Lack of Reward/Pleasr (16+ / 0-)

    I've seen it very close up for many years.

    What many of us don't appreciate is how constantly we're rocked with little rewards and punishments, down to the second to second level in everything we perceive, think and do. And we have an array of systems for coping with not only the experience but also our emotional responses at this microscopic level.

    If one half of our response is suppressed, well literally "depressed," suddenly the overall balance of our experience becomes a lot more negative. It's not only sadness. Every negative feeling looms larger because they're all less balanced by the positives. Pain is harder to ignore, frustration is not counteracted by feelings that accomplishment is coming, fatigue is easier to feel in a reduced sense of being energized.

    I hope you're seeking and receiving treatment for this. To a great extent many people can get a lot of relief from drug if the right ones can be found, but some kind of emotional support is often needed too--counseling, meditation, and certainly friends.

    From what I've seen, when the body does this to you, it seems to have literally trained the person to make all their responses more self defensive. So even an ideal drug if there were such a thing is only going to restore the physiology. It may require some kind of support to re-learn how to be less pain- and frustration-avoiding, and reach out to engage life again.

    Thanks for sharing. The picture you paint is very familiar, and I hope you're able to move beyond it as much as possible.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 06:31:54 PM PDT

    •  Concise and clearly described, G, as I've (9+ / 0-)

      learned to expect from you.  Thanks for taking the time to be here with me and for your insights.

      Dance lightly upon the earth, sing her songs with abandon, smile upon all forms of life, and be well.

      by LinSea on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 06:41:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This was a most helpful explanation (5+ / 0-)

      Thank you.

      They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. - Andy Warhol

      by 1864 House on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 07:43:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  What it's like for me (4+ / 0-)
      1. I'm wearing a 50-lb overcoat everywhere I go. Standing up is hard. Walking is hard. Moving is hard.
      1. Someone dimmed all the lights. I have that same oppressed feeling as being in a room with one 40-watt bulb in the ceiling.

      It is even harder for the average ape to believe that he has descended from man. --H.L. Mencken

      by denise b on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 10:14:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  YES! You GET it, Gooserock! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hens Teeth

      I've been on antidepressants for about 20 years. As many here know, my extended family has a strong genetic component for depression and substance abuse.

      I've been in and out of therapy, currently out and wishing I were back in. However, the last round left me feeling even worse than when I started. It did have one good effect. I did some research and discovered a relatively new theory called "Reward Deprivation Syndrome." That's exactly part of what I have. (Note: There's not much out there on this.)

      My "highs" are what most people would call a normal state of mind, as in not particularly depressed or upset...I just know very little of joy or happiness. My lows are...Well, if you have depression, you know what it's like. When I succeed at something, I get no satisfaction or pleasure from success. I just move on to the next task, and the next, and...

      Think of a graph where a line from left to right is a "normal" state of mind. Above it is "happiness, joy, etc." Below is sadness, depression, etc. My best times are when my mood is bumping along the bottom of that line...

      I keep hoping that someday I'll find my way out of this state.

      "Ridicule may lawfully be employed where reason has no hope of success." -7.75/-6.05

      by QuestionAuthority on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 05:44:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think it's a combination of experience (12+ / 0-)

    that led me to understand: very often, the answer to "What have you got to be depressed about?" is "Nothing, I just have a strong tendency to find any excuse to feel miserable. It has nothing to do with the world around me."

    I'm slowly coming out of it, and now capable of seeing that I'm in a pretty good position. I'm unemployed, but not hurting financially. I am reasonably healthy, I have a reasonable amount of stuff (not too much, but not so little I must live a joyless existence), I have a bunch of people who like me, I have a kind, intelligent and beautiful girlfriend who I'm thinking of asking to be my wife... You know, I'm in a good position. But I'm acutely aware my ability to perceive this on a deep level of understanding, beyond a quick prefrontal "Yeah, okay", is a knife's-edge kind of thing. One relationship mistake, one failing grade on a course, and I will be back to bleakness and fantasies of solving all my problems permanently in one desperate stroke.

    Here's the irony: I've learned to tell myself to stop cycling self-destructive thoughts around in my head. Dwelling on the negatives in my life doesn't help. So it should go like this:

    [You/I am worthless and loathed by everyone. You can't succeed at a basic math course! And all the people whom you once called "friends" are now pursuing serious careers and raising children, while you sit alone, childless and unemployed in this shitty apartment in a shitty city so you can throw funds away attending a school whose classes you can't be bothered to pass-]
    [Shut up! That's not a helpful line of thought. Consider the positives. You're well-placed for success. You're pretty darn lucky, and not bad-looking either.]

    How it actually works:
    [You/I am worthless and loathed by everyo-]
    [Shut up! That's not a helpful line of thought. Consider the positive. You're well-placed for success.]
    [Yeah, you/I am actually in a pretty good situation. Given how colossal a failure you/I am, you/I must be one hell of a stupid schmuck.]

    "You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams." -- Dr. Seuss

    by Shaviv on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 06:51:01 PM PDT

  •  A great diary that shares... (7+ / 0-)

    I don't quite know all your experiences, but grief of a lost half (a mate) produces some of what you experience.  Oddly, most of my experience that troubles me is external, worse than my own sorrow.

    It seems I am considered fragile, someone to be protected.  I did not change that much from the confident person I was as my husband's wife.  Not in my real life exchanges and experience.

    But once someone feels, "She is fragile," the word "fragile" takes on a whole new meaning.  And like some transformational experience in the eyes of my viewers, I became this alien word.  I don't really feel it.  It is a misreading of my soft, gentle ways.

    My best suggestion to you is to operate upon doing what you can do to make things better every day.  Try to divorce yourself from what people you wish to please will think.  Allow them their thoughts, whatever they are.  But just keep doing good even if you can't do well.  You will understand what I mean.

    It all adds up like numbers on a calculator: one good act, another, and that is two.  Perhaps not in anyone else's estimation, but in your own.  That is what matters to me, I think--I as an amateur.  You were right to get in touch with the redwoods.  There is something very strong and essential there.

    •  Very glad to meet you and I do, indeed, (5+ / 0-)

      understand to "keep doing good even if you can't do well".  That note will remain where I can see it every day now.  I am so sorry for the loss of your mate, and for your being mislabeled as fragile, but very grateful that you have the intelligence and wit to continue to thrive.

      I am fortunate that my friends have learned, with time, my strengths as well as shortcomings so I'm not constantly trying to reassure them when I've no energy to spare to do so.  Still, I appreciate the reminder not to dwell too much on how others "might" think/feel.

      Thank you for being here, for caring enough to share.

      Dance lightly upon the earth, sing her songs with abandon, smile upon all forms of life, and be well.

      by LinSea on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 07:26:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting choice of words: (12+ / 0-)

    "accused of depression."

    Because that's where I was in the spring of 2007, though with a whole lot more on the line. That was the day after the Virginia Tech shootings, I was a second-year medical student, ironically planning to be a psychiatrist myself, and the university suspended me on suspicion of planning a similar crime.  (The medical school had nothing to do with this; in fact no one at the medical school was even told I was suspended until several days later, and at that point the dean of the medical school objected but was overruled.)  The basis for the accusation? Another student had claimed I might fit a similar profile to the Virginia Tech gunman, because I was Asian-American and probably depressed.  I was never told specifically what I was accused of, but apparently the fact that I was being treated for depression immediately made me a serious danger to the safety of the campus - never mind that almost half of all graduate and professional students have depression at some time.

    It took six months and the threat of a federal lawsuit to be reinstated.  But my medical career was over - medical students can't transfer, and there was no way I'd go back to a school that had only dropped the ridiculous accusation after a lawyer got involved.

    And almost needless to say, I never fully recovered from that blow.  Especially after friends stopped answering phone calls, not wanting to get involved in a potential lawsuit, I hid in my apartment for over a year, literally only leaving for groceries and laundry.

    The attitude that too many in our society have toward mental illness is Neanderthal at best.  It's really the last frontier of civil rights.  We may have heard a lot of racist and homophobic rhetoric this week, but society as a whole considers that language to be unacceptable and outrageous. Not so much with mental illness.

    And this is what I'm now devoting my life to confronting.  I start law school this fall (I don't know where yet but have admission offers), and intend to represent mostly people being discriminated against on the basis of either actual or perceived mental illness.  Having a big goal helps: what got me back to some semblance of functioning was deciding on a new career, and registering to take the LSAT.

    •  Talk about adding insult to injury, and then (7+ / 0-)

      adding more injury. Sad that you had to experience that, and that others' bigotry and small-mindedness had such an impact on your life.

    •  Good on you, DrP, for surviving this horrible (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cfk, crose, greengemini, Belle Ame, DrPlacebo

      ordeal and for having the courage, strength and stamina to undertake this (very) big goal.  Hugs here if you are the huggable kind and blessings on your journey.  I hope you'll keep us updated and I'll be cheering you on.

      Dance lightly upon the earth, sing her songs with abandon, smile upon all forms of life, and be well.

      by LinSea on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 07:37:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I just hope (4+ / 0-)

        we as a society can get past the whole idea of "accusing" a person of depression.

        The worst part of my experience with depression was the need to withdraw, coupled with overwhelming loneliness. There's just no way to hide from everyone and satisfy the need for personal contact at the same time.

        But I was fortunate in finding a friend who had been in equally dark places at one point and knew what depression meant.  After I was suspended, one woman in my class, someone I knew at the time but might not have considered one of my closer friends, had a sense of just how devastating those events might be, and was determined not to let it drag me down.  When I was looking for a lawyer, and others in my class were trying to distance themselves from "the guy who's about to sue the school," she gave me contact information for almost every attorney that anyone in her family knew, and even started calling them on my behalf on days that I was too depressed to do it myself.  And in the year after that, even as an overworked third-year medical student, she called at least two or three times a week to see how I was holding up, dropped in occasionally to try and get me out of my apartment, and for a while was the only person in the world I felt comfortable talking to.  When I finally started coming out of my shell, studying part-time, and working toward my own future legal career, what kept me going at first was simply not wanting to disappoint someone who had believed in me when even I didn't believe in myself.

        I haven't completely recovered, and may not ever, but I'm definitely in much better shape than I would have been if I had to face that kind of depression alone.  I'm still at times prone to half believing that I might be the monster the university insisted I was after Virginia Tech, but it helps a lot to know that at least one person saw me in my worst moments and stood by me.

    •  Wow (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LinSea, Belle Ame, QuestionAuthority

      Unbelievable story. I'm glad you're going to use the experience to help others.

      It is even harder for the average ape to believe that he has descended from man. --H.L. Mencken

      by denise b on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 10:18:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thank goodness (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hens Teeth, LinSea, QuestionAuthority

      you haven't given up. You will do good things for people whose voices cannot quite be heard above the accusations. People like you are an inspiration to people like me. Good luck.

      Mal: "...So then the Shepherd says to the Companion, "Well, a good goat'll do that."

      by crose on Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 12:03:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Anyone here tried 4000 iu of (8+ / 0-)

    vitamin D3 a day?

    I and many of my friends have found it a huge mood elevator.

    May be different for you, but worth a try.

  •  Thank you (6+ / 0-)

    Someone I love suffers from depression and I have a hard time understanding it. Your diary and some of the comments have given me a new window into that world. I am deeply grateful.

    They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. - Andy Warhol

    by 1864 House on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 07:39:28 PM PDT

    •  Tears of gratitude as (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      1864 House

      this is one result I had so hoped for and which gave me the courage to post.  Thank you for so kindly letting me know ... and now that I've discovered you, I look forward to perusing your WHEE diaries as I have the time.

      Dance lightly upon the earth, sing her songs with abandon, smile upon all forms of life, and be well.

      by LinSea on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 07:50:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm glad you posted. (7+ / 0-)

    I remember your diary from last fall.  I'm glad the fog of depression seems to be lifting with the lengthening days.

    I've lived with depression, too, and have just recently gone back onto antidepressants.  The meds don't fix everything, but I find I'm less immobilized by the depression when I'm on them. That's a significant difference for me. ( I don't share this to suggest that you should explore that option -- everyone's chemistry is different -- but just to share some experience to let you know I feel I do understand much of what you describe.)

    I would echo one of the earlier posters in guessing that you've lived pretty lightly in your friends' house and that they would expect and overlook any wear.  From what you described I'm thinking the "feeling of impending doom" might be more of a general anxiety looking for something to fixate on.

    Best wishes to you on your journey.  I admire your degree of self-knowledge and your way with words, and appreciate your generosity in sharing your experiences with us.

    •  Spot on -- you been readin' (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      QuestionAuthority, Ebby

      my mail, Ebby?  Your description of "general anxiety looking for something to fixate on" feels a perfect fit.  Thanks.  I value your best wishes and encouragement.

      Dance lightly upon the earth, sing her songs with abandon, smile upon all forms of life, and be well.

      by LinSea on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 08:12:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  From someone who has (6+ / 0-)

    long struggled with severe depression, I wish you all good energy.  Thanks for sharing this hopeful piece.

    You are my brother, my sister. (Duty calls; good men answer. May it ever be so. (blue aardvark, DKos, 1.14.10))

    by RoCali on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 08:03:22 PM PDT

    •  Thanks for your comment and I'm happy (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      crose, RoCali

      to have now read your recent diary.  Congratulations and best wishes for good results in your new employment.

      Dance lightly upon the earth, sing her songs with abandon, smile upon all forms of life, and be well.

      by LinSea on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 08:20:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  thank you for posting this here (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LinSea

    secession = treason. Haters are Traitors!

    by catchaz on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 08:19:26 PM PDT

  •  Very well written (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LinSea, Belle Ame, QuestionAuthority

    My own experience with depression is very different, yet I find there are always points of connection when I read the accounts of others. Thank you for writing this.

  •  Yes, I understand your experiences (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    crose, LinSea, QuestionAuthority

    Yes, my depression may express itself in different forms, but I also suffer with the coming of winter. I noticed a pattern in my school grades taking a dip with the mid-year report card but rebounding satisfactorily at year's end. Though it did not take many years to notice the pattern, it was much later that I associated it with a physical/emotional malady.

    Second, I envy your time among the Redwoods. It is my one major regret about leaving California. I had what may be the most significant spiritual experience of my life there, an experience I have shared with only two close friends who would not judge me for it. They have been calling to me yet I do not give a visit the priority it should have.  The irony is that the always present fog of depression is a major reason I flirt with the idea because I need it but do not follow through. But I am in a place that provides almost as much solace. I have a regular view of the Rocky Mountains, another undeniable connection with nature (though there I also do not give priority to the close visits I should be making).

    Right now, my coping strategy is to try to recognize the old behaviors or reactions before they take me (too far) down the dark path. I try to stay close to if not within the light. It helps to see what others do so that I can recognize it in myself. Though I find most TV shows to edit serious problems down to the point of pop psychology, some do have nuggets of insight. In particular, the programs on hoarding, which is a path I could all too easily get lost on. The behaviors and demons for the hoarders do vary and I cannot relate to all but several times the hoarder or the counselor has said something where I would go "OMG, yes, that's me!" And I would try to address that thought pattern then and there. Part of the healing is to put a scab over the old thoughts so that the bleeding stops. It may (will) take several tries but it can be done.

    PROlong LIFE with affordable & effective Health Care for all.

    by Belle Ame on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 10:39:08 PM PDT

    •  To paraphrase "Avatar", We see each other. Thank (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      crose, Belle Ame, QuestionAuthority

      you for your thought-filled comment.  Even when I do not feel like traipsing through the woods, all I need do is step outside my door to walk upon a quiet road with a gentle incline and while I regained my fitness over the summer, I promised I would continue walking.

      I succeeded only partially and for a brief period before obeying the strong internal command to be still and quiet ... and wait it out. Now it is wondrous to get out again -- one day in a row, so far!

      Sometimes I think knowing what might help somehow makes it even more crappy when we're unable to actually do it.

      I greatly appreciate learning of your strategies, especially "I try to stay close to if not within the light. It helps to see what others do so that I can recognize it in myself."  Thank you and best wishes upon your journey.

      And I admire your sig line.

      Dance lightly upon the earth, sing her songs with abandon, smile upon all forms of life, and be well.

      by LinSea on Sun Mar 28, 2010 at 11:24:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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