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FWIW, I've been sitting on this diary for almost a month, debating whether or not to publish it.

For most of the last two years, I've been dealing with depression.  At first, I tried to manage it - you know, healthy diet, regular exercise.  And that worked for a while.  But it stopped working.

The problem is that depression impairs the skills you need to deal with it.  Even though I knew I was depressed, I couldn't do anything about it.  That's one of the stranger parts of my journey - I knew I was depressed and I still couldn't do anything about it.  Just thinking of doing something about depression seemed too hard.

So I sank into depression.

It started off as simple fatigue.  Difficulty concentrating.  It got worse because left untreated it gets worse.

It was last summer - a litte over a year ago - that I realized it had gotten really bad.  I was sleeping ten to twelve hours on the weekdays.  My weekends were almost entirely dedicated to sleep.  I'd get home from work Friday night and fall asleep.  I might get up at ten p.m. or so and have a cup of tea, then go back to sleep.  Lots of Saturdays, I'd wake up at 7 a.m., which isn't entirely unreasonable.  I'd have breakfast, check the news and go back to bed and sleep until noon or one.  Have lunch and go back to bed and sleep till dinner time.

After dinner, I might be up for a while, watch some TV or read a book, but I'd be back in bed before too long and sleep until Sunday.  Sunday afternoons were given over to sleep.

In the meantime, I was hungry all the time.  I'd eat.  And then I'd sleep.  And eat some more.  And sleep some more.

The downside of living alone is that no one was in the house to say, "You know this doesn't seem right.  What can we do?"  Knowing I was depressed wasn't enough.  I needed some help.

Which is where my friend's comment startled me.  You see, it's now been a little over two months since I started taking anti-depressants and I told a close friend and she said, "You hid it well.  Nobody knew you were depressed.  You never missed work, you never missed volunteer time, you never missed dinner with us.  Nobody knew."

Since nobody knew, nobody was there to say, "Let's see about getting you some help."

My therapist says I have atypical depression - which means that my mood would brighten in response to good things but then return to the depression.  Part of atypical depression is oversleeping and the weird over eating I experienced.  Physical symptoms included upset stomach (seriously, my digestion was upset for two years), physical fatigue, a feeling of heaviness.

As I think back, I realize that most of the last 12 months have been characterized by the pattern of sleep, eat, work, eat, sleep.  Day to day was easy, but I was on autopilot. Depression isn't just a sad mood, it's lack of response.  Depression decreased my emotional range.  I didn't do things because I didn't enjoy things.  But I also didn't avoid things because I didn't not enjoy them.  

Sometimes it was all but impossible to get out the door to go to work or go grocery shopping.  I learned which stores near my house were open late at night, which, as odd as it sounds, made shopping easier.  Being in a grocery late at night was easier - they turn down the lights to save energy, there are fewer shoppers and staff, which meant a lower chance of having to interact socially.  I stopped buying things in stores and ordered them online and had them delivered so I could avoid being around people.  I'd long since stopped going to the gym because it was brightly lit and full of people and conversation and I might have to talk with them.  So I spent my time alone and at home.

I'd get home from work and not answer my phone or send or read texts.  I'd disappear from the world.  

It was in December 2012 that I began sliding into the depths, from simple depression to something more frightening.  I'd get home from work and would be so tired that I couldn't think.  Couldn't do anything.  I'd sit in the house, in the dark, and do nothing.  I'd sleep.  Wake, sleep.  Stay in the dark.  

Each week was more difficult than the previous week.

Around me, my house got messier, more chaotic.  Dishes piled in the sink.  Clothes, clean and dirty, everywhere.  Sometimes I just didn't have the energy to put the dirty ones in the hamper or the clean ones in the drawer.  So they stayed where they landed.

I sat in the dark.  I struggled through days at the office, counting the minutes till it was time to go home.  

And I slept.  Almost all the time.  

I struggled.  I told myself, "You're just depressed you know what to do to manage this."

I couldn't do anything.

One day, I wore dirty clothes to work.  One weekend, I too tired to take a shower.

Nobody knew.  

I've lived in a deep hole for a long time.  My world was getting smaller and smaller and I liked it. Well, I wanted it because the world was too bright and too loud and too social.  So I let my world shrink.

Nobody knew because I didn't tell them, I didn't ask for help.  I could rally my energy and get through the stuff I committed to do.  And I'd go home and sleep.

Obviously, you know I'm on medication now and getting therapy.  

Things shifted for me the day I went to work in dirty clothes.  I knew it wasn't getting better by itself.  It took me another three weeks to call my doctor and make an appointment.  Two weeks before I got in for the appointment.  

I'm still in a hole but it's not as deep as it was.  I've stopped avoiding public places.  I'm sleeping and eating like a normal person.

I don't think this diary has a point or an end because I'm not there yet.  Why I get depressed is probably the subject of another diary.  Yes, my brain chemistry is out of balance but why is it out of balance?  Medication helps.  For the first time in a very long time, I feel a little bit like my old self.  

I should end this diary with something - a call to action, a suggestion that you contact NAMI or your doctor if you suffer from depression or other mental illness.  I know that.  But I can't.  That's too facile.  I'm still too close to the depths and I'm not sure I could ask for help if I slipped back into them.  

Originally posted to glendenb on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 11:06 AM PDT.

Also republished by KosAbility and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (146+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gerard w, undercovercalico, roycej, JeffW, terrybuck, Pinto Pony, MKinTN, Bob Love, Carol in San Antonio, Zorge, jennyp, Remembering Jello, mkor7, hannah, Louisiana 1976, Horace Boothroyd III, wenchacha, wide eyed lib, CwV, swampyankee, TheLizardKing, SoCaliana, CTDemoFarmer, broths, lgmcp, marina, Mother Shipper, weneedahero, Polly Syllabic, paulitics, ladybug53, GDbot, bfitzinAR, Ree Zen, mwk, zerelda, chantedor, Vacationland, TheMeansAreTheEnd, Brecht, old wobbly, TiaRachel, HeyMikey, 84thProblem, Yo Bubba, SteelerGrrl, gustynpip, AnnCetera, blueoasis, Joy of Fishes, FarWestGirl, murrayewv, Mlle L, msdobie, Oaktown Girl, FloridaSNMOM, Kevskos, LynChi, postmodernista, cotterperson, pixxer, Lorikeet, akmk, Gay CA Democrat, johanus, radical simplicity, suesue, alice kleeman, liz dexic, carolanne, Aunt Pat, northerntier, codairem, No one gets out alive, annan, 207wickedgood, gmats, boofdah, Loonesta, silentpawz, Friend of the court, hwy70scientist, crose, ModerateJosh, The Free Agent, Texnance, ramara, NWTerriD, jan4insight, nuclear winter solstice, riverlover, splashy, KJC MD, Brooke In Seattle, Lilyvt, Powered Grace, Haf2Read, No Exit, Wino, linkage, Anne was here, jack 1966, MinervainNH, flumptytail, DawnN, Lujane, lurkyloo, Batya the Toon, Chaddiwicker, FindingMyVoice, Buckeye Nut Schell, scamperdo, RWood, karmsy, Cassandra Waites, Charles CurtisStanley, Apost8, Bernie68, Statusquomustgo, teabaggerssuckbalz, mbh1023, melo, my2petpeeves, mythatsme, The Marti, Dodgerdog1, madgranny, Eowyn9, eru, VictorLaszlo, StevenJoseph, Corvinus, EclecticCrafter, Papuska, begone, SherwoodB, Audrid, aitchdee, Creosote, Jollie Ollie Orange, JerryNA, micwazoo, Mrs M, Sharoney, MA Liberal, Jane in Maine
  •  Why are my eyes blue? (33+ / 0-)
     Yes, my brain chemistry is out of balance but why is it out of balance?
    I'm the only kid in the family that got my dad's eyes.
    I'm also the only one ( to my knowledge) that inherited the depression. Whatever it specifically is, it's very specific, and we've got the same thing- we share an excellant and clinically atypical unto freakin' weird response to the same SSRI. My first P-doc said he'd never seen anything like it.

    So, why are my eyes blue?
    Because I was born this way. I am what I am. My Dad and I share the eyecolor, the depression, and an ability to focus on task that is described as uncanny. We were both born this way.

    If you ever want to chat more privately about this kinda thing, Kosmail me.

  •  When it gets bad and everything seems bleak (27+ / 0-)

    I try to remind myself that the endless mill of negative thoughts is the depression talking, not reality. It doesn't always help but it does sometimes.

    Hang in there.

    P.S. I'm glad you published this diary.

    "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more often likely to be foolish than sensible." -- Bertrand Russell

    by wide eyed lib on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 11:35:32 AM PDT

  •  Keep us posted. (9+ / 0-)

    Personally, I think diet is super important. I have one son who is allergic to whole milk from Florida cows. However, if he buys organic milk, which presumably comes from somewhere else, he's OK.
    I cook most things from scratch and don't have any food allergies. But, I no longer buy store-ground ground beef. I buy stew beef and grind it myself after a couple of incidences of gastric upset.
    My brother- in-law almost died from ecoli because he waited too long before going to the hospital. His kidneys failed, but dialysis was enough to let them recover, once the doctors figured out what the problem was.
    It's possible that males discount gut problems because they are unfamiliar and females discount them as variations on the menses.
     If the body doesn't get proper nutrition, it is bound to get depressed. The brain requires a lot of energy. Have you ever noticed that an active brain produces more pee?

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 11:43:19 AM PDT

  •  I wish you the very best. (24+ / 0-)

    Depression is not a nice country to visit. You can misplace your passport back to the land of the living, and be stuck in depression for a long time.

    Recognizing the problem, and doing something about it, is a great start. You WILL feel even better than you do at this point. You can get back to a good place.

    Good for you to write it down and share it. Good for telling other people.

    Understand that it may dog you, maybe for the rest of your days, just like your blue eyes will not change. But having worked to diminish the power depression has over your life, you know you have the ability to do it.

    My depression is similar to yours, in that I can manage to put up a good front. I can laugh, find things funny, but still feel pretty sad inside. Medication helps, and therapy helps. My brother is bipolar, and he and I stay in touch and listen to each others' tears and frustrations. It helps to talk to somebody who knows what you are going through.

    Don't give up!

    •  I had depression big time in High School. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ybruti, wenchacha

      And no energy at all for weeks at a time.

      Luckily, in my early20's, a boyfriend refused to let me suffer with it. He took me to every specialist he could find. All of them said I was depressed over my 1st marriage failing. I knew I found that failure depressing, but I also knew that it was not so depressing that  it would keep me in bed, which was about the only place I wasn't feeling too dizzy to stand or move.

      Then I went to a poor people's clinic. A Korean doctor, rather new to the USA, and who couldn't talk to me in English very well, looked at me, said "Thigh bulge. This indicates hay fever." (Even though at 5'10', I weighed 115 lbs, my thighs still bulged.)

      He wrote a prescription for Sudafed, and all of a sudden, I had an answer and a solution.

      Offer your heart some Joy every day of your life, and spread it along to others.

      by Truedelphi on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 02:00:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for the warning... (15+ / 0-)

    I see how I can slip downhill now...without really knowing. I'll be on the lookout!

    Hope you can keep dealing with this. Good luck.

  •  Major depression depicted by talented cartoon (25+ / 0-)

    might interest you.

    Hang in there, hope things are turning around.

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 12:11:56 PM PDT

  •  Depression runs in my family (12+ / 0-)

    However, in my family, it manifests itself as anger.  Everybody was always so angry, so ready to fight, so ready to throw something.  

    Since everyone was like that, it never occurred to us this wasn't normal behavior.  

    I've been on anti-depressants now for over 15 years.  Taking my anti-depressants is no different for me than someone else taking their blood pressure medication.  

    Hang in there, take your meds, and take care of yourself.  

  •  Thanks, glendenb, I believe your diary will help. (11+ / 0-)

    And the cartoons by hyperboleandahalf express so much that just can't fit into words (at least not in English--but maybe could be expressed by the native tongue of some culture whose language is now forgotten.)

    The right of the women of this State to be secure in their persons against unreasonable searches shall not be violated by the State legislature.

    by Mayfly on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 01:40:55 PM PDT

  •  Bless you. Hope. (4+ / 0-)

    The majority of people with depression recover. I hope you will too.

    I encourage you to stick with exercise, especially in bright sunshine. The research on that is very good. And of course exercise will do you good in a lot of ways. Check this out:

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 02:23:06 PM PDT

  •  Thank you, and a link (4+ / 0-)

    Thanks for sharing, and glad to hear that you have turned a corner.  You've likely helped people by sharing.

    Here's a read about depression that I thought was also quite good.

  •  Glenden-- thank you so much for sharing (7+ / 0-)

    Depression is an insidious and common disease, and it can be deadly.

    My mother suffered from a combination of depression and alcoholism, and it killed her.

    Shining light on it is an absolute good, you've done your mitzvah for the day; no need to look for more. :-)

  •  I think the phrase that reverberated with me (14+ / 0-)

    the most strongly was to the effect that your world was getting smaller and darker and you liked  it.

    There's an odd level of comfort in being depressed when you're depressed.  You're so fatigued that it's impossible to imagine having energy, so it's somehow comforting to know you have none.  Your so sad, it becomes a comforting sadness because it's impossible to imagine being cheerful.  You become so antisocial it's impossible to imagine enjoying a party, so it becomes comforting to not want to go to one.

    I suffered a severe bout of depression years ago and somehow muddled through without any antidepressants.  I barely survived, but somehow pulled out of it.  I later obtained a prescription for a mild antidepressant when I mentioned to a doctor that I sometimes struggled with severe depression for a day or two before my period.  I take it if I feel a depression settling in.  Trouble is, I first try to convince myself I'm just having a bad day, week, month, whatever.  After all, no one is all happy all the time.  Then that sense of comfort sets in and I resist taking it because I know I can justify my lack of energy, desire to avoid social situations, etc. with my depression.  And since I can't imagine those things being gone, I feel like I need the depression to justify them existing.

    If it wasn't for my husband beginning to harass me when he senses I'm spiraling down, I suspect that sense of comfort would lead me to wait until it got so bad I became suicidal.  Just one more thing to be grateful to him for.

    Glad you got help.  I can assure you that things do improve, and all those things you were afraid you'd never have again will return.  And when they do, you'll have a hard time remembering how horrible it was when they were missing.

    Good luck!

    "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

    by gustynpip on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 02:58:58 PM PDT

    •  ^^^^^^This^^^^^^ (7+ / 0-)

      and this especially:

      There's an odd level of comfort in being depressed when you're depressed.  You're so fatigued that it's impossible to imagine having energy, so it's somehow comforting to know you have none.  Your so sad, it becomes a comforting sadness because it's impossible to imagine being cheerful.  You become so antisocial it's impossible to imagine enjoying a party, so it becomes comforting to not want to go to one.
      Life becomes an overwhelming effort. Drugs help. When they fail there are different drugs. Find the ones that work for you.
  •  thank you, and best wishes (8+ / 0-)

    I see myself in much of your diary, and also in the cartoon. The medical lingo for a large part of my issues is anhedonia -- difficulty with/absence of taking pleasure in anything. The Hyperbole and a Half cartoon describes it well ... too well.

    Methinks I'll have stuff to talk about with my therapist on Thursday.

    Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. -- K.Marx A.Lincoln

    by N in Seattle on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 03:23:13 PM PDT

  •  {{{{{glendendb}}}}} Glad you posted, many of (5+ / 0-)

    us have been there and many others will be. It's good to be reminded of both, so thank you for allowing us to touch base with you and sharing what worked for those who come after.

    Kosmail anytime you feel like it, but understand I'm not online every day, so it may be a couple before I get back to you, but I will.

    Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. ~The Druid.
    ~Ideals aren't goals, they're navigation aids.~

    by FarWestGirl on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 03:26:58 PM PDT

  •  I'm glad you decided (10+ / 0-)

    to publish this. You described the experience with heartbreaking accuracy. I'm sorry you're going through this, and glad you're getting treatment.

    My bouts with depression have also been "atypical" in that I sleep all the time and self-medicate with food, something I normally don't do. After 25 years of beating back this monster, I'm pretty astute at catching it before it starts to eat my life. Hubby's developed a good eye too.

    Depression is so much more treatable, and less stigmatized, than it was in 1988. Medications were limited and laden with horrible side effects, if you could even get a diagnosis better than "Cheer up, you're just homesick."

    Considering how sick I was at one time, it's pretty amazing that I've had no life-limiting symptoms for 7-8 years now. To me it's like diabetes, hypertension, thyroid problems, or anything involving the body being wired not quite right.

    My neurotransmitters tend to misfire, so I take medication to fix them. It's chemistry, not a character flaw.

    One last thing -- if you've ever tried or thought about acupuncture, I've found it very effective as an energy "reset" while you're waiting for more long-acting meds to take effect. I can actually "feel" it drawing out the stagnant energy under the depression and getting more positive energy flowing. That may sound woo-woo coming from an RN, but if it helps someone else it's worth sharing.

    Take care, be well, and let us know how you're doing!

     I can think of no more stirring symbol of man's humanity to man than a fire engine.     -- Kurt Vonnegut

    by SteelerGrrl on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 04:06:01 PM PDT

  •  thank you for sharing this (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SteelerGrrl, annan, flumptytail, DawnN

    Mine is bipolar disorder, but for a long time looked a great deal like depression. Your descriptions are so evocative, and are ringing familiar bells. So many of us deal with these conditions, and for me at least, it is so helpful to hear other people's experiences, both for the good advice that the discussions generate, and to 'normalize' what otherwise can seem really weird and scary.

    Anyone who scoffs at happiness needs to take their soul back to the factory and demand a better one. -driftglass

    by postmodernista on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 05:16:53 PM PDT

  •  Good for you! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alexandra Lynch, SteelerGrrl, DawnN, melo

    You've turned a corner. The hardest part is realizing you need help and asking for it. We are great deniers.

    I've been on medication and in therapy for thirty-five years. The more experience you obtain, the easier it will become to manage it. I've gotten to the point where I recognize the slippery slope when I see it, and can take action to deal with it much sooner.

    I see the pattern as much like cancer. Diagnosis, treatment, remission. Sometimes a recurrence, treatment again, and another remission. The more experience I get, the better my coping skills get. And recognizing trouble sooner and getting treatment for it.

    Depression is as different as the people who suffer from it. So are the solutions. Keep an open mind. For some of us it is a lifelong journey, but one we can manage. Like diabetes or high blood pressure.

    Pat yourself on the back for every step forward.

  •  Depression is common. Why? My pet idea... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alexandra Lynch, SteelerGrrl

    First, how common is depression?  I've read that 15% or more of the adult population has at least one episode that ought to be treated.  That's more common than red hair.  It's roughly as common as blond hair, or blue eyes.  We don't consider people with blue eyes abnormal, we consider them a normal variant.  So why would something as debilitating as depression get that common.  Why wouldn't evolution select it out?  I think it's because there must be some advantage associated with having it be so common.

    Consider a different debilitating problem, sickle cell anemia.  Having one copy of the sickle cell gene, sickle cell trait, confers a resistance to malaria without much damage to your health.  In areas where malaria is endemic, that resistance is enough of an advantage that up to 40% of people have one copy -- sickle trait. The 2.5% who get two copies and have sickle cell anemia are almost the ones 'sacrificed' for the good of the others.

    So how does depression help anyone?  There's no obvious benefit to the person who has it (though maybe there's some advantage for people who only have "depression trait" if I can coin an analogous term for a mild dose of the tendency to depression).  But I think evolution has optimized us for living in tribes of 50-100 people as hunter-gatherers.  The tribe had a use for the handful of depressed folks.
    Sleep disturbances and the common form of depression are pretty clearly two sides of the same coin; either probably contributes to the other.  Depressed people often have trouble sleeping; sleeping too much is less common.  A tribe of hunter-gatherers that spent every bedded down in the open or in makeshift shelters needed a night watch person.  Whoever in the tribe had depression would be a natural for the job.  Being depressed may not make him or her more likely to pass on his/her own genes to later generations, but he or she would make it a lot more likely that more of his/her relatives -- the tribe -- would pass on their genes in stead of becoming lunch for the lions or hyenas.  If you can't pass on your own genes, evolution favors helping your relatives pass theirs on theirs.
    As a doctor, most of the problems I treat seem to come from too much of a good thing.  In a way, depression may 'show up' because we have 'too much' safety -- or a lot more that evolution has optimized us for -- and don't need to worry about getting eaten by predators.  In general, it's a good idea not to treat someone who feels fine with medicines.  High cholesterol, high blood pressure, and milder adult onset diabetes are notable exceptions to that general rule, and I think all those conditions are from too much of a good thing.  (For high blood pressure that isn't obvious; but I think if you've got low blood pressure, and the night watch person wakes you up yelling "Lion!" and you need to jump up from your sleep and climb a tree, you might faint.  Then you become lunch for the lion, at a much younger age than if you got to wait for high blood pressure to catch up to you.  Maybe our physiology figures 'better too high than too low'.)

    Anyway, now we don't need to let 15% of the adult population suffer with depression just to recruit night watch folks.  So if you've got depression, you're not sick, you're just an unfortunate normal variant.  And be glad we now have treatments for you.

    This is my pep talk to get patients to take their medicines for diabetes, cholesterol, high blood pressure, and depression.  And between them, those are probably 80% of what I treat as a specialist in internal medicine.

    So don't think there's something wrong with you if you're depressed, it's a normal variation.  But don't leave it untreated.  We don't need you staying up all night to protect us from the lions.  There's no need for you to stay depressed for the good of the tribe!

    We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

    by david78209 on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 07:36:25 PM PDT

  •  Been there, done that. (7+ / 0-)

    Yes, and I didn't tell anyone either. Why? What's to tell? What could they do to help? I also live alone.

    About 2 months ago my Doc said, "you know, we have drugs to treat that" and offered me a teensy, tiny little dose of a generic antidepressant. Changed my life.

    Now I look back and think, WHAT was I thinking? We have drugs to treat that ...

    Thanks for your honesty. I am certain that helped somebody today, although they also probably live alone and haven't thanked you. Yet.

    "Let us not look back to the past with anger, nor towards the future with fear, but look around with awareness." James Thurber

    by annan on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 07:41:42 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for your honest diary :) (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alexandra Lynch, SteelerGrrl, DawnN, melo

    Glad you are getting therapy, exercise, and proper nutrition--things that are so important in getting well or at the very least, keeping depression under control.

    I've lived with depression for most of my life--as long as I can remember, in fact--and used unhealthy ways of dealing with it before I learned to deal with it in healthy ways. It is a long-term learning process and sometimes a struggle, but what's important is that, like you seem to be via what you've shared in your diary, I'm cognizant of when I'm in a depressed state and take the steps to get out of it. Talking with people and surrounding yourself with loved ones helps. Exercise, diet, lots of rest--those all help too.

    Hang in there and know that there are more of us than people realize who are allies in the struggle to overcome depression and live a full, productive, and truly happy life. Peace to you, and thanks so much for sharing your story. ♥

    "If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich." - John F. Kennedy

    by boofdah on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 08:10:50 PM PDT

  •  Trigger warning. Suicide, My aunt and PPD. (15+ / 0-)

    My Aunt suffers from Major Depression. I have vague memories of her hospitalization after she slit her wrists and my sister and I made crayon "Get Well Soon" cards with no real awareness of why she was "sick."

    She lived alone. She'd come to our house for Thanksgiving wearing dirty clothes and she smelled like garbage and my mother insisted she take a shower before Thanksgiving dinner.

    We never visited her. My mother knew why, but when my aunt said, "My place is too messy for you to visit," we had no idea.

    Years later, she had a stroke and a heart attack at the same time in her apartment in NYC. She was hospitalized and my sister and I were now adults.  We volunteered to go and clean out her apartment. My mother "couldn't do it again."  She had cleaned the blood out of the bathtub the other time and it was too hard.

    The layers of tobacco ash, garbage, dirty laundry, and take out were bagged and taken to the street.

    We found bags with old receipts and books she bought as gifts for my newborn that were never given. Bills never opened were discovered going back years, and years as we emptied the apartment down to the floor. When we started, you could not see the floor.

    When my wife started to do the same things my aunt had been doing, I had a brain freeze.

    "It's different." She's got a newborn - no time to open mail, check the answering machine, throw out garbage. Lots of naps are normal. Mother needs to sleep to make up for all of the late night feedings.

    "How's fatherhood going?"  People would ask.

    "Great! As expected." I'd answer, because I wasn't depressed. But, my new mother was crying a lot. Normal?

    Nothing was normal. Our whole life had changed.

    "You think I'm like your aunt because you're thinking about her."  Was that what she said, or what I said to my self?  I honestly can't remember.

    Being inside depression or right next to it makes you unable to know. Ultimately, we got help. My aunt did. My wife did.

    And I did.  I'm glad that the diarist did. I hope others will read these stories and see a light.

    Amazingly good things are possible.

    "Jersey_Boy" was taken.

    by New Jersey Boy on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 08:31:06 PM PDT

  •  This has been me (6+ / 0-)

    off and on for the last I don't know how many years. I am on 2 antidepressants that keep me even but there is little actual joy in my life. The only way my few friends "know" is because the drugs have stopped working--very common--and my mood gets increasingly grim. I have terrible knees on top of it and will have them fixed soon. I have become housebound because it is easier. I will shop online for the right screws rather than going through the kind of hell you described. I wish I could have life delivered!

    •  "I wish I could have life delivered!" (0+ / 0-)

      LOL...  wouldn't it be so much easier?

      but then what's the point?  to me it seems the only point to life is to live it the best way you can.

      easier said than done, i know...

      Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. - Gandalf the Grey

      by No Exit on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 07:33:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  On the flip side.... (5+ / 0-)

    I actually stopped taking anti depressants last year, about the time my long term relationship ended.  I began to consider that I wasn't depressed, that I was in a bad relationship. About the same time, routine bloodwork revealed that I was severely anemic.  Very very severely anemic.  That tired feeling?  I was really, actually tired because I had no iron in my system to speak of.  I could match you nap for nap.  I'm working on getting my metabolism back in order but my doc is actually agreeing that the diagnosis of depression might have been a misdiagnosis.

    Been off the depression meds for a year, still sleep quite a bit but I'm feeling much better.  B12 levels and Vit D levels were also alarmingly low but these have improved and I've been good about taking the supplements.  

    I think I now have the normal good days and bad days that most people have.  Worries over money.  Wondering if I'll be alone forever.  Some days dishes get washed, some days they don't.  But it all feels within the normal range.

    Encourage your doc to do other tests to rule out metabolic imbalances as a cause for some of your symptoms.  And feel better soon.

  •  I like shopping at night to avoid the crowds (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brooke In Seattle

    I hate the waiting for others to get out of the way, having to wait in line, and all the other hangups that come from all those people around.

    The people working in the stores are friendlier too when there's less of a crowd. In fact, the people working in the middle of the night are downright friendly and chatty.

    The only thing that gets us into town earlier is some stores close at 6. Otherwise it would be after 8 that we would shop, or even later.

    Happy to read that you are getting back into the swing of things.

    Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

    by splashy on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 02:58:22 AM PDT

    •  i hate shopping!!! (0+ / 0-)

      for anything.  online shopping has been a godsend.

      even for fun stuff, i can only take it for a little while before i want to tune the whole thing out and call it a day.

      Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. - Gandalf the Grey

      by No Exit on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 07:50:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  one thing you did was answer my question about (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SteelerGrrl, DawnN

    why is it so hard for me to a simple thing like go to yoga class. I was asking myself that yesterday as I drove to my favorite activity which makes me feel much better and gets me out of the house and yet every single time I have this stupid mental fight about "well maybe I just won't go...I could still turn around and drive home...but I'm always glad when I have...but...well maybe I'll just skip it..." I spend all day in a funk waiting to see if I'm going to get it together (and if I don't then I'm grumpy because I didn't and I could have done something else...).
         At one point my car broke down and it was a gift that one of the other students offered me rides. But then that was hard too...even though I am actually a very sociable person and do a customer service type job.
         If you add that to my houseful of piles of stuff dirty and/or clean, my fatigue...gee, I'm starting to get a picture here that was not the 'answer' I expected. Hmmm. I've always been an up-and-down person, but maybe I'm sliding further down than I realized.
        Back in Dec. of 2001 I experienced an actual depression that was very different than my usual demeanor. At that point I just didn't care. I was drained dry and all I could hear looping in my head was that awful Linkin Park song
    "I tried so hard
    And got so far
    But in the end
    It doesn't even matter
    I had to fall
    To lose it all
    But in the end
    It doesn't even matter"

    I didn't even know what the song was about, I just kept hearing that in my head. But I didn't care. And I didn't even care that I didn't care. I was totally emotionless and nearly catatonic. When I forgot to get out of the car at family Christmas, hubby realized there was more wrong than general malaise. But that one was much more situational and related to school and public events and it went away in the same sudden manner that it came on.

    I guess I'm saying all that because that is what I think of as "depression" and yet, perhaps the glaring question about why I can't find it in me to just do the things I really want to never mind the ones I have to is really related to a low-level depression. So thank you.

    I am having nutrition problems too, but should be healthier than I am considering all the good things I've been doing for myself. Just like Oregon Gal above, I had gotten so low in iron due to female problems that I needed 3 blood transfusions but had gotten into a state where I was "too whipped" to recognize it. But by now I am physically recharged- so I will research more about minor depression. Thanks again.

    meanwhile, I must say I snicker at the commercials that say "tell your doctor if you're having suicidal thoughts." The only time I had actual suicidal thoughts, was during that deep December depression, and at that point I didn't care enough about anything to a.) tell anybody anything, never mind tell a doctor  or (luckily) b.) get up off the couch and figure out how to kill myself and actually do it. Just didn't care.

    We are all pupils in the eyes of God.

    by nuclear winter solstice on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 03:18:58 AM PDT

    •  I am told that last point is very common (4+ / 0-)

      and is related to the worst truth about depression, which glendenb nails right here:

      The problem is that depression impairs the skills you need to deal with it.
      You're essentially being told to open a box with the crowbar that you will find inside the box.
      •  I am stealing this. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nuclear winter solstice
        You're essentially being told to open a box with the crowbar that you will find inside the box.

        "Jersey_Boy" was taken.

        by New Jersey Boy on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 10:45:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  That is a great way to describe it: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nuclear winter solstice

        For some time in my life, I was so afraid of anything, I didn't even open my letterbox. I knew that was stupid ... I was living on social welfare, and they would invite me to show up and present my effords to get a job, and if I wouldn't do that, they wouldn't support me anymore ... but I was too afraid to find a letter telling me so ... so I didn't look at my mail ... and I knew perfectly well this would only make things worse ... still I couldn't do it ... I was in a permanent state of panic and was on the internet or getting drunk just to avoid thinking about it ... it was so terribly difficult to talk to anybody about it ... thankfully I managed to go to a doctor who prescribed some helpful medicine ... sadly therapy has long waiting lists ... anyway, this is sort of uncoherent, I just wanted to say, this feeling of becoming upset and mad about oneself because you know and still can't do is terrible ... I guess I'm getting out of it slowly. I hope everybody else finds someone to talk to, too.

        "This isn't America" - Zenkai Girl

        by mythatsme on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 04:45:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Congratulations for addressing it (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    flumptytail, scamperdo

    As you implied in your diary, part of depression is simply not being able to do anything about it.  Life is simply overwhelming.

    Been there, no body knew, realized I needed help when I was actively planning on how I would off myself.  Got to the doctor, got on meds, came clean to family and friends.

    It's been about 7 years or so, and still struggle with it.  Just keep looking forward, keep people in your life that lighten your mood, and don't be afraid to let then know when you need some positive experiences.

    My best to you.

  •  The thing about advice is that it requires a doing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    scamperdo, mythatsme

    of some sort: get out in the sun, ask for help, talk to a doctor, whatever.

    And doing is not one of the choices while depressed. Especially for the many who live alone.

    A depressed person usually needs, but won't ask for, the cavalry: show up and ignore the messy house excuses - barge in and do the dishes, collect up their papers and find a CPA to file those 3 years of taxes, hold their hand while they phone for a doctor's appointment.

    Yes, intervention involves the risk of a rejection - or even the possibility of making a mistaken call (and depression can put on a very convincingly cheery public face), but I cannot tell you what it means to a depressed person to see a stack of clean laundry, or a stamped envelope for the overdue bill.

    If we do not permit the earth to produce beauty and joy, it will in the end not produce food, either. - Joseph Wood Krutch

    by DawnN on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 10:28:42 AM PDT

  •  It's the constant fatigue & sense of hopelessness (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that grinds you down. I know the feeling about feeling exhausted even after hours of sleep. You feel heavy all the time and just want to be left alone. Except for caring for my mom I'd likely just feel it's time to end things... as hopelessness is very hard to overcome.

    I'm glad you're getting help and will keep you in my thoughts as your very honest diary touched my heart.

  •  Oh, I've got that t-shirt. (0+ / 0-)

    Depression is horrible.  The funny thing is, you don't realize how bad it is until you get through it.  I too am on meds.  My third time now.  Fortunately, I respond incredibly well to SSRIs and am doing well.

    You can get through this.  Take your meds.  If they seem ineffective, don't give up, try a different medication.  They are all very very different.  I like zoloft.  Works great for me.  I cannot endorse effexor.  The side effects of that were nightmarish.

    Stay well, and be good to yourself.  You deserve it and can get past this.  It just takes a little work.  But be cautioned that it may come back again, very sneakily, as it has done to me.

    "Give to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself." - Robert G. Ingersoll

    by Apost8 on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 01:00:54 PM PDT

  •  Is depression root cause or symptom? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    scamperdo, melo

    After retiring and losing my Mother to a really ugly case of dementia all in the space of 30 days, I went into a tailspin and couldn't pull out. A recent diary I wrote details my own journey in the "Black Hole." In my own case, after trying an array of antidepressants (SSRIs) and therapy and finding that nothing worked, I asked my HMO for a psychiatric evaluation. The finding was that the root cause of the depression was ADD which I had had since ...ever.

    I mention that because depression is often the result of something else upstream and my suggestion is to have a complete psychiatric evaluation to see what's going on. There are obviously no guarantees that the magic pill will leap out and solve everything, but it's worth a try.

    A term familiar in the medical world but not well-known among laymen is "co-morbidity" which just describes the baggage that we carry along with the other psychological baggage that we drag along with us.

    My best wishes for your getting to the bottom of whatever it is that is keeping you off the rails. I know too well the dismal feeling of looking for the light at the end of the tunnel and seeing only more darkness...I just lapsed into apathy and didn't give a shit.

    I too found people not noticing...and often the false, clueless (but not ill-intentioned) reassurances..."You'll be ok. You just need to look on the bright side." Or "Other people have real should focus on how good you have it."

    Comments like that really made me want to avoid people and burrow deeper into my own little hole.

    Please get evaluated and this is really important: If whomever you seek help from is not seeing YOUR issues, is not resonating with your problems, then look somewhere else. You must have confidence in the professionals you see. Don't settle...go for what makes sense to you.

    My heartfelt wishes for good luck and lasting light.

    "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana

    by GEldridge on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 01:15:24 PM PDT

  •  Mahalo (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    All the symptoms you describe I also have. Just contacted my doc. Thanks. Good luck to you.

  •  Strangely, I almost envy you. (0+ / 0-)

    And most of the other commenters -- if only for their depression being, or having been, temporary.  You can distinguish depression from not being depressed.

    I'm in my early 60s now, and I cannot remember a moment of life without depression.

    My first suicide attempt was at age 9.  It was an affront to my mother.  Well, so was I.

    Though it's a major depressive disorder with suicidal ideations, no chemicals have ever beaten it or even restrained it for more than a few weeks.  And there are no psychiatrists or psychologists available within 50 miles of my house, even if I could afford the co-pays, which I can't.

    Having done well in life by most standards, I've found it best neither to complain nor to imagine anyone else would care.  It makes the solitude safe.  It keeps life safe.

    For the commenter above who has found some odd comfort in depression, I understand completely.  It is a known, something you can count on, something you know how to endure.  That's a real success, even if not many would see it that way.

    If it's all you've ever known, there's little incentive to reach out for change that will probably prove illusory in the end.  Experience is a hard teacher.

    (-7.62,-7.33) Carbon footprint 11.3 metric tons. l'Enfer, c'est les autres.

    by argomd on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 07:40:28 PM PDT

  •  Strength and healing to you (0+ / 0-)

    and to all who suffer with this. I have my own struggles with this and my physical disability is definitely caught up in it. I'm depressed because there's so much I can't do physically, and I'm not doing the things I CAN do because I'm depressed.

    I'm trying. I take my meds. I talk to a therapist. I exercise, reach out to friends. Some days I'm OK. I wish you, and all of us, more of those days.

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