Wordsmith Wednesday – Depression

Heavy topic, I know. Thing is, there are so many of us who suffer from depression that we can’t NOT talk about it. From those of us with the clinical kind to those of us with the situational kind to those who have loved ones in the grip of this monster, it’s a pervasive, crippling force that we all have to deal with. Shall we start with a definition?

 

via dictionary.coma condition of general emotional dejection and withdrawal; sadness greater and more prolonged than that warranted by any objective reason.

Until recently, I thought I had dealt with it since puberty. Looking back, I see that I was probably dealing with it long before that, puberty just ratcheted up the tension. At puberty I became aware of the possibility of suicide. Also, hormones. I have been in therapy, even been on medication. Unfortunately, the one time I found a medication that worked, my “doctor” decided that meant I was bi-polar and added an anti-psychotic to the cocktail. Hello, zombie hordes, behold your new queen!

I quit all the medication and therapy in disgust, feeling that the doctors working for county care didn’t want me to be well, just quiet. One good thing to come out of that time was overcoming the contemplation of suicide as an option. Because it is not. Ever. I’m not going to say that suicide damns your soul because to someone who is suicidal that just flat doesn’t matter. Here’s the cold truth. Your death won’t make the world a better place. In fact, it will make the world absolutely horrible for the people who love you. Yes, we exist. I include myself because even if I don’t know you, your death will break my heart. Why doesn’t matter.

Depression is a horrible ugly road to travel. The smallest thing can send us on a spiral down into an abyss of horror and pain. We can’t climb out, no matter how hard we try. Most days it’s all we can do to get out of bed in the morning. We pray for the Grim Reaper to show up and take us out of all this hurt even while we fear his appearance.

Here’s the good news. Just as the smallest thing can send us down, the smallest thing can also lift us up. The light at the end of the tunnel isn’t always a train. We can have good days.

 

How has depression touched your life? What do you do to battle your own demons?

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18 Comments »

  1. Good timing on this post, Gigi. 🙂 I can absolutely relate. In fact I’m just about to call my shrink & ask for an appointment to discuss my meds. We’ve been adjusting them recently as he and my regular doc thought they might be too high. Well, I’ve been down for a while now & I think we might need to increase. So frustrating.

    But one thing that does help me is simple – gratitude. Yeah, it was a buzzword for a while with people doing ‘gratitude journals’, but it works. When I actually look at all of my blessings, I’m stunned with just how amazing they are.

    And since I’m a 12 stepper, I’m big on HP (a Higher Power) who gives amazing gifts. Last night I had a dream about the kids I used to babysit which helped me wake up feeling warm & fuzzy. It’s not a cure but there are many bright spots out there. It just sometimes takes us a while to see them.

    xo Val

    • Gigi Salem said

      Gratitude is a big one. Maybe it is simple, but that just might be why it’s so powerful.

  2. I’m not against medication or pills, but I agree that they are not always the answer. I have been blessed to not have to deal wtih depression in my life, but the occasional anxiety attack sneaks in and my OCD can wear me down. It’s so frustrating, and at times there is just nothing you can do but sit down and breathe. Just know – that I’ll always be around for you! Even if you just need to talk about Eliot to lift your spirits. 🙂

    • Gigi Salem said

      Good Lord, Eliot. 😀

      Just knowing the world contains that much pretty helps! Also, Captain America. That was awesome, too.

      Seriously though? Breathing is definitely important. Sometimes, when I pray, I modulate it with my breathing. Focusing my attention on that in conjunction with the words, helps to curb the anxiety sometimes.

  3. Catherine said

    Been there. It still hovers in the background. A lot of mine was situational–when it struck hardest, I was at uni, away from home for the first time in my life, in a strange city that seemed to hate me. I self-medicated with ice cream a lot. But I learned not to listen to the voice inside that told me I was worthless, that no one loved me, that I was stupid and ugly. As I say, though, that voice is still in me, and every once in a while it whispers bad things in my ear–not so often now, but… yeah, sometimes.

    • Gigi Salem said

      It’s a tough voice to ignore. Sometimes it takes all we have to shove it in a box. I’m glad that you learned that you are not worthless. 😀 I think quite a few folk would agree that you’re a very necessary part of our lives. 😀

  4. Daniel said

    Been there. Done that. Beat it. (finally)

  5. wosushi said

    I’ve lost two people in my life to suicide and there are people close to me that deal with serious depression. It’s hard sometimes for people to understand that it is more than just being sad and that popping a pill isn’t always the right solution.

    Hoping for more good days than bad for you, and all those reading who may suffer silently.

    • Gigi Salem said

      Thank you. And yes, telling someone who is suffering from this sort of thing to “snap out of it” or “get over it” generally makes things worse. I get that a lot. Right now, the good is breaking even with the bad, and I’ll take it over the bad being more prevalent any day.

  6. Jillian Dodd - Glitter, Bliss and Perfect Chaos said

    This is a powerful blog post. I just signed up to follow your blog. I thought I had already, but I haven’t been getting updates, so I did it again. I had an aunt that committed suicide. She lived next door to us and her children were in high school when it happened. It devastated the family and her children are still feeling the sting of it almost 25 years later. It’s ripple affect was large. One daughter left her husband and children and ran away for awhile. The other two still wonder what they did wrong. If you think you don’t make a difference in someone’s life, you’re wrong.

    • Gigi Salem said

      Thank you.

      Yeah, depression is absolutely one of the most dangerous illnesses out there because it never affects just one person. Whether they commit suicide or just contemplate it. I just wish I could tell those daughters that it was nothing they did. And that they need to guard themselves against the same illness because it does tend to run in families.

  7. I am quite familiar with that road. I struggled with depression from 4th grade all the way through college and was probably suicidal for 50% of that. I had a lot of health problems and then some very bad family stuff happened when I was 15. I did counseling and medication (I also took myself off the meds when I realized they weren’t helping). It was a really dark time in my life, and you’re right, just one person being nice to me could brighten my day so much. Music helped. In fact, I just posted this past Monday the song that helped me survive my depression.

    I don’t struggle with it anymore. I’m not sure yet how to tell that story, though I think I will blog about it one day.

    This is a great post–open, honest, and vulnerable. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • Gigi Salem said

      Music absolutely helps. In fact, I did a post a little bit ago about how one song, sung by the right person at the right time helped get my head above water. Granted, I’m still treading water. However, as one of my favorite musicians (John Taylor from Duran Duran) has taught me, I need to “trust the process.”

      I look forward to that future blog, and thank you for your kind words.

  8. For whatever it’s worth, Gigi, know that there are a bunch of us who love you – even if we occasionally say something you think is wrong or offensive. No offense ever intended.

    I had a niece who committed suicide at 33, leaving a 13 yr old and two 11 yr olds who ended up with the worst stepmother since Cinderella’s. It was horrible for them and all the family.

    My stepson lived in perpetual depression until at age 38 he did three things: 1. Accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior, 2. Started seeing a Christian psychologist, and 3. Started taking paxil. I don’t offer this as a panacea for everyone (well, number 1 is), but it sure made a powerful change in his life. He hasn’t been the same since.

    God bless you, Gigi.

    • Gigi Salem said

      Paxil was the medicine that actually worked for me and made the doctors decide I was bi-polar instead of just having major depressive disorder. Because you can’t be well if you want to be active or pro-active. They wanted quiet little sheep as opposed to someone who wanted to *do* things.

  9. Brave girl. I think everyone suffers from a degree of depression at some stage in their life. It is different to different people. Everyone responds differently. At the times when I’ve been in depression I actually enjoy the feeling. I don’t want it to stop. I know it would be better to be having fun, but I don’t want the feeling to go away.
    But, for me, owning up and opening up has been one way to get out of it. The Fray’s How to Save a Life talks about Isaac Slade’s time trying to help troubled teenagers. One line in it is so true. “He stares politely back on through.” Portraying a veneer of normality and hiding the depression is (for me) the worst thing. Because you’re denying yourself the very thing that could help, facing the root causes you probably rather not face or admit. So, don’t stare back, eh?
    On a brighter note, I’d seriously recommend NOT listening to How to Save a Life, because (despite its greatness) it could depress a Smurf!
    Cheers

    • Gigi Salem said

      You realize that’s me almost all the time, right? Staring politely back on through? Yeah. 90% of the time that is me. I don’t see how I’m brave, though. I mean, I’m just saying things that everyone feels, yeah?

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