I only ‘launched’ this blog 3 days ago and can already say that the feedback has been interesting and not quite what I expected.
People have been getting in touch with me to tell me their ‘story’. One person told me that my story was almost a carbon copy of his and another person who got in touch, he poured his story out in front of me. People who have suffered with depression and associated conditions, people who keep it to themselves, I think that when they come across someone who does speak about it, or just someone who has been through it, they ‘enjoy’ telling their story, getting it off their chest…I think it only comes out at these times because sufferers don’t think anyone, besides other people who have been through similar experiences, could possibly understand (and, I guess, they are right) and that can, and in my case did, result in feelings of loneliness, isolation and hopelessness.
Depression is out there, just as asthma and diabetes, heart disease and cancer is out there, the difference in the case of depression and mental illness being, of course, that sufferers tend not to talk about it.
…and this is strange for me, too…my ‘struggles’ have always been a personal thing, of course, although, unsurprisingly, my loved ones, those around me, also suffered – big time! It is very, very difficult for the sufferer’s loved ones! Yaf, my wife, says that when I was in Intensive Care, in an induced coma, and when she was told by the medical team that I would pull through (though I guess still unsure as to how fully I would recover), she would look at me lying in the bed and feel a sense of relief, relief that I was, finally, after months (years) of such intensity and torment, peaceful.
I have never shied away from talking about my depression but I have never put it ‘out there’ like this, so publicly! It has forced me to really confront the subject (not that it’s ever too far away!), it has forced me to question myself, to ask myself how I’m doing….
Dealing with clinical depression: there are 5 stages:
1) accept and acknowledge that you have a problem;
2) seek professional help;
3) accept the diagnosis – if the psychiatrist says you have clinical depression, you should no more ignore her/him than you would ignore a doctor if she/he told you that you have diabetes;
4) take your medication*
5) when you feel better, live your life, get on with it, positively and always be aware of your body and the alarm bells which warn you that you need to take your foot off the pedal (and take heed of those warnings)
* A lady I know who, I think, suffers from depression, she won’t take her medication because she feels that it will alter her, turn her into something she is not…my guess is that this is a common misconception but, certainly in my case, that is what it is, a misconception. My medication no more alters me, no more turns me into someone else than insulin turns a diabetic into someone else.
I take SSRI’s and beta blockers. The SSRI’s are antidepressants (and they help with my OCD). If I did not take my SSRI’s, the serotonin in my body, instead of sticking around to keep me happy, it would be ‘re-uptaken’ by my brain. The SSRI’s (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors) inhibit that re-uptake. So, it’s not a case of the antidepressants ‘changing’ me but of the antidepressants allowing me to keep being me! The beta blockers keep the anxiety attacks at bay.
The ironic element of this lady’s story is that she says she won’t take medication because she wants to be herself, she doesn’t want to change but ‘herself’, what she wants to maintain, is a depressed person who finds it hard to function so it’s illogical for her to want to stay like that…in my 5 point ‘checklist’ above, I don’t think this lady is even at number 1.
Well, there are some thoughts on this blogging voyage of discovery…
Have a good day!