ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Depression: My Ongoing Story

Updated on February 1, 2013
Source

The Beginning


The air is beginning to cool as the early September day draws to a close. I sit on a blanket amongst the ruins of a picnic lunch. Squashed paper cups and bits of leftover food sit forlorn and unwanted. Friends who accompanied me are playing games beyond a screen of trees and I find myself alone within the drawing shadows. The birds I have watched with such joy have flown further into the forest and I can scarcely hear their song. My companions’ laughter and conversation are carried to my ears by a wind grown chill. I want to follow but somehow the birds and my friends seem so very far away.

And so, like a waning summer day, my mood begins to fade and I slide into depression once more.


I have fought with this misery since I was a small child. I can remember watching people laugh and wondering if they were pretending as I did. When I began at age eight to have full-blown panic attacks it was whispered that I was “nervous”. Later, as a teenager, the world and the people in it seemed to drift around me in an atmosphere so thick I could barely connect. The isolation I felt was excruciating and the fear I lived with was almost – but not quite – enough to make me give up.

I remember feeling responsible. I felt it was my job to keep track of everyone and everything; I needed to study everyone’s mood and know their routines. If I knew how you were feeling and what you were doing I could somehow keep you (and consequently me) safe. As an adult I have learned that my responsibility lies only with me; but old habits die hard and I still know who in every gathering is angry, who is fearful, and who needs to be watched. This hyper-vigilance is almost certainly due to the amount of violence I experienced as a very young child. I now know that hyper-vigilance is a symptom of post traumatic stress disorder but whatever the reason, it is one of my strongest personality traits.


Source

Coming To Terms

No one wants to admit they have a mental illness. The term implies straight-jackets, loony-bins and being locked away from the rest of the world. I have fought against that diagnosis for most of my life. I didn’t want to be the one who was different and so I pretended everything was just fine. Of course this only prolonged my diagnosis and any help from medication or therapy. I was told instead to buck up, put a smile on my face, and get on with life. God knows I tried.


Source

Did Booze Help?

I drank alcohol for a few years. It worked in the sense that for a while I was able to escape the confines of my mind. The strict rules I had constructed for my behaviour were thrown away and I partied hardy. But alcohol is a depressant and the mornings after brought shame, guilt, and worry crashing down. Our family’s genetic propensity for alcoholism eventually took over and it was years before I pulled myself out of that chaos. Meanwhile depression simmered and stewed within.


Source

Warning Signs

When darkness overcomes, isolation becomes the norm. It’s not that I don’t want companionship; it’s just that conversation is so very difficult. The words stick in my brain like insects caught in molasses and the effort to organise my thoughts is too much to consider. I am brusque. Questions are answered using the least amount of words possible. I have to pull my consciousness back into my sluggish brain in an effort to find the language. In this state I recognize that my soul and my brain are completely different entities.

I force myself to shower, brush my teeth, and comb my hair. I don’t want to look the way I feel but the mechanics of these tasks are enormous: select the water setting (is it too hot?), choose shampoo or conditioner (do I have the right one?), find the soap (is this mine or my husband’s?), rinse my hair (have I rinsed enough?), find the towel (is it clean?). As I think and re-think the answer to these questions my brain stumbles in exhaustion but the reality of living unclean is soul-destroying and so I falter on.


Source

An Ongoing Solution

It wasn’t until I sobered up and got a life that I realized nothing would change unless I made the effort to change it. There I was, living a dependable life with a husband who loved and respected me and still I couldn’t climb out of the abyss. Of course there were days when the sun would shine and all was well in my world, but those days were becoming more and more infrequent and the struggle to stay on the surface was becoming exhausting. I was tired of the fight and I was afraid. I didn’t want to leave and so I sought help.

Therapy promised a new way of interpreting and accepting life on life’s terms but I was also urged to take antidepressants. For years I believed that anyone who had to take psychiatric drugs was loony. My belief was incorrect. The problem was really my brain chemistry. I didn’t have the correct balance of chemicals that allowed for joy, clear thinking, and community life - just as diabetics don’t produce the correct amount of insulin. The antidepressants I now take help balance those chemicals.

Currently, my most prominent fear is that the medicine I take will stop working. This has happened in the past and I have to be aware of my moods. Depression is stealthy. It creeps up ever so slowly and before you know it you’re in deep, dark space once again. My doctor assures me that there are many more options out there and yet.....



Just For Today

I won’t pretend that I’m cured. I still struggle in social situations but the drive to interact is there. I enjoy people and, from my point of view, they seem to enjoy me. Writing can be difficult as my thoughts can sometimes scatter but I persevere. I am accepted and loved and most days I can own those feelings. Best of all my own emotions can come through clearly and I can accept myself and love fully in return.

If you also suffer from depression my greatest hope is that you do not give up. You are worth the struggle. You have much to give and you have much to receive. Talk to someone – even if you are afraid the words won’t come. Reach out.

A rich, full life filled with birdsong and companionship is there - just beyond the trees.


Comments

Submit a Comment

  • onegreenparachute profile image
    Author

    Carol 4 years ago from Greenwood, B.C., Canada

    Hi Vicki! What a coinkydink!! Before we lived in Greenwood we lived in Sechelt - Halfmoon Bay actually. It was a very nice place to live but the ferries and the rain drove us bonkers. We love living in the southern interior where it's hot, dry and you can get there without an expensive boat ride.

    I am doing very well, just not writing lately. Thanks for asking!

  • profile image

    Vickiw 4 years ago

    Hello one greenparachute, glad to see you again! I see that you are back in Greenwood now. I am in Sechelt. Still pretty far away. Hope you went away on vacation, and that you are feeling well.

  • kenneth avery profile image

    Kenneth Avery 4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

    Hi, onegreenparachute . . . .you, my dear ally, are welcome. I'm as close as my email if you need me.

    Peace.

  • onegreenparachute profile image
    Author

    Carol 4 years ago from Greenwood, B.C., Canada

    Thanks Kenneth. I appreciate your comments and the time you took to reply. I hope you have a fantastic day!

  • kenneth avery profile image

    Kenneth Avery 4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

    Hi, onegreenparachute,

    I'm sorry for being so slow to send you a personal thank you for following me.

    I am amazed at this hub. Great graphics, text and such an honest style of personal reflection. Keep it up.

    Here's my note of thanks since your profile page doesn't have a way to send you an email.

    Dear onegreenparachute ,

    I wanted to take this moment to just say, "thank you," for choosing to be a part of my world by following me in our hub work.

    Please consider this as a Sincere Thank You, for making my time on HubPages and in life worthwhile.

    Stay in touch with me for I'm always interested in what my followers are up to and, if any of my hubs offend you, tell me first and I will fix it pronto.

    Sincerely,

    Your Friend For Life,

    Kenneth

  • kenneth avery profile image

    Kenneth Avery 4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

    Hi, onegreenparachute,

    You are always welcome to hear the truth from me. Booze is not the comfort. Nor is drugs. I'm a Christian, but not religious. And from my studies, there has to be an after life.

    I'm holding on to my faith, but knowing that all things in life are for a reason.

    Thanks for the follow.

    Your friend for life,

    Kenneth

  • onegreenparachute profile image
    Author

    Carol 4 years ago from Greenwood, B.C., Canada

    Good Morning Kenneth - thank you so very much for your comments. I do appreciate you reading my hub and replying with such insight.

    I too have fibromyalgia and know what it's like to suffer that awful pain. I find that Cymbalta helps both the depression and the fibro. If you have read my Hub "How I Got Sober" you'll know that I tried that drug too - and what a disaster that was!

    As far as religion goes, I believe I would call myself Spiritual. I believe in God but not in religion. I believe we choose the lessons we need to learn before we come here and just maybe I chose depression and pain in order to learn about those life trials. All I know is that I'm thinkin' I learned those lessons well and, if there is a 'next time' I'll pass on those and opt for a whole lot of comfort.

  • kenneth avery profile image

    Kenneth Avery 4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

    Hi. I really enjoyed this hub. Simply because it hits home with me too. I am a sufferer of clinical depression since 2003, but long before that, I tried the booze, not so much drugs, but booze to help me cope. Not a smart thing. It only added to my depression.

    My depression, in singular sense, has many sides. If it were just ONE thing, I would be fine. One of the sides is that no one ever listened to me as a child, teen, and even worse, now as an adult.

    It's like being pulled in several directions each day of my life. On top of this, I am a sufferer of Accelerated Fibromyalgia and Neurothopy, that attacks the muscles, nerves, and mind. Depression doesn't bully me like it used to.

    I take too many painkillers and anti-depressants. Plus I am stubborn of heart. The standing-up to these three bullies, Accelerated Fibromyalgia, Neurothopy and Depression is not a cakewalk. Let no one of the celebrity status fool you, and that includes celebrity evangelists on TV, who "shear the wool of many dumb sheep," by telling them that "they" can be set free. Well, some maybe. I am a Christian who has felt, seen, and now know the truth.

    God CAN do what He pleases. The Bible even says this. He can heal the world if He chooses. But not everyone. I hear that God heals all, from these same televangelists who read letters from their contributors who say just by watching them, some poor senior citizen was SET FREE one morning at 2 a.m.

    Well, sir or ma'am, if you were indeed set free, let me assure you it WAS NOT the celebrity preachers. It WAS God.

    But as for me, I am still in the fight.

    I loved your work.

    And I invite you, if you want, to read some of my hubs and you will find humor as a way I deal with daily life. And then you can follow me as I have you.

    That would make me happy.

    God bless and keep up the great work.

    I voted up and all but FUNNY. There is not a thing funny about depression.

  • onegreenparachute profile image
    Author

    Carol 4 years ago from Greenwood, B.C., Canada

    It will take quite a while as we are living at our home in Apache Junction, Arizona right now. We will be heading home to Canada by the end of April and then it'll probably take a year to see a specialist!! Thanks for the encouragement!!

  • LongTimeMother profile image

    LongTimeMother 4 years ago from Australia

    I'm crossing my fingers for you. :)

    Please let me know how you go.

  • onegreenparachute profile image
    Author

    Carol 4 years ago from Greenwood, B.C., Canada

    Thank you LongTime! I very much appreciate your comments and your vote and will look into allergy testing for depression. Wouldn't it be wonderful if it could solve the problem!!

  • LongTimeMother profile image

    LongTimeMother 4 years ago from Australia

    Beautiful writing. Such an insight into a very real problem.

    I don't know if it helps, but since I've been talking to people about my adult daughter's unidentified food allergies and the difference it has made to her anger management, (I wrote a hub about it) quite a few of my friends who suffered depression have told me they've had food allergy testing and changed their diet. Might be worth exploring for you. :)

    Voted up +

  • onegreenparachute profile image
    Author

    Carol 4 years ago from Greenwood, B.C., Canada

    Hi Epigramman and thank you for your kind words. I appreciate them so much. I can relate regarding the financial stress. We are quite worried about that very thing. I have a fantastic husband and a cat to help me with it all and, of course, my antidepressants. Thank God they are working.

    We are living near Phoenix right now but plan on heading home to B.C. by the end of April.

    Blessings to you in Ontario!

    Carol

  • epigramman profile image

    epigramman 4 years ago

    Good afternoon Carol and I do admire your strength, bravery and courage in writing this. I too suffer from (situational) depression along with anxiety and I have high blood pressure.

    So your writing here is inspiring to me and it feels like a shoulder to lean on. I say I suffer from situational depression because of my financial status and I live alone without any family in this world but that said my two best friends are my cats and I live in my summer family cottage built back in 1956 by my mum and dad. It's been the 8 greatest years of my life living here and there are no regrets as I live 100 feet away from the greatest view in the world.

    It's so very nice to meet you my fellow Canadian and I am sending you good thoughts and good karma from lake erie time ontario canada 3:55pm

  • onegreenparachute profile image
    Author

    Carol 4 years ago from Greenwood, B.C., Canada

    Hello Again Seeker.

    Your reply is totally awesome and so encouraging. Thanks from the bottom of my heart!

    I read Elaine Aron's work and have found that I am also an HSP. It made so much sense to me! I basically thought I was just a nut case before reading her book, just like you!

    I was at a psychic development class this past weekend and it drained me so much I slept till 9:00 the next morning! I had forgotten to Ground before I left home so my energy was almost totally gone.

    Thanks again Seeker!

    Hugs,

    Carol

  • Seeker7 profile image

    Helen Murphy Howell 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland

    This hub is excellent but more than that it is moving, informative and spoken from the heart! For anyone who has ever suffered depression, and I certainly have, this rings so many bells for all of us. If you can, keep writing about your depression and anything else you feel is worth your while - this in turn always helps someone else.

    I was interested to read your perceptions as a child and how you did and still can perceive moods and atmospheres. I don't know if you have come across the personality trait called 'The Highly Sensitive Person'. This has been written about by psychologist Elaine Aron and might be worth your time looking at her site and doing the test for HSP's. The reason I'm saying this is because I'm also HSP and for years I basically thought I was just a nut case and anti-social, however, I couldn't believe it when I bought my first book written by this psycholgoist, it opened up a whole new way of looking at me and my life. If put in a link if you're interested - http://www.hsperson.com/

    I really enjoyed your hub and take my hat off to you for not only having the courage to write about it, but writing it in such a way that it will definately help so many others! Voted up!!

  • onegreenparachute profile image
    Author

    Carol 4 years ago from Greenwood, B.C., Canada

    Hello Again Eddy - Thanks so very much for your comments. I am blessed with a 'never give up' attitude that keeps me strong.

    I also thank you so much for sharing my hubs. Traffic is up and it's all due to you. I'll forever be grateful.

    Hugs,

    Carol

  • Eiddwen profile image

    Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

    You may suffer from depression but you also have a strong and giving heart which will be your saviour. To be able to share your story to help others is a wondrous gift and I so look forward to reading so many more of your hubs. Have a wonderful day.

    Eddy.

  • onegreenparachute profile image
    Author

    Carol 4 years ago from Greenwood, B.C., Canada

    Vicki - thank you so very much for your kind words. They are very much appreciated.

  • profile image

    Vickiw 4 years ago

    A wonderful piece of writing - I am sure it will more than meet your goal of having others understand the pain of depression. I don't know what the stats are on this, but I imagine there are many more people who suffer from depression than we realise. Keep writing - you are very talented.

  • onegreenparachute profile image
    Author

    Carol 4 years ago from Greenwood, B.C., Canada

    Hello DJ - thanks so much for your very kind comments. It's gratifying for me to realize that someone else could really understand something I have tried to explain. One of those OMG moments!! Blessings back.

  • profile image

    DJ Anderson 4 years ago

    Onegreen, I don't know when I have read a more informative, and insightful writing on the darkness of depression. You have learned and named many of your 'demons'. Kn0wledge brings light into the dark recesses of the mind. I admire that you had the determination to seek counseling and medication to treat your depression.

    One of your symptoms hit me right between the eyes.

    Hyper-vigilance. Yes, I know it all too well.

    My hat is off to you for having the courage to reveal the insecurities that go along with depression. You may feel like you are stripped naked, but you have only laid bare the pain of depression and have given hope to those who are trying to rejoin their soul with their mind.

    Thank you for this hub. It will reach more lives than you will ever know.

    Blessings to you.

  • onegreenparachute profile image
    Author

    Carol 4 years ago from Greenwood, B.C., Canada

    Thank you Klarawieck, I very much appreciate your comments and especially your prayers. I'm so glad you came to an understanding of your mother's illness. What a blessing!

  • profile image

    klarawieck 4 years ago

    My sisters and I had a hard time understanding our mother's depression. She died from cancer and did not put up a fight as we all expected her to do. It was on her birthday last year that I had a revealing dream where she showed me what her depression felt like. I saw myself in her bed as if I were her, and I couldn't move. I could feel the people talking around me but I couldn't respond. I felt as if I'd been trapped in a tornado of noise and chaos. There was a strange buzzing sound that pulled me under. And I was trying to bring my hand close to my face to scratch the tip of my nose (something my mother used to do as a habit) and I could only move in slow motion. That's when I understood what it felt like to her, and after that day I forgave her for not having sought the help she needed at the time she began to feel the symptoms. :-(

    I am praying for your health, and I wish you all the strength in the world as you put up a fight against depression. Many blessings!

  • onegreenparachute profile image
    Author

    Carol 4 years ago from Greenwood, B.C., Canada

    Thanks Bill, I very much appreciate you reading and commenting on this hub. I was a little anxious about publishing this as it kind of strips me bare. Very few commented but I'm glad you did.

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

    What a very honest hub! Bravo! Thank you for sharing what was most likely a very painful experience, and is still a struggle at times. Bringing this to light could well help someone else and for that I say thank you!

  • onegreenparachute profile image
    Author

    Carol 4 years ago from Greenwood, B.C., Canada

    Hello Dolores - yes, your're right, I am a fighter. Although I tend to be a lone wolf I do make sure I am amongst people - especially in the outdoors. My very favourite spot is on the grass, beside a stream and under a big 'ol tree. Heaven! Thanks for stopping by.

  • Dolores Monet profile image

    Dolores Monet 4 years ago from East Coast, United States

    Hi greenparachute - one of the things that I got from this was that you are a fighter, that you have enough self respect to continue on, doing what you need to do, reaching for the light. Even though it's a struggle, you make sure to do the things you must. Like Nell up there, I feel as if many people with mild depression need sunlight and fresh air, that a vitamin D defficiency can lead to depression. I think that depressed people become so enmeshed in their suffering, they erect a kind of wall between themselves and the world. Getting out into the natural world can take you out of yourself.

    I hope you find the right combination of therapies to help you live a happy life. You deserve it!

  • onegreenparachute profile image
    Author

    Carol 4 years ago from Greenwood, B.C., Canada

    Hi Nell, I appreciate your comments very much. Clinical depression is just another way of saying 'major depressive disorder' which is another way of saying that you're not 'just feeling blue this week' ! LOL But I'm feeling good now and want to say that I wasn't looking for sympathy but rather hoping I could help someone who doesn't have depression understand, and those who do have it to keep chugging along. My Nisga'a name is Hax Waa Ksakw - which means Never Gives Up. I won't. Thanks for stopping by. :-)

  • Nell Rose profile image

    Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

    Hi, I really feel for you, my brother is going through exactly the same thing, in fact he has been like it for years too, I don't get the clinical depression, but your line: In this state I recognize that my soul and my brain are completely different entities) sounds totally familiar to me, I had a bad thyroid and when I was too high or low I felt exactly the same, so yes I do understand, I know it doesn't help depression or maybe it does I don't know, but taking vitamin D helps in the winter because of the lack of sunlight, I have just started taking it in cod liver oil tablets so hopefully it will stop me getting the SAD symptoms of winter, take care, nell