I am an open book… I’ve disclosed many private thoughts, fears, hopes, disappointments and I’ve shared information that I didn’t particularly want floating around in cyberspace. I’ve discussed my childhood, the difficulties of parenting teenagers, divorce, living on a reduced income, my anger toward corporate America, my relentless crush on Colin Firth, and I’ve discussed my passion for books, art and theater. I’ve shared more information than anyone could aspire to indulge in regarding myself.
I have however avoided certain subjects for various reasons. Although depression is not uncommon, I have always felt there is a stigma attached to it, which is why I haven’t discussed my personal history regarding that subject even with close friends, but who cares. This is it.
I had my first serious bout of clinical depression around the time I turned 30. I’d gone through less crippling bouts of depression prior to this, as far back as my teens, but this time was different. I was trapped in a black cloud. I remember thinking- “This cloud is following me, and it doesn’t matter where I am, or what I’m doing, or who I’m with, the cloud is still there.” The feeling progressed. Eventually, I felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. I couldn’t take a deep breath. I couldn’t stand up straight, and I definitely couldn’t make eye contact with people because that would set me off, crying. I cried uncontrollably more and more frequently. I felt I had weights strapped to my arms and legs.
I had no idea what was wrong with me. My life was good. I was married, had a decent job and a house, there were no financial hardships, no recent deaths or life events that I could attribute this feeling to. The feeling had no origin, so I couldn’t solve a problem to make myself feel better. Around this time I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in a while and she said: How’s it going? I started crying and said: “Everything is great, but I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I can’t stop crying.” I’m sure I scared her. She told me to talk to a doctor. I didn’t.
Not long after, a co-worker asked me the obvious; was something wrong? We started talking. She described having felt the same way I was feeling, after the unexpected death of her sister. Add guilt to everything I felt already. She suffered a real loss. I had no excuse to feel the way I felt, but she was listening, and seemed to understand, so I kept talking. I wanted the pain to stop.
I told her that my garage was tempting me. I’d drive into my garage when I got home from work and close the garage door, roll down the windows and leave the car running a little longer each day, thinking this would be an easy way to die. Every time I started my car, I’d keep the door closed longer and longer. It was getting harder and harder to turn off the car or open the garage door. I wanted to let the exhaust take me away from the pain.
That night, I got a call from a physiologist who worked with my union. My co-worker had turned me in. I felt betrayed, embarassed, and cornered. I was forced to get help. She actually saved my life. It was a long process which included medication, but I eventually pulled myself together, and the sun did come out again. If you’ve read my poetry, you know I have an occasional dark mood, but that’s not where I live anymore.
Some facts about depression:
• 9.2 million Americans have major or clinical depression.
• 70% of individuals with depression have a full remission of the disorder with effective treatment, and yet two thirds of people suffering do not seek treatment.
• 80% of people who have sought treatment have significantly improved their lives
• The economic cost of depression is $30.4 billion a year, but the cost in human suffering can not be measured.
• By the year 2020, the World Health Organization estimates that depression will be the number two cause of “lost years of healthy life” worldwide.
• According to the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC), suicide was the 4th leading cause of death for adults ages 15 to 64 in the United States in 2013- over 41,000 deaths.
• Women experience depression about twice as often as men.
Symptoms of Depression:
• Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
• Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
• Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
• Irritability, restlessness
• Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
• Fatigue and decreased energy
• Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
• Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
• Overeating, or appetite loss
• Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempt
• Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment.
Everyone is different, not all people suffer in the same way. If you are suffering, my advise is to go to your doctor, and start talking. When you are in the throws of depression, taking that one step can seem insurmountable, but it is the way to recovery.
My co-worker did everything right. According to the National institute of mental health, if you know someone who is suffering you should:
• Offer emotional support, understanding, patience, and encouragement.
• Talk to him or her, and listen carefully.
• Never dismiss feelings, but point out realities and offer hope.
• Never ignore comments about suicide, and report them to a family member or doctor.
*photo credit~ web MD _______________________________________
The Daily Post, May 28, 2015, Daily prompt: A Mystery Wrapped in an Enigma~ Tell us something most people probably don’t know about you.<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/a-mystery-wrapped-in-an-enigma/”>A Mystery Wrapped in an Enigma</a><a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/a-mystery-wrapped-in-an-enigma/”>A Mystery Wrapped in an Enigma</a>