Year of Renewal. That’s what my theme for this year is. In reality that’s a theme for every day. For someone who has days that are very routine oriented, who needs days that are very routine oriented I surprisingly find myself starting over a lot.
Just when you think things in your life are possibly, just possibly on the right track—Boom! But that’s okay. If you look at my life, I’m kind of accustomed to things never being quite where I need them to be or like them to be or maybe it’s just that life is not where I expect it to be.
Talking About Depression.
First off, I am going to say that everyone is different. No two people have the exact same things about their depression. They may be similar enough to be helped but they are all unique. Also, how they are helped will vary. What I discuss here today is about me and what I know and have discovered through my adventure through this thing we call life.
Depression is something a lot of people think they understand. A lot of people are wrong. For me, a conk on the head, the loss of all my memories, and a ton of pain without ceasing plays havoc with my abilities to cope at times. Don’t get me wrong, I do fairly well. Sure, I talk about depression and life situations at times, actually not near as much as I once did, but I do so to share with others so they can see there is a bright spot, a way through, an ability to overcome. I do so in order that people who don’t understand can understand about someone in their life that may suffer from depression. And by the way, I can’t stand the word cope, but it might pop up at times today.
Tell Your People It Happens.
For those of you who do suffer from depression know that life is not over. That’s something to tell those who support you and give you sympathy to the point of enabling you to be depressed even more often. That makes it sound as though depression is something one can turn on and off like a garbage disposal. No, but once you are in a bout of depression what is your motivation to come out of it if those around you are doing nothing but giving you pity?
That being said, you do need time to handle it. And no one, no matter what, can force someone out of a true bout of depression. I am not speaking of sadness, I am speaking of depression.
Being Mr. Positive about my life is a pain in the backside at times. Don’t get me wrong, I am fine. I really am Mr. Positive. I’m not dead. I could be and probably should be. But I’m here rambling away. But let me tell you one thing about depression.
For those of you who experience depression I’m here to say I know how much it sucks. There is a line you are trying to not be sucked over but the quicksand of that part of your mind just keeps pulling you in. We all get jerked over that line. And let me tell you folks who haven’t experienced depression, I’m not talking about grief and sadness, you do get jerked over that line. One moment you are fine and the next it’s literally like a switch has been flipped. One moment one side of the line, next moment the other side of the line, yes, sucked over. Sucks. I used that word for a reason after all.
When I enter the suck zone I am fortunate that I can come here and write about it in some form. Normally it’s a poem. I don’t feel poetic today. In fact my long form poetry may be on hiatus for a while. I’ve been struggling lately. As an example there are times when I open a page to type and the tears begin. It may even be my opening email to write someone and the tears begin. It doesn’t matter what I am writing, they begin. But how do I keep going? I want to go into me for a bit more here and I will tell you later on how I keep going. But now a bit about the for real me.Because me is the best example and the most thorough example I can give.
- Retrograde amnesia – Meaning I don’t remember people or events prior to my fall other than my son.
- Short Term Memory problems – There are times I won’t remember from one hour to the next something. There are even times I won’t remember something from 5 minutes ago.
- Fibromyalgia – which consists of things such as Chronic Pain and Chronic Fatigue.
- Osteoarthritis – of the entire spine with a narrowing of the spine at the base.
- Migraines that do not stop but only vary in intensity.
- Light sensitivity.
- Sound sensitivity.
- Problems with crowds.
- Not allowed to drive.
- Recently fell again and hit my head again.
- Cannot do math to save my life.
- Crippling hand pain where I end up using pencils to type with, or my knuckles or try to use voice to text programs.
- No off switch to the brain. Most of the time I can’t stop thinking and just have to fall asleep from exhaustion.
- Herniated discs in neck and other parts of spine.
- Slowly becoming a recluse without actively trying.
For those out there who are professional therapists or whatever, I am not using these things as identifiers but simply as contributors to something I am talking about. I identify myself as positive, constructive, and creative things. So don’t fret and chill a bit.
That’s a list of some of the problems I have. There are other things related to them I have and also those caused by the medications I must take but I don’t want to take up the whole article with all of that. One thing happening right now is as I type these words it feels as though with each keystroke I am jamming my fingers into nails and needles. But my escape from all of my troubles is writing.
It Isn’t Pretend.
Looking at that list, do you think my bouts of depression are simply moments I want to just wallow in self-pity? Or do you perhaps see things that can overwhelm someone to the point of breaking for a short time until recovery takes place? I admit if you are having a bad time in life sometimes you do want to just wallow in that downer time, acknowledge, and own it and then move on, but that’s something completely different.
Look at an athlete. Let’s say you have someone participate in the Iron Man Triathlon. Following that event, after pretty much every muscle group has been used and spent, they need a time to recover. No one questions that. Well, the brain can be exhausted as well by various stimuli that force it to work overtime and then it needs to shut down and recover. So think of depression as the after effects of a mental marathon and the time it takes to come out of a bout of it is that cool down, rub down, and however much rest needed to recover from it.
Another aspect similar to the Triathlete is exhaustion. Depression is so mentally draining you feel like you can barely move. I compare it to having the flu. You do not want to move. For me it intensifies the physical pains because I am not able to put my mind on other things. I focus on me and notice what is wrong with me more. Normally I do everything possible to ignore the pain.
The True Silent Killer.
In addition to the list above depression is also part of everything. It goes along with the memory loss and the Fibromyalgia. Oddly, Fibromyalgia is not a life threatening illness. The depression part of it is. Just call the life threatening aspect a side effect.
Although the brain takes over and will shut everyone and everything out, at some point I’ve learned to handle things for the most part and take preventative measures. I partly do this by closing myself off from negative stimuli as much as possible. Those negative stimuli primarily relate to the media. I am also fortunate, in a way, that I spend my days in a little room typing away at writing novels, articles, and interviews a good portion of my waking hours and can just crash whenever the pain is too much or the Chronic Fatigue hits. This also helps with some of my physical ailments and allows me to be able to function at least somewhat normally, or at least appear to do so for my son.
Something people don’t understand about the seclusion part during a bout of depression is, it isn’t intentional or something I am even aware of until afterwards. My mind takes over to heal itself.
But then I get slammed by something. In those moments I shutdown and I don’t just mean my laptop. My brain shuts down until it can handle it. With the responsibilities here in Blog World I am not able to shut down as much as I need to but then again work is work. Responsibilities are responsibilities and when you agree to do something then you do it.
Amnesia is an unusual part of the package in my life. Throw in the short term memory problems as well. There are things I don’t remember at all from before my accident. Let’s be completely honest, as far as people, you could probably number them on one maybe two hands. That’s out of decades of my life. I’ve learned to mange that at times, but it does overwhelm as well. No matter where I am a wave of not knowing will sometimes hit me.
Now to the short term memory problems. Here in my home it is not as much an issue because people simply work with it or around it. Well, most of the time. Thus the need for routine. For breakfast I have about two options I make. Two for lunch and for dinner I eat what I am given or if not given anything I revert to one of my lunch options. I was never one for enjoying the same thing over and over, or so I am told, but now I eat the same thing. There have been days where I had the same thing for each meal and didn’t know it. It’s one way to save on the grocery bill.
But how does short term memory problems contribute to my depression? First of all, I don’t remember things from a short time ago, even during the same day. But the biggest problem and really it is part of the first problem is people. I am accused so often of neglect by people. Why do you not talk to me? Why do you ignore me? Why did you stop being my friend? Why are you a jerk? Why have you made my life so upsetting?
Now, as time goes by I develop ways of dealing with these messages. I file them in the T folder. Yes, that may sound harsh but the truth of the matter is if a person does not know me well enough or cares enough about me to understand my situation well enough to, and I hate to say this, just go with it, then there isn’t anything I can do about it. If I remember I remember if I don’t I don’t. And one sure fire way to guarantee me not remembering is to send a message including phrases like those in the previous paragraph. You may tell me you were the most important person ever to me. I don’t know my mother or my father. The only member of my family I know is my son. Step back and reflect on that for a moment. Put that into perspective.
But those that persist trigger the depression, they tip my brain over that line into the suck zone. The exhaustion zone. The I ain’t here no more zone.
And the saddest part of it all is it’s not about me. It’s about them. They will never recognize nor acknowledge they have anything to do with it. Nor will they simply accept whatever the new way things are and go with it and leave the petty remarks in their pocket.
For some people they deal with a combination of everything I go through and then go to work each day. Imagine having depression and not being able to tell your boss. It’s not something you can control, and it may not even interfere with your work but guess what happens when you tell your employer. A great deal of the time you end up with a label, a stigma, a pink slip, a demotion, a new job at home without a paycheck but done so in a manner as of it being downsizing or they suddenly find all these things that have never been wrong with your job performance before. So guess what? Handling depression gets even more difficult. Yes, it’s difficult for me for certain reasons and it’s difficult for others for other reasons.
Do you want to know what the biggest problem with depression is? People. People not treating you as a person and just letting you do what you need to do to work through it. I have people who think talking a lot will help me. Okay, so I am depressed, my brain has shut down. It simply wants to rest and you then want to get in my safety zone and turn on the fake happy and talk like a crazy clown?
I’ll end that part of things there.
So what do I do?
What do I do beyond medications and preventative shutting out of the negative parts of the world? I turn to God. I have medications for pain, migraines, and I think one that does a double duty job on something plus is also a depression thing. It’s not specifically for depression but one of the alternate uses is for it. But all of those things together don’t work. Pain is still there and life goes on. The one thing that can bring me peace of mind and put me on an even keel is the Word of God.
One of my favorite verses, one I have shared before is “He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”~Psalm 46:10
You see there isn’t really a specific verse that says “If you are depressed do this.” Instead the Bible tells us what to do as an everyday practice.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”~Philippians 4:4-7
And I know there are other verses about praying without ceasing and the like.
That’s tough. Let’s not sugar coat it. Let’s not make it sound easy. When you are being torn apart in the middle of a bout of depression it is difficult to find the energy to even say a prayer. I won’t lie to you about that. But you don’t have to. You see, I know my Bible. Oddly that is something I didn’t forget. I don’t HAVE to necessarily say a prayer or even praise God in the way you are thinking to be pulled out of depression or be made at least at ease enough to ride through it. Knowing God is there is enough. Since I believe in Him so strongly, just the thought of Him is enough.
A Year of Renewal. Plans don’t always work out the way you think. I think having that word Renewal is appropriate. This isn’t a tips article. It’s what I do to survive. It’s what I do to find peace. And with that in mind, this will be my last article on this subject or these problems. If you ever find yourself with questions, refer to this article, I’ll even put a link to it on my About page.
Be seeing ya,
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