But You SEEM Fine…

depression

I’m going to switch gears today, and be a little more serious. At least, I think I am. It’s actually a little hard for me to tell how things are going to come out until they have started coming out, but the subject matter is certainly a little more serious. I want to talk about depression. Have you ever been depressed? Like, REALLY depressed, not “OMG, I am so depressed, those shoes that I wanted at Kohl’s were totally sold out by the time I got there” depressed? I am talking about “Holy shit, I forgot to take a shower or change my clothes for like four days” depressed. (See, I am trying to be serious, and I am still so darn funny! What the hell?) And you might be thinking “I have never been depressed, but I have seen my mom-best friend- husband- sister go through it…” Well, that is awesome, and we have all seen someone go through it, but let me tell you, unless you have gone through it yourself, you have no idea. Because, even when you HAVE gone through a bad bout of depression, even knowing what it’s like, when you see someone else going through it, you still want to say stupid shit to them like “You need to get out and get some exercise!” or “You just need to do something fun, and you will feel better!” or “Try to look on the bright side.” And that is how the person you are talking to knows you have no fucking idea what you are talking about. It is also when you better be glad they are so depressed and lethargic, because otherwise, they would be kicking your ass right now, or stabbing you in the neck with a pencil. Then, they would no longer be depressed, they would be exhilarated, and Voila! You just helped make a serial killer! I hope you are happy. Just kidding. My point is, people that are legitimately depressed already know they would probably feel better if they got up and did stuff, it’s just really, really, hard- if not impossible.

See? My problem with depression is exactly that, what I just did in the paragraph above- I make jokes about everything, and I laugh, and other people laugh with me, and then they can’t possibly take me seriously. I mean, funny people aren’t depressed, right? I don’t want to be a total downer here, but I would like to point out that Robin Williams was pretty fucking funny. I’m not saying I am that funny, I’m just saying he was, like, THE funniest- and we all know how that turned out. My point is that, if you look at just the cast of Saturday Night Live, historically, funny people are some of the most depressed, most mentally ill, most fucked up people out there. And they have a really hard time with it. I can still be funny, and be doing less than well. Clearly, I also have a bit of an ego problem, (you must be thinking, as I just compared myself to the Gods of funny-ness) but that is a blog for another day.

I am trying really hard right now to organize my thoughts so that I can fit everything in here in a cohesive manner, but I get excited about what I am trying to say, and I don’t want to lose anything…hold on. Okay. So, here is what I think: I think there are all kinds of levels of depression. For instance, after I had my last baby, I experienced horrible post-partum depression, and it blew the socks off of anything I had known before or since. Like, I was so depressed, forget about showering or eating, altogether- my biggest concern was the fact that , not only could I never imagine feeling happiness or joy ever again, I believed that all my memories of being happy were completely made up. So, I was so depressed that it even affected my belief that happiness ever existed. That is pretty scary. That is, like, Top Shelf Depression. The depression issues I have dealt with since then have all been drug related, or at least, interfered with, if not caused totally, by my out of control drug use. So the easiest way to “cure” those episodes was to quit using drugs. Easy-peasy. (not really, but you get my drift)

This time is different. I am not using drugs, so there is no quick fix. Further complicating the issue- I won’t take anything pharmaceutical. I might if this gets really out of hand, but I am definitely not to that point yet. There is something called “Post Acute Withdrawal” that is a fun little issue unique to recovering drug and alcohol users that basically means you are a total mess for up to two years after getting clean, and I have considered that this may be part of what I am experiencing. For the record, I was calling it “Post Traumatic Withdrawal Syndrome” until my neighbor pointed out that it was “Acute” and not “Traumatic”, and I feel my title is more accurate, but whatever. So, there could be an element of that, for sure.

The weirdest part of all, this time, is that I could feel the depression coming. Thanks to my clear head, I didn’t just come to one day with the overall sensation that mankind is doomed, and that everything in life is pointless, I could feel the subtle changes within me that said “Ugh, something sure doesn’t feel very good here.”, and I was nervous that those feelings would grow, and they have, and here I am. Now, my big question is- what can I do about it? I won’t take anything (right now) and I am not just going to let this dark cloud descend…so what do I do?

Well, the first thing I am going to do is talk to my therapist about it. I have an appointment tomorrow, and I am going to sit close to a box of Kleenex and let it all out. Then, I am going to ask her what ELSE I can do to nip this in the bud. She is super cool, and, even though she is younger than me, I totally like her. She always gives me photo-copied lists of information when I see her, and I joke that she is only encouraging my hoarding tendencies. I like, though, that she sees through my joking to what is beneath it. So I will talk to her. And hopefully, we can come up with a plan.

And this morning, I am going to try to look on the bright side, and take my dog for a walk, and hide the body of the person who suggested it. Just kidding.

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7 thoughts on “But You SEEM Fine…

  1. I love your writing! I agree that unless you’ve been there, you can’t truly understand, though learning more and trying to understand, definitely makes you better equipped to support. I agree with your point about comedy and depression as well. I think lots of people use humour as a mask and a defence, and it worries me in particular when professionals fall for it. After I had my first baby I was told I couldn’t have post natal depression because I had managed to retain my sense of humour ie I still managed to cracking the odd joke in public….I was going to work with a smile on my face in January, when I was scoring 27/27 on the PHQ9 depression test….thank you for writing such an important post!

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    1. Thank you for your response! I have been told for some time now that I fall somewhere in the bipolar spectrum, but I always felt it was important for me to be at least two years off drugs before that diagnosis should be made. I am definitely paying attention, though.

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  2. I have been there. Top shelf depression.
    When I first quit drinking I went to a therapist who insisted I was depressed. Not me! I was fine…….I just needed to quit drinking. Although even at this point I believed happiness did not exist and life was grey. But that it would be a brighter grey sober.

    6 weeks later. I was sober and going through some intense life events and whatever depression I, in hindsight, had had for a long time, became overwhelming. Incapacitating. Every night I wished I would not wake in the morning bad. Staring at the wall. Not eating. My only action was to take the kids to and from school because I needed to keep life normal for them.

    As grey turned blacker I admitted I needed help. And went on medication. Because I could not imagine leaving my kids behind at 8 and 10 because I couldn’t cope.

    About 2 weeks later the sun started to peak out of the clouds and slowly I came back to life. That was 9 months ago. I continue to take the medication and I expect I always will. I feel better than I ever have in my life. And I can look back objectively and see periods of severe depression (including post partum) where I was just to scared and proud to ask for help and I was lucky things worked out.

    Depression is a horrible thing. I am thankful that there are medications to try. I believe it is a chemical imbalance.

    I can see the bright side. That’s the important difference!

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    1. Yes. I believe we are all different, and if it gets bad enough that I need to take medication to help, i will not hesitate. I am glad you are doing better. Depression is just a bitch! Its so weird to have something wrong chemically that you feel like you need to fix, like, magically or something, by “cheering up”. It just doesnt always work that way. I wish it did! Have a wonderful day! ❤️❤️❤️

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  3. Courtney, I have started taking St. John’s Wort, Sam-e, and Ashwagandha to help with the way I have been feeling lately. I honestly can’t tell you if it is working yet because I have only been taking these supplements for about 3 weeks and I often don’t remember to take them all 3 times a day every day. If you are not opposed to try something non-pharmecutical, you might want to check out these (or maybe some other) natural supplements. Just a suggestion….which I am comfortable giving being that we are not face to face so I am not scared of getting a pencil in the neck or worse!! Lol!!

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  4. I have had issues with depression from the time I was a teenager. Most of the time I wasn’t taken seriously, if anyone bothered to even notice. I could list all of the things that sent me into the depressions, but it would be, well, too depressing. I can tell you that some pharmaceuticals are effective, but when I lost my insurance and couldn’t afford to pay the exorbitant cost of retail price, I was was soon going through withdrawals from them. It turns out that a lot of these drugs may take away your depression, but they’ll also take away your happiness or to feel anything other than…. nothing. I had a psychiatrist that I saw when I had insurance but I stopped going because she kept falling asleep while I was talking to her. Seriously. Today, I’m holding on, as long as I keep anxiety at a distance and try to keep it positive. But if someone ever tells you that they’re depressed, take them seriously. And if they should mention suicide, well, if you’ve never felt the pain of a bad depression, you won’t understand. But Try. It is a serious cry for help.

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