Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 17 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Crisis Intervention Team

Speaking in front of a room full of police officers can be a bit daunting. Nevertheless, for the second year in a row, I stood up and told them my story yesterday, and I relished every moment of it. Education. What other reason could there be for my seven years of ache, loss, debility and strife? At some point I realized I needed to use this illness for a gainful purpose rather than continuing to let it deconstruct and demoralize me. Perhaps that point came when I was fired from my job--a situation that certainly would not have occurred if I had a "Hallmark" illness rather than a stigma-laden one.
(Speaking of Hallmark: I think I have been hospitalized 6-8 times in the past 7 years, maybe more. Including outpatient programs, ECT treatment, or times my illness was so severe I couldn't care for myself, the Hallmark opportunities have been numerous. Yet, the total number of cards I have received during my hospitalizations and illness is less than 10. I know, because I've kept them all. That's how meaningful they were to receive. This is not a complaint. It is but an observation. Take from it what you wish.)
Perhaps the point came after one psychiatrist, upon seeing me return to his inpatient unit, entered my room with psychiatry residents in tow and stated, "What are you doing here again? What do you think we are going to do for you?" I guess he wasn't happy to see me? Did he also think I was a hopeless case? Unfortunately, it wasn't the first, nor the last time I was treated with open disdain by mental health "professionals" who thought I should have already "healed."
Maybe the decision point arrived after one too many of my "friends" cheerfully advised me that when they were "depressed" all they did was...think happier thoughts, or smile more, or get out more, or eat better, or...anything but seek medical assistance or take medication! Maybe it was then when I realized how little we, as a society, understood about the experience of having mental illness. Short of praying for all people to get sick, I figured it was time to take my experience and do something positive with it. That's how I ended up telling my story to a room full of police officers yesterday afternoon. It was a tremendous opportunity, and another of the many gifts I have received as a result of this horrible condition.
Depression bringing gifts...never thought I'd be saying that. Go figure...

1 comment:

Reyna Duran said...

Thank you for this post. Although my comment is a few years late, but after reading some of your posts I realized that I can relate to most of them. & this one is the one that hits closer to home so far. Thank you.