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!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Not a Superhero

Over the past several days, one fact has burst from the shadows and stepped into the clear. It is standing there now, chest puffed, hands on hips, bathed in yellow light. Fact: I am not a superhero. In the midst of my desperate search for rescue from the recent chaos in my head, this fact splendiferously revealed itself. If I was a superhero, the chaos would have been zapped into oblivion by now, and I'd be walking around in awe of and gratitude for my mystical powers. Alas, I am not a superhero.

The chaos seems to be giving way to a crash, and you all know how much I love crashes. I am doing everything I can, and everything I am being asked to do. Well, almost everything. I did refuse to go to the ER for an evaluation. That's a pretty deep line in my sandbox, and I do not plan to cross it.  But I have been reaching out, calling, e-mailing, talking, texting, and writing. And I despise having to make these connections. I don't want to be that person; the friend, co-worker, or even patient everyone is now concerned about. I just want to be me. I prefer to be the helper, not the help-ee. If only a superhero could pull me from my free fall.

I am not a superhero, and apparently there isn't one ready to catch me from my fall. Therefore, I've continued to reach out. But the chaos in my head is overwhelming enough without the added pressure of revealing it to multiple people. Yet I need their support. Yet revealing my fucked-up thoughts and soul-crushing feelings increases my fear of losing their support. Who among them won't be stunned and horrified by what's emerging from this otherwise normal appearing human form; the person they know as their likable and funny friend, happy and skilled co-worker, or successful and healthy patient. Their shock and disgust, that is what I fear.

Depression is rarely a socially acceptable, rally-around-the-patient, kind of illness. In its ugliest form, as in my case right now, this illness even horrifies me! My inclination is to keep it all in, wait for it to pass, smile and carry on, or my favorite, fake it until I make it. But my thoughts are scary, my friends. Even here, in the space of my anonymous blog, I do not feel safe revealing their sadistic content for fear of alienation and retribution.

And the fear of alienation and retribution, that's probably depression talking, too! This illness warps my reality as it envelops me in an ever-tightening, concentric maze of thoughts and feelings. Struggling for rationality only solidifies its grip. If I keep struggling, the way out will become impossible to figure and desperation will ensue. Unfortunately, it is only work, collaboration, and patience, not desperation, which will eventually release me from its trap. I know that. Somewhere in my muddled brain, I know that, and I'm doing my best. But a superhero would be beneficial, too.


Anonymous said...

I am right there with you. I miss "me". I'm tired of doing the next right thing and still feeling soooo bad. And I too am tired of being that daughter, wife, mom, or friend. But reading your blog helps me not feel so different and alone. Thanks for your honesty.

mary g

Jean Grey said...

I hate the feeling of going into crash, knowing that I am- and not knowing how to prevent falling further in to it. I always think, shouldn't I be able to catch it early, nip it in the bud, etc? And yet, I never know what to do. That said, two weeks ago I was sure I was falling into a depression, and somehow I did not- I just started feeling better- and not because of anything I was doing. It was as inexplicable as the crash. You are doing so much, you have even more on your side.

Anonymous said...

Thoughts and prayers that this will lift, lessen, and subside soon. So sorry you are in the midst of such a difficult state. Don't forget you have been through these times before and come back to enjoying your life while continuing to help people by sharing your thought and experiences on this blog.

etta said...

Thanks everyone. It is comforting to know so many of you can relate, and I appreciate your comments.

@ Laura Rose: please leave a phone # if you wish to be contacted.

Sheila Rae Raves said...

This whole segment feels like an inner narration. I've had depression for 3 years but in the past 6 months has kicked up again. I totally get trying to fake a smile, but its almost hard because you are faking a smile but desperate for someone to notice you are faking it. The longer they take the more insignificant you feel, its like walking a plank and no one is making any effort to stop you! I have to believe it will get better, thats why i tried to start blogging recently too (also anonymously as too scared to claim my thoughts). Someone said to me recently that depression is like quick sand, the more you fight your emotions the faster you sink - that made no sense at first because I thought they meant just give in to my dark plans - but instead they meant don't be ashamed or battle them, what you feel is valid and you have to accept rock bottom to begin going up. Hope you're doing ok! :)

Anonymous said...

Commenting again...strange how much we can root for someone we don't know, personally, going through a rough time. A good thing thanks to the internet and blogs! Just wanted to let you know, again. :) I read about you being too hard on yourself...part of our illness...and want to tell you to be proud of yourself for trying and fighting the best you can. Even if you don't think you are. The smallest things can be the biggest steps during these times. I am congratulating you for them in case you aren't doing it for yourself.