Sunday, January 30, 2011


"This guy's walking down the street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can't get out.
"A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, 'Hey you. Can you help me out?' The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on.
"Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, 'Father, I'm down in this hole can you help me out?' The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on
"Then a friend walks by, 'Hey, Joe, it's me can you help me out?' And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, 'Are you stupid? Now we're both down here.' The friend says, 'Yeah, but I've been down here before and I know the way out.'"

The West Wing, Episode "Noel", © NBC Studios

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Humbled (seriously!)

When first I started this space such a short time ago, it was just intended to be an outlet for me to write about my feelings, my experiences with depression.  It figured if I wrote and felt better, yay for me.  If I happened to have a conversation along the way that would be a bonus.  

Certainly putting words to paper pixels has proven to be cathartic.

But then I discovered another reason this works for some people.  Yes, it starts with the therapeutic value of journaling, but it's the fellowship and the mutual support that really brings it home for me.  I have connected with some really genuinely nice and supportive people who know exactly what I am going through cause they've been there too.  What's more, these new connections have been warm, and welcoming to this community of people who write about experience with mental illness.  (I speak more of this in my last post.)

Which is why it's so humbling to have been presented with a "Stylish Blogger Award" by Gary at klahanie.

It's true - here it is:

Can you believe this?  

I realize that it's a lighthearted "award", but to receive recognition  from an established and well read blogger such as Gary, particularly since I am the Really New Kid On the Block, is a real honor.

Also, a blog is the only place anyone will ever refer to me as stylish.


Should I Stay or Should I Go, The Remix

Funny thing happened on the way to the Blogger Dashboard.  After I posted part one, (which is not titled as such 'cause I didn't know there would be a part 2 at the time but I digress), I discovered a remarkably similar post from Etta over at Depression Marathon.  

It was extra-remarkable for me as I not only had just posted about depression triggered by social situations in part 1, I had also posted about church recently.  While I found myself longing for the kind of fellowship and sense of community that something like church can provide, Etta found herself experiencing negative feelings following church services, and thought she might be unique in feeling that way.  Etta was quickly reassured that she was not, and that many of us experience similar feelings upon leaving social gatherings, family events, and the like. 

Then, a new reader, (hi Nas!) posted something here that really turned on the light for me. 

Said Nas (in a double quote comment here), "When I started blogging back in August, I did so because a friend of mine once said to me, 'share your thoughts and reflections with other people who may be going through the same thing as sharing your happiness increases it, and sharing your experiences and sorrows helps you deal with them better'."

Well, as it turns out Nas's friend is dead on.  Etta posted a followup thanking commenters for sharing similar experience, and I have already been immeasurably helped by putting my feelings to words in this space.

How about that.  What a great sense of community.  What a great group to be a part of.  I am, like Etta, reassured and heartened by the support shown not only to me, but to others who live with mental illness and choose to write about it.

Now here's more good news.  Got an invite to a social gathering this week.  The invite was from a friend, but the gathering was to be at the home of someone else, who I didn't know, and there would be others there I did not know.  I could feel the spiral start early this time in preparation for the emotional trauma to come.  Then, quite unexpectedly, my friend said to me privately, "I know you aren't too comfortable with this sort of thing, but I think you will have a really good time."

And that's all it took this time to sidestep the Black Dog from getting me down.  Acknowledgment and support.  It's like a great weight was lifted.  I went to this person's house for the scheduled activity, was somewhat outgoing and social, and managed to drive home without getting the sad urge to detour to the ER.  

That, my friends, is real progress.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Should I Stay Or Should I Go

Looking back, I can see now that the easy way out would have been to say, "No thank you, I can't make it that night," and gone on home.  It would not, however, been the mentally healthy thing to do.  Being a hermit never solves anything.

I've been fending off a major episode for some time now.  It's been out there, on the periphery, trying to get at me.  I have been successfully employing the defense techniques like distraction, interrupting negative thought processes... you know how it goes.  And while I have been successful keeping it mostly at arm's length, it's wearing me out.  I'm tired.  Sometimes I think that I should just lay down and let the episode ravage me, 'cause then I know it will run its course and go away for another while.  This way I am always on the defensive.  Always remembering to stop the thought processes.  Always watching out for catastrophizing.  I know, though, the voice telling me to lie down and take it is the evil dance partner of which I previously wrote. And, as we discussed, that partner must never be allowed to lead.

A few days ago there was this social gathering.  Nothing serious, just a few friends from work gathering over the weekend.  I could feel the episode nipping at my heels and alarms were going off about heading out to a social occasion.  If you have read earlier postings, you know that can be an instant trigger for me.  Alas, I went, as I knew that was the Right Thing to do.  Sure enough, after a short time, the dark curtain started to descend.  Having stayed for a length of time that would not make my departure seem odd, I got going, and headed home.  The drive home was one of those rough patches.  I briefly considered detouring to the hospital, I was feeling that poorly.  I didn't, and ended up at home.  That's when I managed to go on the offensive and pull myself out of the slump enough to get some sleep.  Next morning I threw everything I had at the episode and got through another brush with it.  

I got through it, but as mentioned... it's draining.  It's tiring.

So, what's to be done?  In an old Western movie, the hero would lie down by the fire and get some rest while his partner kept watch for bad guys and wild animals.  While very useful in John Wayne movies where there is always a happy ending involving a sunset, is it an effective method for real life?

This leads me to an unexpected train of thought.  Maybe, just maybe, having a partner in life is no longer just something that "might be nice".  Rather, I believe that finding someone to share my life would be good...for both of us.  For that's what relationships are all about.  Someone to watch over you while you sleep so the bad guys don't get you.  And in return, you watch over them when wild animals approach.  Ride slowly towards the sunset as happy guitar music plays. Is it a good sign that after so long, I am considering a relationship?  I like to think so.

I have to say, fighting off the evil dance partner all alone is proving to be tiring.  When I committed to a recovery process I didn't quite know what I was getting into, clearly.  However, I am now on the road, and darnit, I'm gonna make it after all.

(yes I do make a serious and conscious effort to end my posts with a touch of positivity, no matter how bad it's been)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I have had a couple of posts that have been a bit dark.  Anger and trees was particularly dark but I like to think I pulled out of the dive at the last moment there.  The Dance was a tad symbolistic and dark, yet I was particularly proud of that one.  These posts are just flowing out of me... and it feels good.  I am glad I started this.

However, I am pretty sure it behooves me to up the positivity quotient a notch.  Let me relate a story that took place last week.  It's a story of stigmas that some people didn't know that they subscribed to.  And, it's a story about pushing past that same stigma.

A group of us were discussing famous people with disabilities.  Names were thrown out, Internet research was done, and a mighty list generated of people who had succeeded greatly despite a disability.    The list was varied, and included people with mental illness as well as physical disabilities.  

(Defining mental illness as a disability is a debatable issue, I admit.  Some people agree that it is, some people don't like the label.  A topic for another post, perhaps.)

What I noticed most of all in the room was this:  generally speaking, people didn't quite believe that very successful people could have a disability or a mental illness.  There was no malice or negativity associated with this belief, it just struck some people as odd that someone could overcome and succeed despite their illness or condition.

Here's one of the lists we uncovered:  Famous depressed people.  Here's another: famous people with disabilities.  Certainly the level of fame on many is debatable, but the concept remains.  There are people in ALL fields, that have a mental illness or a physical challenge, and have risen above and excelled in their chosen field.  

A blind person who led a fairly independent life once told me that the greatest compliment he ever received was when someone said after a time, "Oh I didn't realize you were blind!"

After our discussion, I really think some folks I know had a little less prejudice and a little more open mindedness.  Score one for the anti-stigma movement.

Speaking of Stigma

The Prozac Monologues posts a year end review of things said about mental illness that are just... well... just go see for yourself.

The stigma struggle has a long way to go.  A long way indeed.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Anger and trees

For me, depression brings a certain amount of anger. Not the kind of anger that could result in me acting inappropriately in public, but the kind of anger that's frustrating, annoying, and ends up becoming a part of my psyche. It's deep seated. It comes from deep down, and it's been with me for longer than I can remember.  It affects my life in more ways than I can count.

(Stay with me here... this one's got an OK ending.  I promise.)

What makes me mad? It's 'cause depression has stolen so much of my life from me. That's what.

If I am an average human being, I am about halfway through my time on this earth. Depression has stolen a large portion of that life so far. It has taken my social life. My romantic life. It's pretty much nixed the chances of starting a family. Best I can hope for at this point is joining someone else's. Depression has stolen friends from me. Experiences. Things I wanted to do but could not. Places I wanted to go but was unable. So much wasted time, so much

I try to look forward, and not backward. I know there's nothing I can do about the first half of my life. It's close to a write off at this point. Fixating on the past and what could have been is a sure path to making a bad situation even worse. I know deep in my heart that I cannot change the past.

That doesn't help. 

Truly, I wish it did help. But, I am still mad at mental illness. I am mad at the stigma which makes it near impossible to live with (and makes me post anonymously). I am mad that it's so difficult to access professional care for this condition. I am mad that very few people understand what happens to people with this condition.

Most of all, I am mad at....myself.
Mad at myself for being vulnerable to this condition. (Yes, I know that one isn't reasonable but I feel it anyway.) I am mad at myself for not being stronger.  I am mad at myself for waiting so very long to get help, as my life wasted away.
“The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.”
- Chinese Proverb

I know that I should have taken steps to fix my broken mind twenty years ago.  But I didn't.  The second best time to start down the road to recovery is.... right now.  Consider the tree...planted.

Thanks for coming along on the ride with me, and I hope you plant your tree too.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Really Short Post That Will Make You Go, "YEAH"

"Depression?  Pffft it's all in your head!"

"Well of course it's all in my head, where else would a mental illness be?"

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Dance

The ballroom is spectacular.   The decorations are perfect.  The band plays music you love, that makes you feel happy and alive, it's the perfect accompaniment to the movements of the dancers as they ebb and flow around the room.  The tuxedos are crisp and pressed, the brightly colored ball gowns wave in time with the music.  Laughter fills the air.

Affliction has paired you with one specific partner, joined at the hip for all time.  You lead your partner 'round the floor as the dance goes on.  You insist on the lead, and all is as it should be.

Sometimes you stop for refreshments.  The punch in particular is quite favorable.  It's a sweet, effervescent blend of the freshest fruit juices and sparkling water.  Made just for the dance, it seems indistinguishable from the proverbial nectar of the gods.  Perhaps it is just that.

The floral arrangements arrayed about the room lend further splashes of color to the festivities.  Bright arrangements, picked just at their peak. Sometimes you swing by on a circuit of the room and catch the delicate scent of the mixed bouquet.

The sunlight streams from the windows, brightening the whole room, twinkling in the bubbly punch, drenching the flowers with life-giving rays.

Your hands, and your partners', are in the perfect waltz position.  Any ballroom dance coach would beam with pleasure as you floated by, as if carried by the spring breeze.  One hand raised to the side, one hand on a waist, 'round the floor you go.  Barely do your feet touch the floor.

Sometimes your partner whispers, "Oh can't I lead for a bit?  You must be tired from all this dancing.  Let me lead."

A smile.  "No, I'm fine", you respond pleasantly. 

And the dance goes on. 

Then, later, a moment of distraction.  A smile and a nod to someone across the room.  A yawn.  A blink.  Suddenly all is not as it was.  Your moment of inattention has allowed a change to take place.  Your hands have somehow reversed and now the hand that was raised is on a waist, and the waist hand is held high.  In an instant, your partner is leading.

You've been led before, and a feeling of dread starts to rise, for you know what comes next.

A transformation seems to come over the room.  A transformation that is strange, yet not a stranger.  Not for the first time, and perhaps not for the last, you wonder if it's real.  You can't be sure if, now that your partner is leading, everyone else sees what you see, hears what you hear.

It's much darker in the room now, as the sun seems to be filtered through some sort of haze.  The sparkle, the shine, the warmth, have all disappeared.  The punch sits in the bowl.  It's inexplicably flat, and completely tasteless.  The flowers, deprived of the sun, have wilted.  The bouquet of aroma has gone from the room.  The colors of the dresses seem to have faded.  They almost look dingy in the changed room.

The band, moments ago the best musicians one could hear, now sound discordant.  Off-key notes ring out and echo in your head.  The music is too loud, played poorly, and you aren't sure you recognize the song.  Still, you've heard it all before.

Now your partner whispers different things in your ear.  Disapproving things.  About how you don't measure up.  The disapproving tone seems to come from all sides, as if your fellow dancers were judging you, and finding you wanting.

You are really tired now, for the pace of the dance seems to have increased and your energy seems to have been drained.  If you could just could sit, rest, breathe deep, you'd be able to stand up refreshed and lead once again.  Your partner ensures the dancing never passes a chair.  Weariness creeps in.

A small part of your mind protests.  "Wait - this is all wrong.  Wasn't it really nice in here just a few moments ago?  How did this change?  This isn't right at all."

Your partner, as if hearing the same thoughts, speaks in reassuring tones, "Just let me lead."

The small part of your mind that had been objecting grows ever smaller.  Soon, you can't hear it anymore.  Of course the ballroom has always looked this way, rooms can't transform in an instant.  Must have been your imagination.

Sometimes, when the ballroom is at its blackest and the music at its most discordant, something else happens.  Your partner, taking advantage of the darkness, leans in very close to whisper softly.  Almost too softly to hear.  Something about hurting yourself.  But that couldn't be right, could it?  Then you hear it again, seemingly from another direction.  You are sure the words are coming from your partner but they seem to surround you.  What's worse, in your current state, the words seem to make sense. 

"Yes, yes, it would be better if I weren't here", your mind says all by itself.  How'd that happen?  How did your partner's ominous words get into your subconscious, laying waste to all you thought was true?   

"But it all seems so sensible", your mind chimes in, fuelled by the faint whispers of your partner and the growing chorus of negativity that's all around you now.  Your partner smiles cruelly and stokes the fire some more, supplying a non-stop stream of thoughts you know deep down to be wrong.  You know them to be wrong, but they are crashing over your soul now like waves.  It's difficult to remember where you are, the reason for the dance, or why leading was so important not that long ago.  It's kind of hard to breathe.  And what was that last thing you said?

You are really very tired now, and your partner continues to lead.  Round round you go, tired and beaten.

Then, a moment of distraction.  Your partner stops for a moment to sip the tasteless punch.  It's an opportunity.  You find the energy, somewhere, to take it.  You snap your hands back to the raised position, the other on a waist, and once again, you are leading.

The haze goes out of the room as the spring sunshine courses through the room.  You notice the beauty and deep colors of the flowers once again.  The bubbles in the punch sparkle in response to a wandering sunbeam.  The band, moments before hunched over their instruments and struggling to play, are suddenly the picture of musical perfection.  The darkness lifts.  You look around, unsure of reality for a moment, as the world returns to the way it was.

A fresh new energy courses through you.  Head high, back straight, you briefly wonder how, moments before, you could have been seriously considering the awful things running through your mind.  You're thankful that you came through it...again.  

After a time, you hear a voice, "Can't I lead?"

You know, as you've always known, that your partner must never be allowed to lead.

And the dance goes on.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Chicken? Egg?

The oft-asked question.  Which came first, the chicken?  The egg?

Which came first... the depression, or the loneliness.  Do they feed off each other?  Do they cause each other in a spirally festival of self-fulfilling?  Being lonely is most assuredly a contributing factor to how I feel.  Bouts of loneliness can definitely kick off a trip on the spiral-down highway.  And, being depressed can certainly limit social interaction, contributing to loneliness.  It's a vicious cycle.

I have been single for more years than I care to count.  Suffice it to say I do not have enough fingers to count that high.  I "chose" years ago to stay that way as I found dating and relationships far more stressful than most people.  Side effect of the Condition, naturally.

Recently, as part of my recovery efforts, I lifted the moratorium.  So, what we have now is an occasionally severely depressed person who is super lonely, "on the market" but still dateless, and who is wondering vaguely if the ban on interpersonal relationships contributes to my trouble, or keeps it from being worse.  I truly can't decide.

Let's be honest here too.  "On the market" means if someone I thought I might be interested in proposed a coffee at some point, I'd probably say yes.  I certainly haven't progressed to asking anyone out, seeking out like-minded people, or anything else.

I am open to new experiences but not quite strong enough, it seems, to seek them out.  

Like all things with this whole scene, it seems this is to be a process.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Best Of The Best

As I write, and blog, and surf, and read, I am finding a great community out there.  I only wish I had sought it out sooner!

However, not to fret over that.  An old proverb I read once stated that the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.  the second best time is... right now.  So, onward we go.

As I move through this new undertaking, I can only hope to express myself as well as these folks.

Now I have more reading ahead of me!


I've discussed a technique to try and side-step an episode brought on by a Really Bad Day(tm).  Something that would make anyone moderately upset, but something that would be very likely to drive us into the pits of despair.


What happens when something really tragic happens.  A loss of a job.  A serious illness in the family.  A death of someone close.  Thankfully, none of these things are happening to me at the moment, however, I do expend time worrying about just that.  My parents aren't getting any younger, and situations like this are inevitable.  I am concerned that my mental state won't hold up under the strain that will occur.

And this time, I don't have an answer.

Distraction is a fine technique for me to dodge triggers.  I just don't know how I would get through a real traumatic event without becoming literally catatonic.  On the floor, unable to function.  In the list of things that I worry about in my life, some of which are figments of my feeble brain's imagination brought on by this condition and some of them aren't, this concern rates highly on the "it matters" scale.

Maybe...just maybe....all I can do right now is work on recovery.  That way, when something like this happens in the future, I'll be better equipped to handle it.  Because let's face it:  "What If" is a sure path to darkness.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


I've been discussing triggers a bit. When you are afflicted as we are, a seemingly innocent remark, a perceived slight, can send us into the spiral. Things that would be like water on a ducks back, or more likely not be noticed by someone not so afflicted, might be disastrous for us. We all have our own. Likely, you know what they are, make some effort to avoid them, but once in a while, a trigger sneaks up on you and you are gone on a journey into the dark dark corners of your mind.


What happens when you are faced with a situation that would be upsetting, even to Normal Folk(tm)? Say for instance you have a particularly bad day at work. Things go right off the rails. It happens to all of us.

The person with normal mental health may be upset and angry. Annoyed at the situation that ruined the day. Mad at someone for causing it. Upset with themselves for dropping the ball. Or, just as likely, frustrated 'cause it was nobody's fault but it still sucked out loud.

For the depressed person, a day like this can be armageddon. It has the potential to trigger a major episode that can have very serious consequences. The word apoplectic comes to mind. It might not be completely accurate but I have always liked that word. Looks impressive.

So what do you do when you see the Bad Day careening towards you like a runaway Mack truck on the highway?

How do you stave off disaster? The Spiral? The EPISODE? Especially when you pretty much know it's inevitable once the Bad Day starts raining down on you?

It happened to me today. Nobody's fault. Just things went off the rails, things were tense, stuff went wrong. I sat down after the fallout and, once the crisis passed, was immediately conscious of the dark curtain descending. Uh-oh. Here it comes. And that's when I remembered what I had written a couple days ago about Christmas. And my secret to averting horrible horrible disaster.


I threw myself into the rest of the day and revved up to a frantic pace. I read the news online. I checked out other blogs I read that have nothing to do with mental health. I started three projects at work. Anything to throw up a roadblock. Anything to prevent my mind from going where I knew it was headed. I sat up and flat out refused to yield to the Major Depressive Episode I knew was coming.

The day isn't over, and now I am home... alone....but I think I got this one beat.

What are ya doin New Year's Eve?

Funny thing happened.  

As I've mentioned, the Christmas Season is a bit of a burden on a lot of people with mental illness, including me.  However, New Year's Eve has it's own special brand of hurt.  It's one of the loneliest nights of the year for many.  Again, including me.  People are out celebrating the dawn of a new year with friends, loved ones, people they've just met.  People like me know that going out to such social and joyful occasions is a sure-fire way to trigger a major episode.  People like me are double damned 'cause staying home alone when the world is celebrating can be yet another trigger.  People like me are triple-damned 'cause we weren't invited in the first place...probably due to the fact that we never say yes to that sort of thing so no one invites us anymore.

Where's the way out?

I had the strangest urge on the 31st.  I had the urge to go to church.  Now for many of you this may not seem like something all that strange.  What's the big deal with church, you might say.  Coming from a non-spiritual, non-religious, non-Christian, non-Buddhist, non-Mulsim, non....well you get the idea.. this is a strange compulsion!  I have rather definite and strong feelings on organized religion and church and whatnot... and not all of them are positive.

I checked around and as it turned out no local churches were having New Year services.  I was nonetheless intrigued by my strange urge to go to church.  What possible reason would my depression-addled brain have for coming up with the idea to send me to church?

And that's when it came to me.  It's all about fellowship.  I have a friend who is heavily involved in the church. As a result she has many friends.  She always has company around.  Her faith and how it comforts her is another story (for she too suffers from mental illness), but what I have always seen in her is a huge circle of people who all gather together for a good purpose.  The debate over faith/supernatural beings/gods is certainly another story as well.... but what I am trying to get at here is church represents fellowship.

I can't see me becoming a church regular just to be near other human beings.  That seems somehow...wrong.  However, the point was well made.  What can I do to make sure I am occasionally surrounded by other people?

I've got to find something to join.  

Distraction has proven effective in my state.  

Wallowing makes it worse.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The First Visitor

You know, I am mostly doing this for my own state of mind.  However, it tickled me pink to see some random person wander in here off the wild streets of the internet.  It really feels good to know someone, someplace, read the words that I wrote.  It's all a writer can ask for.

Thanks, Internet Wanderer.

The KeyStone

Trolling the web looking for hope has been....less than fruitful.

Until now.

Now that I have taken the step of writing my own blog to increase the level of hope and sanity in my life... I have tripped over a whole new community of like-minded souls.  Why I couldn't have tripped over this community months ago when I started to look is beyond me, but the universe works in mysterious ways sometimes.  Maybe I had lessons to learn.

Two blogs in particular that I will be spending some time at reading older posts are, in no particular order, Hope Despite Depression and If You're Going Through Hell Keep Going .  Looks like there are some other people out there who have decided to raise the bar for mental illness resources online.  

Turns out... there IS hope.

Tis The Season...Part 2

*Warning - depending on your current state of mind, this post may contain triggering content.   Please read accordingly.

It may have been only hours since I posted that missive on the Christmas Season (yes yes, Holiday Season too), however it's been about two weeks since I actually wrote it.  As I wrote the post, we were heading into the season.  I was growing ever more troubled and slipping into a dark, despair-filled place.

Last Christmas season was probably my darkest hour.  Darkest several hours, to be quite honest.  I really had strong suicidal urges.  I hid from as much as I could, but honestly didn't know how I was going to make it.  That situation is, to say the least, pretty rough.  The only way I knew how to get past was to lie down, and wait for the horrible waves to pass.  That is not the most productive method, in case you were wondering.

This year I found myself on a slippery slope once again, spiraling into madness.  Yes I consider it madness.  That might not be the technical Psychiatric term, but it's mine!

This year, I took one extra step.  A couple times I found myself in real crisis.  I took a lesson from Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.  I phoned a friend.  However, here's the part where I cheated slightly.  I didn't phone-a-friend and ask for help, oh no.  I didn't pour out my overflowing heart and say "save me from myself!"

No, I phoned-a-friend and went over to visit.  Just hanging out and talking about random stuff while watching mindless television can be enough to distract me from the madness for a while.  Sometimes when having an Episode, the best thing I can do is distract myself.  The worst is the aforementioned lying down to let it pass.  Cause... it doesn't pass.  It just gets worse.

If you find it really hard to flat out ask for help from friends or a professional, maybe distraction will grant you a temporary reprieve.

Seriously? Online Therapy?

Was browsing around the web last night looking for alternative methods to combat The Condition.  A google text ad popped up that led to  

First, this isn't an ad.  I have nothing to do with these folks.  I'm not on a commission program with them either.  

I post this to ask the question:  Can this sort of thing work?  CBT (Cognitive Behavorial Therapy) can certainly be beneficial but only when you can actually access it.  This program provides an 8-week program for one low price.  One VERY low price as compared to a  comparable in-person course of counselling.

I have found that online text conversations can often be more intense, more revealing, more personal than those that take place face to face.  We more easily reveal personal feelings through typing then we do through talking.  That's certainly been my experience.  I would imagine that this would apply to many people with depression.

Once I get some readers around here perhaps you could share an opinion as to whether this would work for you or not.

A Touch Of Grey

Well here's something fascinating.  Turns out people with Our Condition might see the world differently than everyone else.

I hadn't thought of it before, but after reading that article, I can say it rings a bell.  When you are in an up mood, don't colors seem a little brighter?  A little more vibrant?  When you are down, don't things really have a grey tinge?  

Turns out there's scientific evidence!

Perhaps the most significant part of this study is that they may work on a way to measure depression objectively.  Thats the best news of all.

Science, in all it's Glory

Oh yay my first post commenting on something I found on the Internet!  A milestone!

I am a firm believer that our hand-sanitized, rubber-gloved, lysoled society keeps beneficial bacteria out of our systems.  Look at the explosion of allergies and other environmental sensitivities in the last 10 years.  Certainly I think there is some validity to this article.


I suspect the person who named the post isn't the same person who wrote it.  Cause folks, if you are like me, you are far from too clean, and only tidy up your home when someone else is about to see it.  Depressed people too clean?  I call, "no".

Sunday, January 2, 2011

What works

Here's a brief list of things that have helped me control my bouts with depression.


OK did you miss anything?  Need that list again?


Yeah, its like that.  I spent 5 years on medications that worked temporarily.  Problem was, they always wore off after a few months and then I had to put up with the side effects of medicine, while getting none of the main effects.  That didn't seem right, don't you think?

So do some medications work long term?  Or is this a case of lurching from one pill to another, making the next jump when one wears off, each time hoping the next jump will be home.... oh wait.  You get the idea.  Have there been long term successes with medications?

I could do a whole 'nother post on my 3-month experience with St. John's Wort.... so I probably will!

I did have a momentary visit with a Psychiatrist, but he wasn't all that into things like.... showing up for work on time, booking just one patient at a time, working more than 3 hours a day.  Truth be told, I think he was retired but still booked patients so he could get a paycheck.  I wouldn't mind seeing another one at some point, but lets just say that in my part of the world... that might be a lengthy wait.

Many articles I have read say that therapy and medication work best when done together.  At this point, I have neither. I have my willpower and this blog between me and the dark abyss of a Major Episode.  I think we'll be amusingly capitalizing things around here.

'Tis the Season

Over the course of my random therascribblings, we’ll talk about triggers.  What sends you into a funk, into the downward spiral, etc.  I’m sure we all have our own.  I’m sure we have some unique ones.

One that I know lots of people share is this time of the year.  It seems entirely unreasonable that a time of year dedicated to love, joy, celebration, and giving, should cause so much pain for so many.

Certainly it’s not unreasonable that someone without all those things at this time of year might be triggered into an episode.  Someone far away from family, someone without family, someone of limited financial means.  It’s sure easy to see how Christmas might put undue stress on people that can’t experience what many do.

However, there`s a darker side.  What of those of us who are near family.  Who have friends.  Who aren’t rich but have enough money to give something to loved ones.  And still... this time of year can send such people into a depressive episode.  For me, it’s usually a Major one.  Full fledged despair, dark thoughts, doom, gloom, and some other appropriate adjectives.

I loathe this time of year.  I put on a brave front for all to see, but I am in constant mental pain until all sign of Christmas is gone around the second week of January.

But why?  It just doesn’t make any sense at all.  

Generally, for me, experiencing joy in social situations is a sure-fire way to trigger an episode.  Or at least, experiencing situations that SHOULD be joyful.  It’s like my brain doesn’t want me to be happy, so when I go out and enjoy myself, I pay dearly later that night or the next day.  The Christmas season amplifies that many times.  Social and family occasions are plentiful, and each one piles on the last to create a major depressive episode that defies description.  

It affects my life in a big way, as I try to attend the least number of Christmas social occasions possible, without looking suspicious.  Do people notice?

Some will say that I have made up my mind and decided I am going to be depressed over the holidays.  Certainly many things are a choice.  I agree that we are all responsible for our own lives.  But let me tell you this.  I don’t intend to take this ongoing major episode lying down.  I’m going to darn well fight back.  Some days I’m going to win.  Some days I might not.  I WILL see the other side of the holidays.  I’m probably going to have a few mental bruises.  I’m probably going to have a scratch or three on my psyche.  But I’m coming out of it.

Before we begin...

Hi.  I’m not a Doctor of anything.  I’m not a Social Worker.  I am not a counsellor.  I am not a Psychologist, Psychiatrist, holistic practitioner, hypnotist, or anything else.  I’m not a crisis line.  What I am is just a guy who feels really bad and has decided to blog for therapy.  Participate in the discussion if it so moves you.  However, take nothing I say as a replacement for qualified medical care.

Keep in mind that many of the things I write about may be triggers for you.  

The most important thing to note here is... if you need help... ask someone for it.  If you are feeling suicidal, just call 911 or the emergency number in your area.  There are a lot of people in the world who are trained to help people in crisis.  I am not one.  

Here are a few sites that can link you to some help right now...

The Kelty Foundation


The Samaritans

Hi there

Hi, my name is.... well that’s not important right now.... but i have a name, and I suffer from depression.  Perhaps you do too.  Perhaps someone you know does.  Perhaps you’ve wandered in here from a random internet search and you are trying valiantly to find the door.  Whatever your personal situation,  welcome.

I’ve had The Condition for longer than I can remember.   I tried to get it fixed a few times, with various methods, and we’ll discuss those further as time goes on.  Quite frankly, I haven’t had a lot of luck with the fixing part.  At least for any length of time.  And so here I am.

I read someplace that writing about it, journal style can help.  Clearly that article was written before the word “journal” was kicked out of the english language to be replaced but it’s snazzier younger cousin “blog”.  So here we are.  Therapy through blogging.  If I can feel better by committing these words to I have accomplished my goal.  If I can have a conversation along the way and it makes someone else’s life a little bit better... well that’s definitely a bonus.  

As an aside, I've looked round for a place to hang out on the 'net and discuss, heal, commiserate, and so on, without being horribly depressed...further.... by the community at large.  I like to think no matter how bad I get, I can always find something positive about something.  We hope.

I’m not quite finished setting things up here but I felt the urge to start writing.  Kinda like the opposite of writer’s block.  Writer's flood anyone?

I’m not going to be so 1997 as to put up an “Under Construction” sign... but I’m just sayin...some colors might change now and again before we decide on something permanent.  Maybe after a little while there’ll be a little Google Ad block right over there in the corner.  Cause let’s face it, getting a five dollar check from a multibillion dollar international corporation would be kind of a kick.

So anyway, read on, comment if you are so inclined.  Better mental health to us all.