The Shanty

The Shanty
where I grew up

Friday, August 26, 2011

Admission is the Hardest Step

I recently talked about turning points in life. I named my 10 year high school reunion as my biggest one and while this is true I have decided to talk about another one. One that is a bit more difficult for me but one I feel I want to share. Hopefully anyone else dealing with the same thing will be able to relate and those who aren’t will maybe understand me a little better or someone else you know dealing with this.

I have been consistently going to a psychologist for geez maybe 7 years now…it’s been so long I don’t even remember. I do know it’s been a long time though. Finally about 3 years ago I agreed to see a psychiatrist to see about getting a prescription for something to help my life-long battle with anxiety and depression. Don’t get me wrong, I work VERY hard on myself and resisted for a very long time to even consider getting any kind of medicinal aid to my condition. However, I never seemed to fully have control over my emotions and so reluctantly I agreed.

I went through several psychiatrists and several different medications before I found someone I liked and a combination of pills that seemed to work. It has only been around a year or maybe 2 now. Anyway, I have continued to see my psychologist as well since I have always been convinced that my “condition” is something I can fix all on my own (I'm also a big believer in continued self improvement through-out life). There have even been a couple times I foolishly decided to take myself off my medication because “it doesn’t work anyway” and I had been feeling really well. Little did I want to admit, but there was a reason I had been feeling so good. And sure enough, a couple weeks after purposely missing doses here and there I felt awful. I was back in the depression hole. Yes, missing just one dose affects me that much.

I have cautiously agreed that my medication does in fact work and have accepted that it’s probably something I will have to take for the rest of my life to keep my emotions leveled out. Deep down I still believe this to be false though. I think it’s because I don’t feel any different when I take my medication therefore it must not be doing anything. Well, I recently accidentally forgot to take my pills on two separate days about a week apart. I felt scared that it might catch up with me as it had before but didn’t want to really believe that might happen. But just as before, it did.

I was sitting at work and suddenly for no reason at all felt very sad and tears started to fall. Nothing crazy but definitely a physical and mental sadness. This in turn made me very angry that two stupid little pills a day had that much control over me. It instantly made me feel embarrassed, foolish, weak, and flat out like a pretty sorry human being. That then snowballed in to a whole mess of things which lead to anger and disappointment in myself.

In my life I very, very rarely have highs. I’m pretty much a person that is just above a depressed level on a good day and pretty low on a bad day. My medication pushes me up a little higher and my lows generally become what my old highs were. When I don’t take my medication it completely throws me off and puts me back into the negative state I have been so used to in life. It’s a scary feeling and often leaves me feeling hopeless and lost. It also makes me suddenly feel disconnected from everyone and everything. This can be overwhelming and confusing for me let alone for someone else who is trying to make sense of it and make me feel better.

I don’t expect people to understand. But I also don’t expect people to try to figure it out and come up with their own assumptions and conclusions. I also don’t like when people try to downplay the severity of my feelings. Because guess what? They are my feelings and they are very real. I wish more than anything I didn’t need the extra help. You have no idea how disappointing it is for me. But I also believe that there is some truth to it and if it makes me feel better than hey, I’ve spent enough of my life feeling miserable that I might as well stick with what works for me so I don’t have to feel miserable anymore.

So when I have a bad day and I seem completely unreasonable and confusing you need to trust that it’s a million times worse for me. I don’t need you to understand or even have sympathy for me but perhaps a little compassion would be nice. I also wish people would understand that it’s not THEIR fault. Don’t try to read into my feelings and begin to take blame for why I’m so unhappy. It’s a moment that I’m going through and trust me, it sucks. It is not something I am proud of but hey, it’s me, and that I’m okay with.


  1. I am having a hard time thinking of something funny or witty to say...

    I never understood what it must be like living with chronic depression. I always thought it was bullshit that people made up to try and gain attention. I thought that there is no reason that anyone shouldn't be as awesome as me and handle their depression like a boss (when I would feel down, I would just stop, then I wouldn't feel down anymore). I thought it was stupid and silly for people to jam synthesized chemicals into their system just to try and bring a smile to their face. I was naive. In January, my Grandfather died. He was the closest person I have ever had in my life, someone I always looked to for guidance and a person that I thought would prove to be immortal. When he died, everything changed for me. For a solid 2 weeks, I couldn't be around anyone. I would instantly break down into tears for no reason whatsoever. I could not control my emotions, and my wife (who is pretty horrible with emotional shit) just left me alone. I was a wreck, and for the first time in my life, I understood what it must be like for someone to experience this on a life long scale. Fortunately, my issue was temporary. I still break down once in a while, but I am not totally bathed in grief like I was. I am fortunate to have people around me who bring happiness to my life. Most of the time now, when I feel like shit, I put my arms around my little ones, and the pain of the world is instantly (although temporarily) cured.

    So, what was it for you? Did you have an event that started you down the emotional spiral, or is this just something that has always been around? Also, do you have a "thing" that brings you absolute joy?

    Finally, I sometimes have a knack for making people happy. If you ever feel like you need a smile, let me know and I will gladly punch myself in the nuts, or something.

  2. I would never try to diminish or downplay the feelings of others and I know myself that depression is very real. Kudos for knowing what helps and doesn't and for being honest all the way around. (((hugs)))

  3. kudos for having (maharry) balls, maybe not literally, to share something like this.