Several times, I’ve mentioned “my illness” on this blog. I never said what it was. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to. But the more I think about it, the more I realize I have nothing to fear, and perhaps something to gain. I’ve decided to stop hiding it.
So yes, it’s true. For the past two and a half years, I have had clinical depression.
If you’re wondering what it’s like, the short answer is: it sucks. You’re tired, you don’t care about anything, your brain feels like a lump of clay. And it hurts – not as a physical pain, but in a way that’s very difficult to describe.
Yes, I am being treated. I’m currently on my fourth therapist, my second doctor, and medication number I’ve-lost-count. It turns out that the process for discovering the right depression medication is akin to opening random presents on Christmas morning, one after another, except the presents each take three months to open and most of them have clinical depression inside them.
Fortunately, I’ve discovered Abilify, which – alone of the drugs I’ve tried – actually does help. Unfortunately, it doesn’t help 100% (for me), and it has side effects (for me). So there’s that.
I’ve also missed plenty of work: two large multi-week blocks, and many individual days here and there. And I’ve missed plenty of blog posts, and failed to meet various other obligations. C’est la vie. I don’t feel too guilty about it at the moment, which I suppose is rational.
If it sounds bad, well, it is. But I have never been suicidal, and I have never had anyone tell me it wasn’t a real problem, so those are two things I’m very grateful for. My family, friends, and wife have been nothing but supportive, and I’m very lucky to have that.
Anyway, y’all are a smart group, and I don’t mind talking about it with you. So if you have any questions, now is the time to ask. Don’t be shy, you won’t offend me. What do you want to know about depression? (In general, or mine specifically.) Ask away.
You have my sympathies.
Would you describe it more as a Kafkaesque constant perception of meaninglessness or a Lovecraftian sudden presence of creeping otherness?
Haha…great question. More Kafkaesque I suppose. It’s like a sense that nothing matters, that nothing is worth the energy.
One of my extended family member was recently diagnosed with Manic Depression after he had a severe breakdown to which I was a close witness. The first time ever for me and I was quite shocked and didn’t know how to respond. But thankfully he is under medication and regular counselling and is getting better slowly. But the scare now is what if it is hereditary.
The only good thing is that folks here are a little more open about depression than they were a few years ago.
Sorry to hear that. I’ve never had the manic side of manic depression, but I can imagine that would only make things even more difficult.
My dad has depression, and has had various episodes similar to drug overdoses due to his medication. He recently had some treatments – I think it was a form of electrotherapy – that are currently keeping him off medication. It’s great when a drug works like its supposed to. I’m glad Abilify is working for you. Most of the time, Dad is fine. In the harder times, my family is able to support him and keep him steady.
Mainly, I just want you to know you’re not alone and people understand the challenges of what you are living with.
Thank you. I’m glad the treatments are helping your dad.
Brian, I appreciate your courage in talking about this. I hope your story encourages others to “come out” about depression. This kind of honesty is not weakness but strength. Hats off to you!
Your question at the end was posed as if none of your readers would have their own experiences with depression, but I had a feeling that you’d find out the opposite. 🙂
My mother had the same experience with breast cancer — once she talked about it, she learned that several of her friends were survivors also. I’ve seen this happen with abortions, too. Nobody talks about it until one person takes the leap, then the stories start to come out.
My experience has been different from yours. I had to figure it out myself, since I didn’t have the money for doctors or drugs; I managed to go to work every day; I did have suicidal thoughts; I did get it dismissed at times as not that serious.
I’m glad you’ve found a treatment that works for you.
Sorry to hear you’ve had a hard time with it.
I’m sorry to hear that. I, too, have had clinical depression for about four years now. Although, I have suicidal thoughts often, usually resulting in me asking to be left alone to anyone who I happen to be hanging out with. I haven’t went to a therapist or received any medication, and I’ve only told my closest friends; one of which has became a “casual” friend that I only talk to occasionally, due to the fact she “doesn’t want to be upset in cause of [my] depression.” The main reason as to why I haven’t spoke to anyone is because of me being introverted — off of the Internet in particular — towards almost everything. It really does suck, and I usually become numb and I don’t care what happens to me.
Anyway, I don’t comment often, but I do read your posts! I hope you get better eventually, no matter how long it takes. I’ve recovered from my depression once, and it’s wonderful (it has come back, and I hope that never happens to you). Just keep hanging in there! You’re not alone. :]
Hi! Thanks for the comment. One reason I wrote the post was to connect with others, like you, who have or are affected by depression.
If you have suicidal thoughts, I would really encourage you to get help from a therapist or doctor, in spite of your introversion. Depression sucks, and it isn’t worth dying for. I have a strong aversion to needles, but I have still gotten injections and blood draws when medically necessary. I know it’s easier said than done, but if it saves your life, it’s worth it.
Anyway, hope you feel better, and thanks for reading. If you want, you are welcome to contact me privately (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you need to talk and don’t have anyone else.