In the aftermath of depressive episodes, life doesn’t return to simply normal. It’s more of a new normal. Each visit the mind takes into the world of depression, it changes us in subtle ways.
I feel as if I lose a part of who I was. In some instances, that’s a good thing.
Maybe I shouldn’t be speaking for all who have experienced depression, because I haven’t studied this subject, except for my own reference–I don’t claim to be any sort of expert. I can only write about what I know to be true from my experiences.
For all of you with excellent memory banks, you may have read some of this before, however, I’m discovering more each day.
In my 20’s I saw a quack of a psychologist who was of no help, so I self-medicated with alcohol to escape the torment in my head. I was very uninhibited, and mean spirited. I had an opinion, and everybody had to hear it. I lost those parts of my personality, and I’m glad. However, I had more confidence during those years, and I lost that as well.
During my 30’s I was raising 3 children. I no longer used alcohol. In order to make it through each day, while trying to raise three well rounded kids, I spoke to my regular doctor about depression. I was given anti-depressants and mechanically went through life. Some of the medications made me a complete nut job, but most of them turned me into a machine. I was successful raising 3 well rounded kids, but I lost my spontaneity, and my sense of adventure.
During my 40’s I was raising teenagers. Oh, how much I wanted to self-medicate with alcohol at times. Instead, I continued taking the anti-depressants which kept me stable but mechanical. I didn’t lose much during this time except my kids finally turned into adults, and I survived the first time they drove off in the car, alone. I survived the rebellion. I survived.
I had nothing more to lose at this point. I had lost my confidence, my spontaneity, my sense of adventure, who I thought I was.
So, here I am in my 50’s. After 30+ years of struggle, I’m truly getting the help I have needed all these years. Perhaps the world of psychology has been evolving and we understand more about depression and anxiety? I don’t know, but I am so THANKFUL for the therapist I have, and my cocktail of drugs.
This last trip to the dark side, I seem to have lost my ability to contemplate any issue. During depression, we isolate ourselves. For the last 30 years, I had responsibilities, so I functioned. I didn’t live, I moved through each day, looking forward to bedtime. Then I had to get up and make it through the next day.
I have found my sense of humor, but something I’m waiting to reappear is — well — thinking. I quit reading articles about current events. I stopped watching any sort of “news” entertainment.
I quit feeding my brain.
I miss reading or hearing something that provokes thought. New ways of looking at things.
In the place of thought provoking material, my mind hovers over the fear of relapsing, therefore I feel as if nothing of interest comes from my mind.
I am so sick of observing my own thoughts. I’m sick of trying to recognize symptoms, and triggers of anxiety, and letting them move through me. I have a new way to cope–a new way to breathe–but the anxiety is still there.
A couple of personality quirks I have maintained, are impatience, and perseverance. Well, procrastination is still very much prevalent, but I’ll deal with that eventually. 😉 I’m bored with myself, and I want to leave all this crap in my head behind.
The one positive thing that has come from this last trip, most days, I no longer have to exist until bedtime. I look forward to each day because I learn some little tidbit. It’s enough to keep me moving forward.
Even though impatient, I look forward to the day I have become successful in handling my thought processes, and quit looking over my shoulder for that stinkin’ depression to return.
I’m learning to accept things as they are. I will always struggle with depression, and will always be on medication.
That’s okay. I’m not who I was, and that’s okay too. I believe I can build my confidence, and find my sense of adventure. The spontaneity may not return unless I can conquer that rotten anxiety….but that’s okay.
I’m okay. I’ll be okay.
Don’t give up!