Please Don’t Bring Me Back

Stigma.

Ugly word, isn’t it?

You know what else is ugly? Having to hide depression, or having to explain that what some are calling bad days, are not the same as depression.

I belong to two groups of people with hobbies similar to mine–knitting and photography. The knitting group kind of fizzled, not sure why, but they aren’t meeting regularly–just a few gather from time to time. The photography group is very consistent.

Last year, I made it to three meetings–I think. Then my sister died. I just couldn’t kick-start myself to go to any more. I did make an effort to shoot with some members, because I knew it was “good for me”, but found it hard to keep up a facade that I was okay. I felt like I was experiencing life outside my body. I think it’s called depersonalization disorder. That is also a difficult way to exist.

I have reached a point that I only need a nudge to go places instead of a hard, swift kick.

I had an online private discussion with one of the members from my photography club this morning. We were discussing skills and sharing knowledge. The response was that I needed to come to more meetings and competitions. That’s how I’ll learn to become more proficient.

I have shot with this person on several occasions. I don’t know her real well, but well enough to know she has a huge heart. I explained that I have struggled with depression this last year. I got the usual “I struggle all the time too. I know what you’re going through. I have to kick myself in the rear to go sometimes, you need to do the same”.

I felt like crying–I did cry. I don’t want to have to tell my story again. I’m trying to move beyond it. Retelling it makes my mind return to all that I have survived. However, the compulsion to retell it remains strong. I feel a need to list off how I’ve flapped around in the water, almost drowning, someone throws me a life preserver ring, I pull myself up—then get thrown back into the water—over and over again.

This isn’t something a person who hasn’t experienced true depression can understand. Pushing ourselves to move is extremely difficult. Getting out of bed is impossible. Eating, thinking, feeling—all impossible.

I won’t repeat my story, but why does it make me want to cry when I’m trying to explain why I have been distant? Do I seriously need to let them know that I wasn’t seriously flaking out, I was struggling to live? Does it even matter if they understand? Why do I feel compelled to make them see what it’s like through my eyes, and the way I distort reality?

I am moving forward, but it is so easy for something to trigger a response which sends me spiraling. I can stop it, I believe I have enough tools to hang on before reaching the bottom.

I’m going to get outside today. I do have to drag myself to the grocery store. I will go even if I’m red-eyed. My depression doesn’t have to define me, unless I let it. I have worked very hard to live without the feeling of existing. I will never be able to make someone see what they haven’t experienced. It’s kind of like explaining giving birth, or menstrual cramps to a man.

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About April

I'll come back to this when I find out who I really am. I've been through some extremely rough patches but they have made me a better person. I blog if my brain is functioning first thing in the morning.
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26 Responses to Please Don’t Bring Me Back

  1. tlohuis says:

    I’m not going to say that I know how you feel, but what I am going to say is I, too, suffer from depression and anxiety amongst a long list of other things, physically and mentally. I know how it feels to me to have major depressive disorder and you’re right, no one else really knows how it feels and how it affects us because it affects each of us differently. I cry a lot, I have to drag myself out of bed to go to my appointments and I really don’t go anywhere else because I just can’t at this point. Extensive outpatient therapy is helping me, greatly. Granted I’ve been going for years, but I can say that I am better than I was a year ago. Am I well? NO. Just “better” than where I was last year. I now have 3 therapists and I go three times a week. Therapy and blogging is what keeps me alive. I hope you can find something that will be of help to you. I’m sorry you’re going through this. One thing I do know is depression sucks for everyone. Please don’t give up. Just know you’re not alone and I am here if you ever want to talk, vent or whatever you need to do. I’m a great listener and I never judge. I wish you the best on your journey. Take care.
    Peace,
    Tammy:)

    • April says:

      Yes, I think we all have our unique depression experiences, however, what I was referring to are the people who have rotten days here and there. For some reason they compare that to depression. It’s almost as if the word depression is a catch-all word for feeling sad. I have been a long time sufferer as well. This last round just about beat me. Therapy, a cocktail of drugs, blogging, and a supportive family are what keep me going. Learning to accept that I may never be cured, but I can manage my symptoms was a huge breakthrough for me. I had expectations which were extremely unrealistic, and would set me up for failure. Guaranteed. Thank you for your encouragement. I return the offer–anytime you need a shoulder, other than a doctor, I’m a good listener as well.

  2. kadja1 says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. There is not a “right” thing to say to make things better either but this post touched my heart. I lost 8 members of my family in one year. All I will say is this–if you have a shoulder to cry on that won’t be saying “get over it”–lean on it. Tears eventually lead to a form of healing. It gets very hard when people feel uncomfortable just listening to us and letting us vent, but luckily I had people who let me do just that, for as long as it took. This was especially true after my stepmother committed suicide in that year. I was still a kid when all of this went down, but I bottled things up for years. For a long time, I had to force myself just to get out of bed. I got sent to a counselor who encouraged me to write about it and keep a journal. I did. Eventually I began to come up from the sink hole, and then in my 20’s I lost a twin and went right back into it (and losing that baby still hurts).. It was like being knocked to the bottom of the ladder and having to climb back up it with broken legs and arms–especially after being told “So what? You have your son! Get over it!” I didn’t speak to that person for a few years either.. I do know this though…We don’t have to justify why or how we feel to anyone. It just “is”. We don’t have to retell our stories either. I hope that helps you in some way. I know your post helps me because I know I’m not alone in the universe…Thank you for sharing. You really are a cool person.

    • April says:

      Oh my. Sometimes I read a comment or a blog post, and it takes the breath out of me. Your comment did that. I lost 4 family members in a year (3 within 3 months of each other), and I couldn’t imagine losing a child. It doesn’t help when those around us think we can just snap out of it.

      …and here I am telling some of my story. šŸ™‚

      wth? I thought I was following your blog, and that you weren’t posting. I see that I’m not. Sometimes WordPress is either a challenge that I haven’t fully appreciated, or there are some screwy things that happen.

      by the way, it’s nice to know we aren’t standing out here all alone with our thoughts. Thanks.

  3. revgerry says:

    April, for many years I used to have recurring episodes of, persistent, deep, debilitating, mind-numbing, life-threatening depression. Today I have bad days which I hope won’t ever lead back to that depersonalized, black hole nightmare. One of the features of depression I like the least is its tendency to grab you again, just as you can see the sun, even for no reason you can tell, but especially during grief recovery. But tops on my list, the thing that made me feel the most lost and alone, is that no one who has never been there can understand, even therapists who have not personally been there. And we can not even truly always understand each other, for we are all different inside our skin. I am happy to be able to read your blog, which means I hear you, and to send you cyber-healing energy.

    • April says:

      Thanks for the healing words. It’s funny you mention depression grabbing you again. This has created an anxiety issue for me. I have a couple of bad days, and I’m convinced I’m slipping. I’m sure I will conquer the anxiety, it seems easier to manage (for me), than any depressive episode.

  4. I’m so sorry to read of your loss. You should retell your story when you feel compelled to share all that you have survived. Yet, never feel like you “have” to explain yourself (or your demeanor) to anyone. I wish you all of God’s greatest blessings as you move forward a little each day, even despite the setbacks.

    • April says:

      Thank you. I found that I kept blogging about what kept bringing me down. The more I wrote about it, the more I stayed focused on what happened, and not what I can do to move on and keep living. I’m just going to have to grow some thicker skin.

  5. Maybe you can use the word Clinical Depression next time, anyone ask you. It did work better for me. I did also meet a lot of people, as thought they knew how I was struggling, but without having or having had a depression, it is not possible to know, what it is. It is terrible. I did fight for years to get rid of it. My life did change a lot after that.
    You need to go through your tough times and it takes time. Sometimes it is good to talk about it. When you still cry easy, it sounds to me, like you still need to talk about it. Then it is good to find some good souls to talk to, as are willing to listen without judgement at all.
    My best wishes for you,
    Irene

    • April says:

      Maybe I do need to talk about it more. Obviously, there is something just under the surface creating an emotion that doesn’t feel good. Thank you for your kind words, and yes, maybe Clinical Depression would be good. Which is better than saying I’m Bipolar II, which is what my psychiatrist diagnosed me with. My therapist doesn’t have the same opinion. Who knows, the therapist is helping me work through it, the psychiatrist is just pushing pills on me. The pills help, and for that I’m grateful.

      • I do have a friend, who were diagnosed Bipolar. After working hard with therapy, she is not Bipolar any longer. I do also have some diagnoses, but I think that if they checked me again now, some are not existing any longer. We can come through April, you need also to believe in that.
        I did also get medication from psychiatrist for some years. I decided to stop with that, because I was not able to use meditation in same time, which I know was very helpful for me earlier in my life.
        Now I do function much better, than I have done for many years.

        • April says:

          I’ve been learning some meditation techniques. I’m having a little success. It is encouraging to hear that I can look forward to a full life, without being smothered by depression.

  6. suzjones says:

    Do it babe! I have faith in you!!

  7. April, I’m so sorry for your losses. I don’t know what you personally are going through. But it doesn’t make me not understand you have pain. And you have difficulty. Though I may not be able to fully understand I do fully support you in your healing. I also really appreciate the others comments.

    • April says:

      Thanks for your support Colleen. It wasn’t so much that I got the “snap out of it” comment as it was my feeling that I have to explain myself. These people haven’t seen the real me, only the me I have been able to hang onto, and pretend I don’t have anything I’m mentally dealing with. Basically, a fake person who doesn’t talk much. What I’m probably really doing, is making a big deal of something that is only my interpretation. It’ll all be good. šŸ™‚

      • šŸ™‚ Your interpretation counts. šŸ™‚ If it’s a big deal you are trying to deal with it. Kudos. If it’s not a big deal you will come to that conclusions. Kudos. It’s a process. Good for you!

  8. tlohuis says:

    Yes, I understand what you were talking about people having bad or sad day or two and comparing it to depression, not even close. I forgot, I do have quite the cocktail of drugs, too and a very supportive family. I once asked my doctor if I would ever be able to get off these drugs for the mental health issues and he, the doctor I used to go to, said no because I have already been on them off and on for a large part of my life and that usually indicates it’s not going to go away. He referred to it as major depressive disorder. Sigh……………………. oh well, it is what it is and I’m just happy to have all the people I’ve met here at WP that actually can understand because they are going through similar things. I’m getting ready to start DBT next week, some sort of group therapy, then I’ll have 3 therapists and I see all 3 every week. That’s really funny isn’t it. Have you ever heard of anyone ever having 3 therapists? I sure haven’t. I just have so much to deal with that it’s just too much for one therapist to handle. Nice talking to you and I hope to talk some more, later. Have a good evening.
    Peace,
    Tammy:)

    • April says:

      I’ve been on and off the drugs. Just recently, I decided that may be my life, but at least it’s some semblance of a life. I’m glad that you are getting the help you need whether it is one therapist or three. I went for years taking medication prescribed my my primary doctor, and trying to fix myself. Needless to say, it didn’t work. Nice talking to you as well!

      • tlohuis says:

        I did take myself off all the medications at one point when a doctor overdosed me and went into major withdrawals because my body is used to narcotics and opiates. I then realized I had made a huge mistake because I just have to have something for the pain and narcotics and opiates are the only things that work. I hate taking all this medication that will one day kill me, so I do hope that one day I can try it again, by weaning off the way you’re supposed to do, but since I had been overdosed, I pulled that pain patch off. Before I can do that again, I have to find a way of dealing with the pain, otherwise I’ll just have to stay on it until it does me in. As I’m sure you know that you get tolerant to these drugs and then they have to up the dose and when you reach the highest dose of that medication, it’s then up another notch to the next more powerful drung Oh, well, just the way it is for me to survive. I am now about to fall asleep because I took my meds about an hour ago and they are really starting to kick in. I hope you have a good night and can get some sleep. Talk to you, again, soon.
        Peace,
        Tammy:)

        • April says:

          My sister has Multiple Sclerosis, and is in constant pain. My heart goes out to you. While I have chronic pain, mine can be managed by regular Ibuprofen and losing weight, sitting up straight, and exercise. I know how much that irritates me, and it seems negligible, but it will effect my mood. I hope you had a good night’s rest.

          • tlohuis says:

            Wow. You really can’t catch a break can you? I’m very sorry to hear this about your sister, especially after hearing about all your other losses. That really breaks my heart. Those things you list as negligible, I understand that, too. All of it. Drives me mad because I can’t exercise the way I used to and I’m constantly wanting to lose weight, even though my therapists tell me I don’t need to lose weight. What I see in the mirror is apparently way different than what everyone else sees. It definitely effects my mood because those things are very important to me and have been since I was 5. Now I’m disabled and can’t do shit! Sorry about that, but that’s the way I feel about it. I did sleep well last night, but my husband just told me that they took his mom off chemo because it’s not working and she’s dying. 7 tumors in her brain and lung cancer. I hope your day was a good one and that you get some sleep tonight. This is gonna be one long night. I’m already over here trying to keep myself alive for everyone else and now my mother in law. Hope to talk to you soon. sorry, I just had to get that out.

  9. No one really knows what any person has gone through, or is struggling through at any moment. Why people assume or judge is beyond me.
    You just do the best you can one day at a time. Sending you love and all things positive. Diane

    • April says:

      Thank you Diane. I have been searching the memory banks—I’m sure to have a crazy family story for you. I can’t recall too much drama, because my grandma (the Matriarch, controlled everybody), we couldn’t get out of hand at family gatherings because we all had to pretend we weren’t family. Now, that’s dysfunctional but not too funny. Oh wait! I may have a story or two about her—–

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