Saturday, December 3, 2011

Depression

Depression is defined as:feeling sad, blue, unhappy, miserable, or down in the dumps. Most of us feel this way at one time or another for short periods.

True clinical depression is a mood disorder in which feelings of sadness, loss, anger, or frustration interfere with everyday life for an extended period of time.

This week Kansas City lost local weatherman, Don Harman, who took his own life...seemingly out of the blue for those on the outside. We have sat this week and watched his co anchors and colleagues struggle through, cry on air and attempt to raise awareness. I for one am very proud of them. No one on the outside would have ever fathomed that that hilarious weatherman on the morning show was depressed enough to take his own life. His coworker blogged that he had somehow convinced himself that everyone would be better without him. I am so proud that they didn't try to cover it up and on a campaign to bring understanding to Depression. More people suffer than anyone knows.

Unfortunately all too often suicide seems the only answer to those of us struggling. Those who do not suffer are in absolute shock and distress when something like this happens. Even I went,"Why would Don Harman kill himself? He's the happiest little guy in the world." That was before I heard he suffered from depression. When that came to light I thought,"Well damn. Got another one. Sorry Don."

I suffer from Depression..true,clinical, mood disorder depression. I have for a very long time. I think it runs in my family genetically but for me there are many reasons above and beyond that have turned me into who I am and how I feel that I do not care to share at this time.

When it first started my son was very small. I can remember always being asleep. If I wasn't working or taking care of him I slept..Slept so I didn't have to deal with the sadness. The feeling of impending doom. Nothing matters, all for nothing. It was a feeling I just couldn't shake. I went to the doctor because I thought I had Mono. She told me I was depressed and put me on a medicine. A few months later I realized I wasn't sleeping all the time anymore so I stopped taking my medicine. Within a few weeks I was back in bed...back to doom and gloom. It took me years to figure out that I needed medication. That there was a link between the meds and the doom and gloom. I kept trying to convince myself that I was strong enough. That this thing was just something I had to get over. That I needed to stop being a wimp.

Off and on during this I slowly started to have panic attacks. Episodes that would appear out of no where. I would suddenly and without warning get dizzy and have vertigo. The lines in my vision would blur and I would hyperventilate and sometimes even pass out. If I couldn't get somewhere safe where I could be alone until it passed I would go into terror like episodes where it felt like I was losing my mind. Right there, right then. I could be walking through the mall, standing in line at the grocery store...driving down the road.

When my Dad passed away at 56 I lost it. Panic attacks and my bed became a routine..even while medicated. I went about 2 years where I could go to work and home and that was it. Even the thought of going to the store made me want to throw up. It was no way to live and I didn't know what else to do.

One day... I couldn't get the thought of just ending it out of my head. I had thought about it in the morning while I looked at my cabinet full of meds. I thought about it on my way to work...flashes of my son laughing, my Dad, my husband. I was so out of it that I answered every question with a confused, "What?" all day long

I had been married about 3 years. Wasn't what I had dreamed of. My son was entering his tweens. I had lost my Dad and my career that year due to cancer and a layoff. I was working at a job I hated for a person..that was just plain mean. In ever way. Vicious. I couldn't take any more.

I remember it almost like an out of body experience. I walked out of work at 5pm without saying a word. I started my car and started home. Right after turning East on the highway I saw a semi trailer truck. The only thing I thought at that moment was, " How fitting" as I crossed the road into his lane. I closed my eyes and hoped it would be quick. I cant tell you what happened. I didn't hit him. I ended up in the median turned the other way. I had heard honking. He didn't hit me. I didn't hit him and everyone just kept going. I sat there for several minutes confused and finally just turned the car around and went home. I had left no note. I had made no plan.

Still in my daze I returned home. I wasn't relived that I was alive. Frankly I was kinda pissed. Still in my daze I walked in the house, past my family and down into the basement. I laid on the floor for a very long time and cried. I finally got up and called the local help hotline. I was connected with a therapist and scheduled for a meeting with a counselor the next day.....

I have to admit that at first I hated counseling. I didn't want to talk and cry in front of someone I didn't know. There was NO way I was gonna talk to that pillow and pretend it was me as a little girl. Did she really want me to pretend that pillow was me at 8 years old? And she wanted the grown up me to tell the little me it would all be OK. I refused and she realized she had to get tough with me.

She started to finish my sentences. I would describe how I felt about something and she knew what I was going to say next. She too had suffered and overcome depression. Wow. She became my example. She told me what to do when the panic aura started and it worked. I could go to the store again. Soon I could even drive more than a mile or two at a time.

Just about the time she was signing off on my case I became pregnant with Abby. Everything was going to be OK. I felt normal and was moving on with life. It can happen...little did we know

What I am trying to say is depression is everywhere and it isn't just a poor me thing to get attention. I know that is the stigma it has gotten but it is far from that. It is something deep and tormenting and sometimes like living a nightmare with a smile on your face.

Like Don...I have been described many times as one of the funniest people you know or who have ever met. It's a laughter through tears kind of thing. A defense mechanism. That self deprecating humor comes from fear of rejection or from being made fun of. My thing is making jokes about my size. Maybe if I do it you won't. It comes from being bullied and self conscious.

If you suffer from depression or from feelings of hopelessness or suicide...you really are not alone. There are people that can help you. Can't afford it? I've never paid a dime for anything other than my meds that you can also get discounts on at almost every pharmacy.

If you are thinking of hurting or killing yourself PLEASE call 1-800- SUICIDE

If you are struggling and need to talk to someone who understands, call 1-800- WARM EAR or 913-281-2251

If you need more information or a referral, please call Mental Health of America at 913-281-2221

No matter your financial situation, there is help available. Please seek help if you or someone you know is suffering


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