Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Getting out without getting out

Several years ago, I had a discussion with a friend about one of the hardest aspects of depression for us both to handle. It's not the blame, the hopelessness, loneliness, confusion or any of its other nasty aspects. It's that depression is very self-centered. Depression is alienating. It separates you from much of the world around you. We both get very caught up in self blame with a litany of "I've been a bad (insert relationship role here), I've failed at (accomplishment here), I've messed up (bad, embarrassing, or awkward memory here)." Much of my depressions may be about how bad I am at whatever, but they're still all about me.

With our particular combination of a fundamentalist religious background and old fashioned ideas of proper Southern womanhood, there could hardly be any greater wrong. It comes at you from so many different angles. Someone recently gave me The Purpose Driven Life. I haven't read it yet. I'm not criticizing it, but one of the book's points is that it shouldn't be about you. That depression is self centered becomes another thing about which to feel bad.

For me it has often taken forcing myself to be around people when I'm depressed to feel better. It's harder than it sounds. I often feel like I'm bringing my friends down when I'm depressed. I'm really lucky. I have friends who really care about how I'm feeling and doing, and I don't want to be a burden to them. I mean, honestly, who wants to be the party pooper? Not me. Once I get to the point of accepting that my friends can cope with my depression, that they won't mind if I'm not funny or charming, that sometimes I may just be along for the ride, they help me see things other than my own pit of gloom and despair.

That's one of the reasons why now is a particularly challenging time. I'm without a driver's license for the next month when I get to back to traffic court and hope the nice judge will have mercy on me. My friends aren't neighbors. They're driving distance. I'm job hunting (now primarily by computer since I'm having to bum rides) and don't have the focus and discipline of work responsibilities and the quasi-social life that work involves. I'm not a telephone person after years of living on the phone in my business life. Most of my friends aren't telephone people either. I know I have to connect somehow, and for now, that means getting back to my blog.

I may still be writing all about me, but it's still a way of connecting. The community aspect of blogging is what got me hooked when I first started years ago, and though it's different now, it's still real. I also know that just writing anything can lead to writing about something. Best of all, I don't have to worry about being a burden. No one's going to read this if they don't want to, and I don't feel like I'm imposing.

On the ood news front. Tomorrow after a week's delay in prescription refill availability, I get anti-depressants back.



Blogger Lisa :-] said...

Yes, depression is a very self-centered thing. When you fall so deep into yourself, it's hard to see anything but yourself. I was there...

September 09, 2008 11:42 PM  
Blogger Theresa Williams said...

After great pain, a formal feeling comes--
The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs--...
The Feet, mechanical, go round--...
This is the Hour of Lead--
Remembered, if outlived,
As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow--
First--Chill--then Stupor--then letting go--

Emily Dickinson

September 10, 2008 12:12 AM  
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September 10, 2008 4:42 PM  
Blogger emmapeelDallas said...

Yep, there is that downward spiral with depression, and it's so hard to get out of it. Scott Spencer says it's like being in a glassy trough, and even when you get a bit of momentum, the sides are slippery and you slide back down. All of us who've been depressed know that feeling. When I worked with kids, we called it "stinkin' thinkin'" & I still like that phrase because it puts it into perspective a bit. Hang in there. Write. It's a good way to break on through to the light.


September 11, 2008 5:46 AM  
Blogger TJ said...

Try it...takes two weeks and you will have it all back again.
Lexapro is from the family of drugs known as selective serotoninA neurotransmitter that is believed to influence mood. SSRIs help relieve the symptoms of depression by increasing the available supply of serotonin in the brain. reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs.
It has saved many I know...a true aid in depression.

September 11, 2008 2:54 PM  
Blogger Gannet Girl said...

It seems that Emily Dickinson's "After great pain" comes universally to mind in these circumstances.

September 12, 2008 8:17 AM  
Anonymous lorna (see throughfaith) said...

I'm not a telephone person either - thank you for reminding me that I too need other ways of connecting ...

September 15, 2008 1:06 AM  
Blogger Wenda said...

Connecting, yes.

September 18, 2008 2:03 AM  
Blogger redsneakz said...

I've always described depression like looking through gauze at the world. Well-meaning acquaintances can cheer you up, of course, but those who don't know you get annoyed when you aren't truly happy.

And that's the isolating part.

September 22, 2008 9:58 AM  

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