Depressives Post Challenge Question – Day 12

cookie-monster in sunglasses

I have had major depressive episodes. I took a unipolar antidepressant for 15 years. Then, I became manic on a unipolar antidepressant (Effexor). Instead of listening to my cries, my doctor continued to increase the dosage. He actually had the nerve to say to me “If you don’t stop crying, you will end up in a hospital.”

Well, to detox and get help from the damage that the b@stard created in my hypersensitive brain, I ultimately ended up checking myself into a hospital.

The hard part is remembering every single thing that occurred. I have not forgotten my experiences of the dangerous desperate lows and the bizarre sparkle dust of mania. It shames me and humiliates me.

The hard part was that it was not overnight and I have been reminded by coworkers and family. It was a nightmare and so horrifying that all these years later, trying to stay on meds and reading more books than a self-help section at the local book store, I cringe. People have had to leave jobs depending on the meltdown. Others, like myself, have had to deal with the look and treatment of the “crazy person” on the loose. It is hard enough to struggle mightily but having it rubbed in my face is excruciating.

Was your meltdown public and do people keep reminding you of their interpretation of it?

You are better at being you than anyone else I know

quote about people judging others

Fear has silenced you. Anxiety and insecurity have prevented you from stretching yourself because your most basic needs must be met. You are realizing that you have your own strength and desires and needs. You want to improve your life.

For the last, however, many of years you have been told not to speak unless spoken to. Your right to express yourself has been limited to a small room with people that no one else wants to meet. By taking away your opportunity to speak, others tried to beat you down and defeat you. Rejection from others, and your own despair of moving ahead, have turned you into an insecure frightened person with no self esteem.

If they beat you down enough, then they win. The “they” can be any name you want to replace it with. There is always a bully or someone else whose own insecurity prevents someone else from shining his or her light. This is not a game of tug and war, this is your life. You have not given anyone the right to take away your voice. Who you are remains inside of you and is a part of all that you are. Your personal strength is not a matter of someone giving you permission. Not a spouse, not a boss, not a child, nor anyone else has the right to take away your opportunity to express yourself in a safe way. Find a way to be heard even if it is only in your mind.

If you have a voice, then let it be heard. There is not one thing that you could say that someone else will not agree with somewhere in the world. There are so many people silenced by regimes that block their freedom of speech. You have a right to be heard and to express yourself in any manner that does not harm anyone else. If your expression is music, then sing. If it is art, declare yourself an artist and determine that whatever you create is part of the expression you add to the great art of the world. Dancers unite in circles and perform publicly in squares. You have a voice; you are someone, no matter who tells you that you are not.

If your own worst critic is you, then you must allow yourself to be heard. Journal, write down your words, create a poem, put a quote that you enjoy on a blog, express yourself to a therapist, plant a flower, or feed a fish. Pet a dog, look at a painting, listen to your favorite music, search for an idea on Wikipedia. Find some way to express yourself and improve your life even by one minute, by one idea, which serves to improve who you are in the next minute. And the next. And the next. Do this until you have given five positive minutes to yourself and realize that you are someone worth loving and listening to. You do not have to hide away unless you want to. If you need to keep yourself away from others out of fear, then believe that they do not have the power to limit you, inside, even if you are already fighting a battle.

Put your foot down. Then put the other foot down just a bit ahead of it. Then begin to put one foot in front of the other and get a drink of water. Fill your body with a clear fluid and feel your cells hydrate. Your brain cells receive oxygen and you realize the gift of swallowing and feeling your heart expand with every kind thing that you do for yourself. Once it becomes a habit, share it with others. Help to do kind things for others for the sake of making them feel better than you do right now. Even if they never say thank you, know that you have helped another human being and given a gift of yourself to brighten the light of humanity. Step out of the darkness, even if it is only out of your bed, and see that someday it will not feel as bad as it does right now.

train tunnel

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Depression makes me cry, it does not dampen my intelligence

doorman tipping hat

There are just some experiences that inform and infuriate me as they emphasize stupidity and rudeness to another. Any depressive’s mind runs faster and longer around the clock than most other people. Yet the disease to please sometimes rears its head and you look for the kindness in someone noticing your feelings while grieving losses.

Someone I see often has exempted themselves from speaking to me directly or any eye contact whatsoever. I smiled and said good morning. He pointed out his extended index finger in response. Really? You have got to be kidding.

Is he trying to catch a cab?

Anyone who has had a mood disorder is more knowledgeable about medications, chemistry and neurology than your average person. Journaling and all the efforts at introspection and self examination make us hyper aware. Do you think we cannot hear or see the condescending behavior?

Have you ever dealt with anyone who treats you like your stupid or less-than just because they could? How did you handle it?

You apparently cannot handle the truth

There are people to whom you speak the truth in hopes of creating understanding. For anyone who is highly sensitive, or suffers from any kind of mood disorder or episode, we take a deep breath and attempt to communicate those things that separate and isolate us, cautionary tales and honest experiences, and the healing we seek and want to share.

Some people really make the effort to try to learn and understand. The only way to remove some stigma and fight for mental health care parity and insurance coverage is by speaking the truth. When something hurts us, we have to be brave to tell the truth of the pain.

Some may listen and hopefully the large steps that need to be taken will advance the care and necessities of those with mood disorders.

Others hear the truth and use the information to avoid and isolate further. They avoid all communication. Literally, there is an act of stepping around you, and those Berlin-sized walls that separate us, rather than look at you and interact. The stigma is an excuse to control contact and continue with mean or bad behavior.

I hope that when the time comes, they receive the kindness that they did not extend, when they need it most. It is a horrible feeling to need help and hope and receive none. No one is really immune to a mood disorder episode despite what they think. Life happens and brings joys and sorrows.

People with depression work hard to get through their days, months and years. But in the long run, the kind of ignorance and control against awareness is the truly sad truth.

Rubbernecking in the Depressed Lane

confused traffic signs

The moving is slow, lined up like ducks at the edge of a lake, hoping for a crumb from the tourists. We watch ourselves and how others watch us. We are weary of the hiding, the stigma, the pushing out of strength and energy.

Meanwhile, even though our predicament comes with isolation and revolving negative thoughts, the rubberneckers just look at the wreckage as they pass by. It must be great to pass judgment without ever having to experience what the road is really like. They never have to drive with the hazard lights on or the panic attacks forcing us to the emergency rest stop.

For anyone who has had to suffer with changing moods, copious weeping, and the energy of a sloth, we know what the road signs look like. Driving dependent on the GPS of medications and trying to bypass the traffic jam of emotions, others speed by us never realizing what caused the morning back up. They just grumble at us moving slowly in front of them waiting for us to get out of the way.

If I ever pass anyone in trouble, I understand the detours on the crooked paths that lead them there. Seeing someone in bad shape on the side of the roadway, I know the tools that they need and the boost of human kindness. They need a hand, just a smile, or someone to help them get moving again. Instead they wait watching the movement of life and activity passing them by, hoping they can get on the path again another day.

My Piece of Mind

question marks

Some days the best you can say about the lessons you are supposed to be learning is that at least you don’t behave like that ass who made you feel bad for being you.

I don’t know why I dwell and obsess when I am supposed to be manifesting good things and reach for a thought that feels better.

Well, I am reaching and trying to draw my ragged thinking back to the things that are positive in this world. Then I spend time with people who have so much more than others and think they are entitled to be King.

What would freedom really feel like? An unchained mind that did not give a damn about anyone else’s crap and did not need approval from the disease to please. What if I really only had to worry about what to eat for lunch, or something that feels more immediate, less long term, and not enough to cause an anxiety attack or pounding headache?

Why am I spending my days surrounded by so much that is unloving and unkind? What would the freedom to walk away feel like — and all that I need to do it?

That is the kind of peace of mind the pieces of mind need.

The Uphill Battle on a Downward Day

Crying-Babies-mime

As a depressed person, I really am the Masked Avenger. I feel for everyone around me, or in the community, or in the world. My heart breaks for anyone else in pain because I understand it so well. I try to help them even though I cannot help myself. But I have to get through the day and put on the smiles in case someone looks at me so it can seem like I am oh, so, cavalier.

I stick up for the underdog, I always have. But when you are the highly sensitive underdog, you see how much of the world only recognizes the top dogs. I want to right wrongs and create justice where it does not exist. But the first place is in my own environment where people know my feelings are hurt and the sadness that exists. Silly me, communication is supposed to create understanding. Well, it only created an opportunity to stick the knife even deeper and see what it takes to draw complete defeat for me.

This cannot be why I was put on Earth. There has to be more than just pain and stigma and crappy treatment. There have to be other people who understand how it feels to try to blink away the prick in your eyes that brings tears to the edge. The feelings and the sensitivity that brings me to the edge. The more I want understanding, the less I see. Trouble is, I feel the pain and that is part of the challenge. It is also the victory for those who remind you of how little you matter and that your presence is not required or desired.

I don’t drink or smoke because I don’t want to mess up the treatment, or what is supposed to be the cure for what ails me. But I really understand why people are driven to it, trying to create an escape and a way out. Sometimes the pain is so bad and the heart is too broken to cheer itself up.

But I am really struggling to get through the nightly parade of negative thoughts and the make-believe to get up and do it all again tomorrow.

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