” I’m alive in here
We’re always searching for something
[The Chameleons UK – Soul In Isolation]
In this entry, I’m going to tell you a not-secret, and a secret to balance that.
If you know me, really know me, you know what this not-secret is – I’ve been suffering from depression for a very long time. It comes and goes, and sometimes is mixed with strong feelings of anxiety, or mania. Sometimes I get both anxious and despairing at once; sometimes I will just be unable to move, overcome with sadness or ennui or just a bland melancholy.
The point my mentioning this isn’t to elicit sympathy or offer excuses. It isn’t to get advice or even to tell a story, exactly. It is to put us all on the same page, and to set the stage for the secret part of this.
I’ve known that I’ve been depressed for a very long time – since at least 20 years. I thought at first that it was just a symptom of the situations that I found myself in, a funk brought on by trying times. Later, I realized that these episodes were coming more frequently, and often with bigger stakes. I used to call them my “nervous breakdowns.” The episodes have made me sick at times, and in the past couple of years I’ve become more and more removed from my friends. Yes, I moved away – but I’ve also withdrawn. It has become harder and harder to go out and do things with people, and when I do, I always “crash” afterward, having a terrible depressive episode. In fact, any very happy moment is usually followed by a big crash – part of why I thought I was bipolar, rather than just depressed.
Here’s the thing – I’ve never been diagnosed, and I’ve resisted meds. I’m terrified that I’ll get put on some drug that will knock out vital parts of me – the parts that feel strongly, the parts that make me happy as well as so sad… I’ve seen it before, I know it can happen, and I fear it greatly. There’s also the fear that my precious and hard-won sexuality will be knocked for a loop, another side effect that I know is quite possible.
I can’t do this without help anymore. I’ve been working so hard, trying so hard… and lately it seems to just be worse, almost unbearable. My husband, who is so incredibly supportive of me, has convinced me to go talk to my doctor. [an aside – this is the first doctor I’ve trusted in a very long time, so I feel comfortable with this aspect.] On Tuesday I’m going there – with Rob in tow, for support – to start the conversation that I’ve avoided for so long.
That’s the secret. I’ve never sought treatment of any kind for this problem until now.
… That was easier to talk about than I feared it might be. Hopefully it will go this well with my doctor.
I know this isn’t groundbreaking at all for millions of other people out there with similar problems – but to me, it is. Thanks for letting me tell you.