Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sharing my depression experience...naah

Because I have never really felt ashamed of my depression I have frequently considered speaking publicly to people about it.  In fact I did once speak to a group of administrative staff working for various fire departments in Ontario.  It went well and I think I was able to educate some people about the issue.  Recently I have been thinking about it again.  I wouldn't know how to go about finding people who want to listen but more importantly, I don't think I have anything positive to offer.  I can tell people about my experience, my ups and downs but ultimately I have no happy ending to inspire people to fight.  The real reason I am still here is because I have been required to live out of a feeling of obligation to my family.  I would never have wanted anyone to be angry with them for leaving (dieing), or for them to blame themselves because 1) they may feel something they did or didn't do was the straw that broke the camels' back or 2) they missed some major clue or indication that it was coming and they should have/could have stopped it.  Even at times when I thought I would have been doing everyone a favour,  I remember the words of two counselors in particular.  One said "She will blame herself" referring to my beautiful daughter and the second said "My mother committed suicide, your kids will not get over it".  I suppose the whole suicide thing is selfish because if you do it your family and friends, at least those that love you, will suffer terribly not just because of your death but the nature of it.  By continuing to live and do the best I can, I am the only one who suffers.  So this suffering offers no message of hope to people who have depression.  The people who need to speak about it are the ones who fight it and come out the other side becoming successful and happy and leave the illness behind, like cancer survivors.    I am doing what I can to give my live meaning but so far the only thing I feel like I've been successful at is rescuing Max and fostering dogs for the human society.  Giving them loving homes until they are well enough to be adopted.  We have so far fostered five dogs...five dogs, and I was first diagnosed in September of 1995.  Not much to be proud of.  What does it say about me and my self-esteem, self-respect that my deepest is wish is to be well so that D and John would not have to worry about me any more.5

I absolutely know that all of the people out there who know me will remind me about my children.  They are good people, funny, smart and I hope with all my heart that they will be happy.  These things are true but I feel that they are true in spite of me, not because of me.  Jessica does not want to have kids because "look what happened to you when you had kids".  I truly believe that my depression was inevitable and that it was triggered post partum (even though it was more than a year after Derek was born) was chance.  My anxiety has always been pretty out of control and if I had progressed in my career as a legal real estate clerk from residential to bigger and bigger commercial real estate which I envisioned happening, the pressure and responsibility would have caused so much stress and anxiety that I would have cracked up anyway. 
In the end, even on my good days or what I would even call episodes of happiness, I am more or less a shell.  I don't know my parents, my siblings except D, my kids.  I really don't know their full stories and histories; their beliefs about life and spirituality, their feelings about their families of origin and the families they have created with spouses, partners and children.  For the most part I don't even really know what they do for a living or what they wish they were doing.  I feel terribly isolated emotionally from pretty much every one except for D and John.  I know my mom would like to be closer but I don't know how to tell her where I'm at that won't make her feel responsible.  She has already mentioned that she is to blame for my genetic predisposition to depression.  It is as it has always been, I feel if people really wanted to know how/where I am they would sit down and ask me honestly and not offer the "So, how are you?" that rolls off the tongue so easily when speaking to someone.  At the same time, I really want to know the truth about how others are but I feel that asking would be prying and that if people want to tell me the truth of how they are, they will tell me.
In the meantime, my creative endeavors are keeping me busy and Max and the occasional foster dog are continuing to get me out of bed in the morning and out for a walk most (not every) days.


  1. I know it's daft to say, it's good to see a post from you. Given the subject matter but it is. It's good to know you're still there, plugging away. However you may feel about yourself the fact you post shows you are moving towards and want change.
    Let's imagine you're rich and run a business. You don't have to go to work but you do. Because you have an obligation to co-workers, customers etc etc.
    Let's imagine your partner comes home late from work. You've eaten so you don't have to make more food but you do. Because you care and love your partner and in the whole family setup sharing, caring, supporting is part of the obligation.
    Let's imagine your walking down the street and someone older and less steady on their feet is coming the other way. You don't have to move out of the way but you do. Because you are more able to and as part of the community, the human race etc etc you are obliged too.
    So you hanging around and not checking out Isn't just so your kids don't feel bad. It's also because buried deep down inside you. You know it's part of the family obligation you want to be involved, you want to be part of the team. You know your family, like all family's can't do it on their own.
    So even though you feel crap you're still strong deep down. When you are sleeping you're not depressed, when you're doing stuff you're not depressed. So actually you are a normal loving wife, mum, human being who gets depressed sometimes ( because those nasty shifty blues get to you when your guard is down).
    Onwards and upwards :-))))))))

    1. Thanks. I know you're right, I guess I just sometimes feel like if I was "recovered" I would be out conquering the world, getting a job, making dinner, blah, blah, blah. You know, the whole perfect, fulfilled, meaningful, happy life that some people have and that I think if I loved enough I would have too

    2. I think if that's what you want you'll get it :-)