Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Hulking Gray Beast

A while back a friend asked me why I have never blogged on depression. I did not have an answer. So I took a few days to chew it over and I still did not know. Depression is certainly something I am very familiar with on a personal level. It has pretty much been the one constant in my life since, well, puberty. I have seen therapists and psychiatrists and taken anti-depressants a plenty. Now depression can be situational, short-term based on temporary circumstances. Most people experience it at some time in life or another, for we hardly live in a perfect world. But it can be chronic, too. Long-term and quite severe in folks who have a chemical imbalance or are exposed to repetitive trauma for an extended period. That is the kind I have suffered from.

I don't know if I was born with it, developed it at an early age or triggered it with my lifestyle choices. All I know is about six months after I got married I became so severely depressed I could not go to work because I could not stop crying! Why? Hell if I knew! All I knew was the world was flat and gray. I was not the same person each morning, my personality mimicking Forest Gump's box of chocolate, but not nearly so sweet. Simply put I had no obvious outward reason to be depressed but could barely lift my head from my pillow. God depression is depressing!

The reaction from others I perceived was to snap out of it. Get over it. Make a decision to be happy and just do it, dammit! But I could not. Much like Fibromyalgia, depression was not my choice. It was a real clinical problem I experienced because of internal misfiring or dysfunction in my brain. And the longer I was depressed the harder it became to get better. I spent years in therapy learning how to not indulge my inner child, but instead set boundaries and limits with her. Purging the garbage from my past, I set out to create a now which was of my choosing. I called it shedding the snakeskin of my youth. Then I got Fibromyalgia. Of course the first line of defense the medical community offered was an anti-depressant, citing nothing else wrong with me. I have battled off and on with the hulking gray beast ever since I can remember. It is a thief, a robber, a criminal. Something I must manage, be cognisant of, always. For it is just waiting to gobble me up in my weak and sorrowful moments. Lifestyle choices help, living authentically is even better. But ignoring it, hoping it will just go away, that is the worst thing I could have done. Does a diabetic treat their diabetes? A person with high cholesterol implement measures to reduce it? A pregnant woman take prenatal vitamins? Yeah, when something is going on with your body you address it.

Thanks for joining,


  1. Good one Leah. Well done. I inherited the gene and struggle as a child/teenager. I thought I had it under control the got CMV, which triggered my Fibro. So my family have never accapted my Fibro. My brother actually said the other day (after 17 yrs of disability by a private dis. insurance policy AND Social Security) that I have "searched online for diseases and convinced my Dr's I have CFS and Fibro, also sleep apnea" . I was SO devasted by his comments (which I've accepted from my narcissistic mother) That I took my gun and held it to my head and thought "no one believes me". Luckily I came to my senses, called my best friend, and my Dr. My dr said he has a patient who has chronic migraines so her husband is divorcing her because he doesn't believe her....even her dr.
    I no longer have a "family" as far as I'm concerned.
    However, I DO have a loving understanding daughter and granddaughter. Thank God.

    My point: some people have depression before, some after, some not at all. Depression has a bad rap. Like it's just a bad mood. It's not. But we as humans want to be heard and believed and loved.

  2. this was interesting thank you.
    i had my yearly diabetes review yesterday and a new part of the meeting is to ask about feeling depressed etc.
    i have had some very low moments over the last year because of my m.e and finbro but as i explained to the nurse i have had several boubts of depression and so i know the difference between feeling low and true depression. i thought about my depression last night and remember the morning i knew something was really wrong when i got up to go to work and couldnt...i cried while getting dressed and then i just sat on the bed with my coat on and cried...and i didnt know why i was crying and i still dont know why i was crying.