Saturday, May 12, 2007

Depression is Madness, Not Sadness: Second Chance: Sunday Scribbling

It's hard to say what the worst part of suffering from chronic or clinical depression is. One of the worst things, though, is always asking for a second chance. It happens most often when Mr. Hyde comes roaring out.

My otherwise generous and accepting personality gives way to a paranoid, quick to anger, jealous, accusatory personality. I say mean things. I can't believe I'm loved or accepted. I put great strain on my loved ones, especially my wife, or in earlier days, a girlfriend or lover.

In many ways, the worst part is the calm after the storm, when I feel terrible guilt for what I've done or said, and say over and over again after incident after incident, "Please. Give me a second chance. I won't do it again."

It's all terribly confusing. When I'm the person I want to be, these outbursts are unthinkable.

Even worse, for years and years, I thought I could control these mental breakdowns, as did the wife or lover/girlfriend I verbally levelled. Thinking it was all a matter of my will, I turned the anger on myself and berated myself, either out loud or with my demeaning, accusatory, self-loathing inner voice.

Getting help was very difficult. When I'd go to a therapist, I was always at my best. I couldn't replicate these episodes. I'd see someone for a while and get sent home after a while. The therapist couldn't really see what the problem was.

I had a total breakdown just over two years ago. I went into a paralyzing depression. I couldn't go to work. It wouldn't go away and finally I went to the hospital emergency room. This led to going back to medication and I've stayed faithful to my medications ever since, suffered some relapses, but overall things have remained steady.

My wife tells me again and again that I seem like a normal person.

Consequently, the episodes of erratic behavior, of lows and highs, have almost disappeared.

I enjoy feeling so much more under control.

Most of all, I enjoy not always asking for second chances. I really enjoy not asking for a second chance and saying, "I won't do it again" and having that promise be hollow and meaningless.

Luckily, with my third wife, she gave me several second chances, hung in there with me, and I'm almost never asking for a second chance again.

It's a profound relief.

To read more Second Chance Sunday Scribblings go here.


Pinehurst in my Dreams said...

My heart goes out to you for the things you have suffered, and the times you were unable to scale the walled precipice that depression creates.

The Deke must be an amazing woman, to know that the depression was not the real you, but a pit you sometimes found yourself in. It takes a strong person to not take the madness personally, and to believe the best in the broken loved one. Give her a hug for me.

Annie Mahoney said...

A very honest piece of writing.

As someone who comes from a home that was, at times, made chaotic because of mental illness, I really appreciate that honesty.

Jennifer said...

I'm glad to hear your doing so much better. I have anxiety disorder, i use to have depression but it went away after my second child. Hormones I guess? the dr doesn't know why. I hope it doesn't come back for It's horrible not having that control over oneself and people don't know what its like to be in that pit of despair and not be able get out, unless they've been there themselves. I'm glad to hear your wife is patient and helped you. If my hubby wasn't supportive I wouldn't be here right now. Support and understanding are good legs to stand on.

gautami tripathy said...

A very honest piece of writing. You know your problem and that is half the battle won.

I was prone to giving in to anger. Slowly I controlled it. I won't say I dont get angry anymore but somehow I know when to stop.

Your post set me thinking.

Anonymous said...

You impress me. Dave Diedrich