Five months ago I didn’t know anything about depression, and I sure didn’t think that I was suffering from it. But I could feel my life spinning out of control and fading away: the numbness, tiredness, lack of interest, isolation.
I hated myself and I blamed myself, I withdrew from my wife, from my friends, and from my co-workers. I drank too much… so I could bury it all… and so I could fall asleep.
Spinning out of control
One terrible morning, with a headache that seemed to hold the weight of a thousand worlds, and the omnipresent desire to just end my life, I interrupted my normal ride to work and took myself to get some help.
When I walked in the door and checked myself in, I had told myself that it was because I had a drinking problem and I needed to get some help. I stopped drinking and continued counseling once a week. The horrible thoughts, the destructive introspection and the suicidal impulses got worse. I hated myself for having yet another problem, but was determined to fix it.
My counselor had quickly identified that the drinking was a symptom of a greater problem, and she was determined to figure out what that was. She saved my life.
My safe place
I felt safe in that place, and I was able to be completely honest with her; there would be no judgement, she didn’t know any of my family or friends, I could tell her anything… and over the weeks, I told her everything.
As I slipped, she challenged me, sometimes with “homework,” and other times with books to read. I started learning about what was, and had been, happening to me.
I was becoming increasingly suicidal, something that I didn’t see or understand at the time. She recommended that I see their physician and entertain medication. I did, just in time.
My low dose of antidepressants (Effexor), combined with weekly visits to my counselor, has gifted me a new lease of life – or gifted me my old self back again. The ugly thoughts of ending my life have gone away like the faded memories of a bad dream. I wake up in the morning without that horrible, oppressive weight behind my eyes, the one that says, “Just stay in bed… forever.”
Don’t be ashamed
I enjoy interaction with others and even seek it out more readily than before. I function so much better at work. I’m a better husband, step-dad, and friend. I feel the goodness of the sunrise, instead of trying to force feelings into a numb mind.
As stated here so many times, and in so many ways, this is a journey that we will always have to deal with and coexist with, while adapting to the ways that depression affects us all individually. Please don’t be ashamed to seek help.
There is help out there for us, like the unbelievable care that I have been blessed with. Please don’t be afraid… don’t be ashamed… don’t tell yourself that you don’t deserve or need help. Seeking out the places and people that could help me truly saved my life, and for that I am forever grateful.