Coming Out of the Dark Closet of Major Depressive Disorder
The curtains are drawn, blocking the mid-day sun on what should be a normal work day. I’m lying in bed now, covers pulled tightly to my chest. The bed has become my haven. My mind races with terrible thoughts. I’m not sure I can do this. My stomach churns with anxiety, my eyes well up, but there are no tears. They won’t come.
This Is an Illness With a Name: Major Depressive Disorder
The children come home from school, and I can’t get out of the bed. I fake a smile. My wife, a saint whose vows are being tested, suggests something is wrong.
I am missing out on life, missing what should be some of the best days with the children. I don’t tell her just yet that I’m just trying to survive the day, trying to make it to bedtime, when I can take a sleeping pill and hope my despair disappears into a deep slumber.
The next day, we go to the doctor. He gives what I am feeling a name. Depression.
He prescribes medicine that doesn’t work. It seems to make it worse. We go back again a few weeks later and the doctor concedes that I have reached a depth of depression beyond his capacity to treat (watch the difference between just "feeling depressed" and having serious depression).
Very soon, I start seeing a psychiatrist and, at this point, I don’t really care what others might think about it. I wonder what the lady in the corner of the waiting room thinks of me and then I realize she has her own issues, her own battles to fight. I wonder what the man sitting nearby struggles with, but then I realize for the first time, maybe, that I am not in this fight alone.
That was about seven years ago. I have been on an antidepressant ever since and found drugs that work better. I have given up a prolific binge-drinking career. I changed my real career, too.
I still struggle with depression, sometimes on a daily basis. When things are bad, the bad days outnumber the good ones by three to one. There are good times, too, enough to give me hope. Long stretches of good times, even.
Yet seven years later, I am not cured. I am not one of those individuals—at least not yet—that can just defeat depression, stay medicated and be well. It is disheartening at times. A lot of the time.
Self-Stigma and Major Depressive Disorder
Guilt, shame, and embarrassment. I feel anguish for my wife, for my children, for my mother and brothers who see me this way. I am still embarrassed to admit I suffer from mental illness.
This blog, I hope you can understand, is hard to do. Yet I am tired of keeping this problem to myself. I want to help others who suffer like me or far more than I suffer. I have been in the closet with this problem for some time now, yet I can see a crack of light under the door. I want to open it and bask in the fullness of life on the other side.
I am glad that HealthyPlace.com asked me to write this "Coping with Depression" blog. I am tired of that closet because it is a dark and frightening place to be.
My hope is readers of this blog, who suffer like I suffer, will find something they can relate to here. I can’t promise that it will help you. I can only promise absolute honesty. That is the best that I can do today.
Jack Smith also blogs at www.onemanswar.blogspot.com
Smith, J. (2011, October 21). Coming Out of the Dark Closet of Major Depressive Disorder, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, June 27 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/copingwithdepression/2011/10/coming-out-of-the-dark-closet-of-depression
Author: Jack Smith
I do hope you get out of this dark closet fast. It is fortunate that you have such a loving wife, who is all with you-not all have such a support.
Tell me, apart from taking meds, have you tried anything else for recovery? Like yoga, meditation or a vigorous exercise routine? Yes I know it must be difficult sometimes to get out of bed, but if you force yourself into one such activity you are sure to feel better. Gradually, you may even come to a stage when the dose of your meds can be decreased.
Please go through "Fit and Fine, with Yoga in Line" and "Beat the Blues" at http://jeeteraho.blogspot.com
Thank you for sharing your story. I am reminded of this quote: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." It is attributed to Plato. I often think of that when I go see my eating disorders psychiatrist when I run into his other patients.
Thanks for visiting. I'm sorry you've had to struggle with depression. Great idea to set a few modest daily goals that force you to be in motion. My therapist encourages me to do the same, while at work or at home when I'm depressed. Please come back and share your experiences at any time.
It is my pleasure. Thanks for visiting!
Thanks for the kind words and for visiting. Please come back. You can also visit my personal blog at onemanswar.blogspot.com
Many people can relate to what you're experiencing, so take heart. I am sorry to hear about your husband. Early detection is so important. Best of luck.