Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Time in the Valley of Death

I took this test just for the hell of it:-

DisorderYour Score
Major Depression:Very Slight
Bipolar Disorder:Slight
Cyclothymia:Very Slight
Seasonal Affective Disorder:Slight
Postpartum Depression:N/A
Take the Depression Test

Judging from the questions, I was A LOT worse in the early to late nineties. It started to flatten out and diminish around the time I realized that I may have chronic depression. I never even considered it before.

What is it like? What happened? How did I dig my way out? I will share what I know. Perhaps some of my experience might help whoever needs the help. I sincerely hope so.

I blogged about it, a guilt free way of "letting it out", as opposed to telling (and annoying) everyone and his mother.

More time in the sun. Sun is very important. I have found that it affects me greatly. Even now when I work at night, I tend to have low moods on the third night (sometimes second, depending on weather) onwards. It's not as bad as before, since now I know that it's temporary. If I work day, I feel fine, chipper even. At home, I don't feel it at all. THAT single fact is one of the biggest diferences between then and now.

I also went out, sometimes reluctantly. Sometimes, I force myself to especially when people call. I was especially reluctant at first. When things got better, it became more fun and I felt less like a burden to people. The everpresent guilt began to diminish.

Sun and other people. I read that two reasons why some people get Seasonal Affective Disorder
is the lack of sun and the lack of social interaction. There are of course other factors.

I read. Surfed the net. Research. Why and when and how to overcome it. Knowledge and information is important.

Happily, I apparently don't need medication. So far so good. I'm not really up to taking too many risks (especially in relationships) yet but at least I'm comfortable nowadays.

I found out what the big triggers were. I dwell on past mistakes and bad memories. My childhood isn't something I am happy about. My home life was never ideal. Failed attempts at relationships, one after another undermined an already unhealthy self esteem. Apparently in my mid-twenties, it reached critical mass and I imploded. I became more morose than usual and became impossible to motivate. I spent most nights awake and most days trying to stay awake.

My work suffered and I lost one job and underperformed in the next one. My relationship with my family worsened. I began to shed friends, acquaintances, potential girlfriends. For the record, I don't hold any grudges against them now. I understand why they walked.

I was losing control. Only now has some of that control returned.

The triggers are vital. Knowing it is probably half the battle won, I feel.

Thankfully, I had the support of friends and people who are so kind to leave messages on my blog. Some sent me mail and positive advice. In that respect, I got lucky. It's impossible for me to overstate my gratitude.

I'm not out the woods just yet. It comes and goes now and then. I wouldn't dare tempt fate by declaring that I'm ok now. The fight continues and is long and hard.

Depression is an elusive, insidious and stubborn demon that's especially hard to kill. The causes are legion. Could be physical, could be emotional, could be other things. All or none of the above.

Most importantly though, one must remember:-

The demon can be contained, even killed. To all those who suffer silently, there is hope yet for a normal life.


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