What My Depression Feels (Felt) Like

I wrote this on my first day of inpatient treatment last month. It seems like a different world. Thankfully I am no longer in this place in my mind and hope to not go back! 

What Depression Feels Like

To me depression feels like nothing, nothingness. A heavy nothing to walk through, to look at, to listen to and to carry.

Depression is negative energy. It pulls the life from life, takes the joy from joy, takes the love from love; the result is death and sorrow and loneliness – and nothing. 

There is no purpose to life, to living, to even trying; try for what? 

Meaningless, meaningless . . . 

So I like to sleep. Sleep is nothing. I don’t dream much anymore. I like to drink. It removes sorrow and loneliness and leaves a feeling of dreamy ambivalence. 

To me, sometimes it feels like I’m floating in space. Head floating. Brain floating or being slowly pressed. Pressure . . . 

My chest feels the same, like I’m out of breath, but breathing isn’t a problem, it’s floating pressure. 

Sleep is the cure, the escape.

My brain feels full, like an overfilled Tupperware, pressing on the lid and contents overflowing, squeezing out. Memory is sporadic, concentration comes and goes. Reading and writing are a diversion from reality.  

Concentration for decision-making is hard. Distractions are time killers. To refocus and get back on task takes immense effort. 

Productivity has declined to almost non-existent. There’s no point to start. The finished product is meaningless. I can sit and just stare for hours, in nothingness, then sleep. 

Sometimes I wish I wouldn’t wake up, or I’d just die in some way. Living is a drudge, like walking through mud, heavy, pointless, meaningless, nothing. __________________

I’m no longer at this place. But I want to remember it. I’m still cleaning the mud off my shoes and know the danger still exists. I’m fighting for my life and for my family and for my Creator. 

I have a lot to live for. A lot to work for. 

Don’t Cut Down That Bush!

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I almost cried in church yesterday (OK truth is I did cry — a tear or two).

If you have been following my blog, you may know that I’d really, REALLY like to have a good cry. I’ve been getting closer and closer recently, but still just a little choked up is the best that has come.

Yesterday we had a guest preacher, the president of a nearby Christian college, who offered the following illustration (and I hope he’ll excuse my embellishments):

A man had a rosebush in the back of his yard which was planted a little too close to the fence. But he care for the rosebush, tending, pruning, feeding, and protecting it in the winter. But year after year the man was only rewarded with one or two blooms for all his effort. Finally, one summer he was fed up with the rose bush and intended to cut it down, dig up the roots, and start again with something more suitable for the location.

As he walked down toward the fence with his tools, his neighbor called from her screened in porch on the other side of the fence, inquiring as to his intentions. He explained he was preparing to rid himself of what he had come to consider a bush of thorns. The older woman pleaded, for him first to come to sit with her on her porch and have a glass of tea.

The man was annoyed already with the bush, and now with the further interruption; not wanting to offend his shut-in neighbor, he acquiesced. As he sat on her porch, he saw that her yard was mostly untended, but for the most fabulous rose bush he had ever seen which had come under their common fence and flourished on her side of the fence.

She explained that since her husband had died and she could no longer care for her yard like he used to, this was the only thing of beauty she could see from her porch. She begged him not to cut the bush as she enjoyed sitting and looking at the magnificent blooms, and on occasion, she would get a subtle hint of their scent.

Unknown to him, his care for the bush for so many years had produced for the older woman the only thing of beauty she could see for most of her day.

The reason this affected me so greatly, is I have come so close recently to cutting down my rose bush – thinking it merely a bush of thorns. My ambition is the serve the Lord, and I have not always seen the fruit of this labor. Lately, He has been offering me reminders like this, that the unseen is often more important that what is seen.

The second part to this story, is that I actually shared my deep emotional response with my wife. This is something I am really trying to work on, letting Marie into my private “man world.” Over the last several weeks I have realized just how closed off to her i have been – this is on me and I’m trying to correct it.

 

God, What Are You Doing? Sunday Sundries

A long time ago a wise person told me that I can do almost nothing for everyone in the world who are hurting. 

I also can’t fix the hurting who are close to me in my world, nor do I even have complete control over my own life. 

The best I can do is to ask God, “What are you doing here, and how can I be a part of it?”

Somewhere along the road, I tried to take on the role of God in my own life and the life of others. 

God, what are you doing here? I would be honored if I could play a small part.

#SundaySundries

Back to the Grind

Hi all!!!! Well fellow bloggers and WP enthusiasts, I’m back from the lone star state and my inpatient treatment for depression. I ended up staying 5 weeks and it was a very beneficial time! 

  
I so much appreciate those of you who have checked in and especially for the prayer I know some of you offered on my behalf. The bonds we form as people – even through the cyber world – are always amazing to me! 

I’ve been back home for a week now and trying to figure out how to reenage with my blog. Not sure why this has been a challenge, but this morning I thought I’d just dive in with no agenda. 

I haven’t read any of my previous posts from before I left but I’m feeling like I did a lot of whinning and complaining before. Not sure if that is actually true, but it’s my recollection. In any event I’d like to take a more positive approach so will work on that. 😉

One of the changes I have worked on is being more open with my wife, Marie. I was able to communicate home daily during my stay. At first we fell into our old pattern of me withdrawing and her pursuing and then getting frustrated and angry with me and me withdrawing even more. 

About half way through my stay, my therapist at the hospital had me call her during a session and tell her some things about my depression that I hadn’t shared with her. Maybe I hadn’t shared some of these things with you either.

For the last three (plus) years I had frequent, almost constant thoughts that I didn’t want to go on living – that I’d like to just go to sleep and not wake up – dreading another 40 years of life. 

More recently, late in the summer I began having more intrusive thoughts of suicide. I didn’t want to act on these and didn’t have any plan, but these thoughts continued to grow. 

I really and truly have been close enough to others in my profession to witness how devistating suicide is to families and friends. I liken it to taking that person’s problems and giving them all to each of the people close to him and thus exploding the same suffering exponentially to others. 

I would not place this burden on my family. This is what really led me to seek more intensive treatment. 

Since then, I have felt so much more open with Marie and she has been receptive, supportive and loving. This has continued since I’ve been home. But almost more important I have been turning to her and opening up to her (which I think maybe is all she wanted in the first place). It has felt good to open up to her and she has listened well. I hope this is something we can continue to build on. 

More importantly, I have been for drawing closer to God the last 2 months; closer than I have been in a long time. With nothing to do but work on myself for so long, I picked up the bible … for me. I read for me, and started falling in love again. More in this later!

It’s good to be back fellow bloggers and friends!  

Grace and Peace!!