bearthinking

About recovering from depression and suicide.

The Pit

In every clincal depressive’s life there are many people who don’t ‘get it’. In fact most people don’t ‘get it’. They don’t get that clinical depression in not something you get over, that is cured. They don’t get that we don’t really like to stay in bed all day, that we don’t want to be uninterested in life, unable to be happy.

It has taken me a long time to understand that the person I adored, that I was constantly sacrificing my own ambitions and needs for, was the person who did not ‘get it’ most. This was my ex-wife, who suffering from anxiety and panic disorder had me on call 24/7/365(6 in leap years) to the point where three employers threatened to write me up for excessive personal phone time. I did it then, and would still do it (well, I would if I knew I would not get abuse), because I know what it is to be afraid.

She was, and still is, the one who denigrated every aspiration I have ever had or have. She is the one who puts me down saying that all I ever do is play the blame game and tell the poor, poor me tale. Even after I had been diagnosed with depression and started treatment for it while we were married, she kept that up. She still does it to this day.

I’m telling this now, for admittedly two reasons. One is that On 12/14/09, she felt the need to denigrate my attempts at healing, and at reaching out to others to heal. The other reason is infinitely more important and salient to this blog.

Her recent denigration has prompted me to write about those who don’t ‘get it’, who refuse to ‘get it’, and those who do but want to keep us down to bolster their own egos, the ones who are afraid of facing the reality of depression or of their own feelings of inferiority and vulnerability.

We have those people, for some of us it seems that is all we have. That those are the only people in our lives. I know of one depressive woman whose husband has cut her off from virtually every source of support she had, and who has told relatives, friends, and neighbors that the reason she does not leave the house is that she is sick, physically. The one person she turned to who ‘got it’ she is forbidden to contact. After her suicide attempt, he forced her into a group program (where I met her) but still keeps her cut off.

My ex does not know, and will probably deny, that I attempted suicide several times during our marriage. Until recently, I had blocked memory of some of those attempts. It was only a remark made in depression derived anger that prompted us to get me to a therapist, and even then, she was not part of therapy except in a negative sense. In truth, I think she was more concerned about me behaving in a manner detrimental to her career more than concerned for me that prompted her meagre support.

And this is all part of The Pit. The worst part, for me at least. To be committed to a person who not only does not ‘get it’, but uses our depression against us or who assigns our depression the role of a burden they have to carry.

And to pile on top of that, our culture places a severe stigma on depressives, especially those who have attempted suicide. This makes it even easier for the oh-so burdened people in our lives to put themselves in a martyr’s position, as my ex-wife has done.

You know what I have to say to that? Bollocks! If this supposed loved one willfully does not ‘get it’, then they are showing a lack of love, compassion, and empathy; they are showing their own weakness and refusal to face that weakness.

Please do not confuse this with an honest non-comprehension of your situation. Some people really just don’t get it, even after they have been given all the information. This is not their fault, and the two of you can find a way for them to be supportive. Having them talk to your psychiatrist or therapist may help. They may still not ‘get it’, but at least they will be able to help you, or at least not do something to hold you back.

The one thing we depressives really need from those we love is patience. Getting to a stable point, getting to the place where no longer need to hide in our beds, where we can have fun and be interested in life, where we no longer want to die takes time. Sometimes a lot of time.

It is not an overnight recovery, and – I’ll say it again and keep repeating it – there is no cure. We may relapse, or start spiralling down again. Something small, seemingly inconsequential may trigger it. It may just be that that small thing is what breaks the camel’s back and we are actually overwhelmed by a bunch of things that we seemed to be handling well. The camel keeps moving until its back is broken, friends.

Patience is something those who willfully don’t ‘get it’ lack. Because of their denial of the reality of the situation, they want us to be cured right now with a miracle cure. Many think that because we are taking our celexa, sertraline, effexor, or whatever SSRI or MAOI we are taking that we are now cured. They don’t understand why we haven’t just jumped out of bed and are doing their bidding again overnight. Patience. We want to, we really do. We want to want to take walks, to go out and eat, to visit friends, family, museums, to laugh and cry with everyone else.

But we still need time. We still need for the meds to take affect, to make sure they are the right meds. We need to talk to our therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists. We need to look at how we think, the downward cyclic habits of thought that our neuro-chemical imbalance have induced and how to break out of those patterns. Sometimes we need to identify the negative influences on us and find ways of turning them positive; failing that we need to know how to neutralize them.
So I end this portion of the blog with some heartfelt gratitude. I want to sincerely thank my ex-wife for divorcing me, finally. I am grateful that one of us was able to own up to our marriage being a grave mistake. I am, in a sense, grateful that she has seen fit to try and keep re-opening old wounds since the divorce. And I would be “forever” grateful for her to stay divorced from me and my life, if only she can find the strength to do so. Goodbye to someone who does not ‘get it’.

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December 16, 2009 - Posted by | autobio, depression, recovery, suicide | , ,

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