Depression – Have you ever felt handcuffed to your house?

 

In our darkest moments, we can still, see some light. cherished79 com  'Living in Stigma'

Yes, it felt as if I was handcuffed to my house.

Sounds dramatic, but I was at the time.

For countless years, and at times even today, depression with its dark, unforgiving black clouds still hover over me. Eventually, I recovered from those darkest days.

Recalling the arduous years of major depression, I was housebound and felt isolated from the world.  Blackness overpowered my life; dark and muddy, depression was unrelenting, and the massive hands took hold of me demanding each full minute of my day.

Days upon days were devoted to gazing out my living room window and enduring life in the house, rarely venturing further than the end of the driveway.

Appointments with my family doctor or psychiatrist developed into an enormous production; quizzing what to wear, panicky about riding the bus or mixing up route times, and what to review with my doctors.

Continue reading “Depression – Have you ever felt handcuffed to your house?”

MENTAL ILLNESS: Should I Apologize for being Depressed?

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An odd question. However, this thought has crossed my mind countless times over the years, forever questioning what my life would be like without mental illness.

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Where would you be if it weren’t for mental illness or depression?

In the mid-1990s, mental illness first tossed me into a life of bleak, depressive despair, feeling hopeless and helpless, coupled with hospitalizations, countless medications, and ineffective ECTs.

I found myself apologizing for being ill, but why? Apologizing for an illness?

I felt guilty for my deteriorating attitude, the considerable burden I placed on my husband, absence and imperfection at work and primarily failing myself.  The slightest bit of self-confidence achieved throughout the years coupled with the status at my current job dwindled now appearing threadbare.  I was losing myself.

Depression focusses on the negatives.

For one, I kissed my livelihood goodbye. As a well-paid accounting supervisor, enjoying my job and colleagues, I imagined a lengthy career with this company, but, unfortunately, due to the constant absences caused by the illness and hospitalizations, I had no alternative but to leave my position.

Government disability followed after a lengthy two-year wait.  You discover swiftly how to become thrifty.

Back then, both hubby and I lived on comfortable salaries and jetted off to balmy climates once or twice per year; it was a routine. I was able to afford fashionable apparel, household furniture or other articles on a whim without fussing over budgeting our money. Peculiar how you take vacations for granted, as of today we haven’t been on an actual vacation in almost 20 years. (Not a priority actually).

Positives

Luckily, I worked through some issues in therapy, medication was stabilizing my depressive moods, and I was capable of returning to the working world after nine years absent.

The job I accepted was a call center position (collections), but with a prolonged absence from working for nine years, it was a daunting, rocky road in the beginning.  I was appreciative that this company gave me a chance at employment even with a spotty resume.

I survived six years with this company, only to find myself ill with depression and severe migraines, leaving me with no choice but to accept long-term disability.  But at the same time, I wouldn’t have realized the enormous extent of stigma in the workplace.

I have progressed to the point that I’m no longer hospitalized and can function daily. Extensive psychotherapy has resolved the heaps of painful issues that have been haunting me most of my adult life.

I envisioned participation in the writing field in some capacity. It has forever been a passion of mine since I was a child, jotting daily in my diaries.

It’s doubtful I would have been invited to appear on a radio show, speaking engagements, ghostwritten articles for other bloggers, or requested articles as a guest writer discussing mental health, depression, bipolar, etc.

I also wouldn’t have this fantastic blog (since 2007) that has allowed me to express my feelings about my experience struggling with PTSD and depression.

If not for mental illness, I’m uncertain I would be the compassionate, understanding, and accepting person that I am towards others now. I have enormous patience when speaking with anyone struggling with mental illness or other invisible illnesses. Also, a thirst for knowledge on subjects related to medical information, and if not afflicted, I may not have researched.

I continue to struggle with depression on an odd day with frustration, regrets, and tears – but that’s not unexpected, I suppose. We’re courageous, but must forge onward, and be strong.

We’re in this together, you and I, and we must never apologize for our illness.

(edited and reposted)

Written and copyrighted by Deb McCarthy/2019

 

Have Migraine Headaches or know someone who does? – Take this Quiz!

What do you know about MIGRAINE?

What do you know about MIGRAINE HEADACHES? - Virily

I’ve just created a Quiz on Migraines!  Hope you will try it out!

https://virily.com/virily_quiz/know-migraine-headaches/

Deb

 

The Fog Between My Fingertips

BLACK DEPRESSION

Hollowness, loneliness

Black hole

No light at the top

Drowning

No one saving me

Why?

No future

Just black dreams

Despair

Feels like a prison cell

Handcuffed

Black fog

Feeling the fog between my fingertips

Nothingness

Empty

No treatments working?

No doctors helping?

Why?

What kind of life is this

Black death sentence

Written & copyright by Deb McCarthy

 

Struggling with Depression

Life with Depression - Imgur:

This is a creative infographic describing depression, and I especially like the way it includes comments from people describing what depression feels to them.

Am I being punished for having Depression?

Rummaging through my unorganized closet, I came across an article I wrote during my years in the hospital fighting depression. A roommate during my stay, whom I became close friends with, recalled her descent into hellish depression, as well as her suicide attempt. She gave me permission to write this article (excluding her name).

Dreaming. In tranquil waters. I’m sitting in my dinghy cross-legged, floating. The sea and sky are black.

I awaken. Black. Black is black. The room is black, but it must be morning. I’m all mixed up. I thought I heard the food trays arrive. I sneak a quick look out my room, and yes it is morning, but the halls also look black. All I sense is dread. Am I in a dream world? I shuffle back to bed.

Continue reading “Am I being punished for having Depression?”

Dark Clouds and Shattered Sanity

Dark clouds, isolated

Lack of faith

Laughter faded, only tears

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I hate my mind, I hate my brain

I hate my heart for it breaks every day

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I will perish this way I know

I’ve run away from life

I don’t fit outside

I don’t fit inside

I drown in my disgrace

~~~

Black circles beneath my eyes

Hands grip my head

I’m all alone

My life isn’t cherished

Why should I pretend it to be?

I’m not living for me

I’m living for you

~~~

Shattered sanity

Worthless, pointless, hopeless

Tears flow from my eyes

Depression has taken over

Written and copyrighted by Deb McCarthy/2017

Originally posted on Niume.com

What’s the difference between Sadness and Depression?

 

The difference between sadness and depression?  and why so many people get it wrong….. This article below appeared in www.psychologytoday.com written by Guy Winch Ph. D

Sadness is a normal human emotion. We’ve all experienced it and we all will again. Sadness is usually triggered by a difficult, hurtful, challenging, or disappointing event, experience, or situation. In other words, we tend to feel sad about something. This also means that when that something changes when our emotional hurt fades when we’ve adjusted or gotten over the loss or disappointment, our sadness remits.

Depression is an abnormal emotional state, a mental illness that affects our thinking, emotions, perceptions, and behaviors in pervasive and chronic ways. When we’re depressed we feel sad about everything. Depression does not necessarily require a difficult event or situation, a loss, or a change of circumstance as a trigger. In fact, it often occurs in the absence of any such triggers. People’s lives on paper might be totally fine—they would even admit this is true—and yet they still feel horrible.

Continue reading “What’s the difference between Sadness and Depression?”

I was incarcerated because I panicked

This was my first time “behind bars” taken via a police car and booked tonight just because I panicked. One feels this is jail, tossed into a cold cell awaiting the guard to slam shut the heavy metal door. Lying there frozen, shivering, alone peering down to shackled ankles. Why do I deserve this? Jailed because I have a mental illness?

Bolted down. Incarcerated.

Eyes open slowly and encircle a dingy room. Everything is bolted; windows, a desk, chairs, and including this bed. The windows have bars attached, walls are an ugly light pink and the curtain dividing my neighbor’s bed looks hideous also, but what was I expecting; a hotel room?

Is it daybreak? A rap on the door startles me, followed by a female voice stating, “breakfast and meds”.

I prefer not recalling what happened last evening, dialing the Distress Center, talking for what felt like hours with a counselor who had a monotone voice about my obsessive suicidal feelings. Thoughts danced in my head for days, dreaming of ways to carry out my demise. Then, at some stage in this conversation, I became irritated and slammed down the phone, prompting an unexpected visit from the police. Next a knock at my door where I was unconvincing as to my state of mind, and there a decision was made, I was to be transported somewhere?

Neighbors, who don’t as a rule, walk their dogs, now saunter by the police car, peering in, along with others peeking through window blinds and curtains. The back seat of this cruiser is larger than expected, however, I am seated with my mind in a muddle, confused, uncertain of the future yet despising the present.

Both police officers chat quietly in police jargon; I assume they are awaiting word of which hospital to take me, then suddenly I’m on my way. The drive is a speedy drive, yet for me, a lengthy one. A time to reflect… a time to sob…. a time to sit in wonderment. In the back of a cruiser – how can this be? Punishment? I’ve never committed a crime in my life. Will I go before a judge; am I to be sentenced and charged for suicidal ‘thinking’ and (to some) selfishly wishing to end my life?

Continue reading “I was incarcerated because I panicked”

Now the police are at my door….

Dialing the Distress Center Hotline, speaking what seemed like forever with a counselor about my obsessive suicidal feelings and depression, then abruptly hanging up was a terrible idea. Thoughts danced in my head for days, dreaming and planning for ways to kill myself, yet I still reached out for help. The counselor’s voice was grating on my nerves, we weren’t making progress, so didn’t want to talk to this chick anymore.

Then a loud rap at my door, “Police”.  I cautiously open my door to discover a male and female officer standing on my front veranda, asking if I’m ok and can they talk to me.  Me? Why? Police?

They clarified the Distress Center’s “phone hang-up” policy, so they had no alternative but to call the police. I was ‘distressed’ to say the least, and the cops weren’t buying my story that I will be ‘ok’ now.

Neighbours, who as a rule don’t walk their dogs, now saunter by the police car peering in, along with other neighbours peeking through window blinds and curtains. The back seat of this cruiser is larger than I expected, however, I am seated with my mind in a muddle, confused, uncertain of the future yet despising the present. Continue reading “Now the police are at my door….”

Depression: Planning my Escape

Attending a party when you feel like crap? Imagine planning your escape the moment you walk in?

Envision feeling lonely when you are actually with people; with friends, celebrating a birthday party at someone’s house. You experience emptiness. The room is filled with chatter and laughter, yet you are seated; numb.

Depression is lonely. Curled up in a ball – lonely.

This actually happened to me. I was pretty much forced to attend a birthday party, and although I resisted, I soon surrendered due to the fact that it was for a dear friend and I was absent from all other celebrations throughout the past year.

Seated in a Lazy-Boy for part of the evening, I held tightly onto a diet Coke. I thought it polite to rise and finally mingle; show a smile, pretend to enjoy the evening, yet the feeling of hollowness was debilitating. Laughter echoed.

For the majority of the year, I had been in the hospital more than out. Depression was black; I felt as if I was literally dumped into a black hole and left for dead. It was stated there was light up at the top of this hole, yet I was forever waiting to witness any.

Continue reading “Depression: Planning my Escape”

The Lady Found in the Snow

She was in her fifties and reported missing four or five days ago, a picture of a woman looking cheerful, with striking blue eyes, shoulder length light brown hair wearing a black and green mid-length parka. It was on the news and in the newspapers repeatedly, her picture of a woman with a warm smile.

To me it sounded peculiar, as if intentional or planned; waking in the morning, followed by calling in sick to work then vanishing. When reported missing, the police were summoned, then several friends and relatives began searching also. The investigation dragged on with no success, and it’s as if she went ‘poof’ into thin air, no trace, no use of credit cards.

Days passed, when someone identified her van at a cemetery, and not too distant from the van they discovered her body dead in the snow. The police didn’t reveal information as to the cause of death.

The newspapers stated that she was a registered nurse, worked for twenty-two years at the same hospital, extremely well liked and exceptional at her job. Her spouse was a clergy at the only church in the town where the family lived, and she leaves behind two children.

Continue reading “The Lady Found in the Snow”

Rudolph is banned from the Psych Ward

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Struggling with depression for many years, I found myself spending three joyless Christmases (over the nine years of repeateded hospitalizations) on the dingy psych ward of a medical hospital. Two years of which I was deemed too risky, therefore, forbidden to enjoy Christmas dinner at home with family. Difficult to resign yourself to yet too unwell to converse with people anyways.

Rudolph was banned from the hospital.

So, four of us sat around a laminated and steel table (minus a tablecloth), in the gloomy dining/craft room and picked at our ‘festive turkey dinner’. Each meal consisted of turkey roll, faux mashed potatoes, lukewarm gravy, a scarce array of ho-hum veggies, stale roll, two packets of cranberry sauce and butter.

To my surprise, I did awaken to a gift planted on my side table; a red sparkly colored gift bag stuffed with loads of goodies including handmade crocheted kitchen items and knitted bright aqua mittens, yummy chocolates, which I thought very thoughtful and caring.

The Christmas year when permitted home for a two-hour visit, allotted barely enough time to wolf down a holiday dinner. As memory serves me, I believe we discovered a welcoming diner open Christmas Day, yet unsure if we truly ate turkey!

Christmas mood in the hospital was somber, the three-foot fake tree standing in the TV room was virtually naked due to prohibited string lights, (potential suicide risk) and only a few crocheted and cardboard decorations placed on branches sparingly. Underneath was a dull green round skirt covered with empty wrapped gold boxes assumed to resemble gifts sourced from years before.

TV and dog-eared magazines were there for our amusement, as well as visitors allowed for extended hours. Quick thinking by nurses, miniature candy canes in plastic wrappers were located at the ‘medication station’. Continue reading “Rudolph is banned from the Psych Ward”

Depression: Am I here in this black hole forever? Huh?

I used to ask myself, almost every day throughout my depressive illness; is this it?  Does it get ever any better?  Am I stuck here in this black hole forever?

Sounds pessimistic, but my history of recurring hospital admissions and medications that were ineffective, coupled with suicide attempts and unrelenting depression, didn’t illustrate a positive picture.  At separate hospital admissions, I was frequently greeted by the same bed, same patients and same nurses who precisely dispensed my medications.  Many years ago, hospitalization was a sort of an incarcerated life; that of daily rituals, set meal times, social activities, lights out at 11:30 pm, and scheduled visits from visitors.   Finally, discharge, after serving my “time”, which meant adjusting to home life all over again.

With zilch changing; I’m asking “is this as good as life gets?”

It’s both upsetting and scary, no one should ever have to endure this type of life, and depression, for me, proved a dreadful existence.  After spending months in the hospital, I would continually sense that I was one footstep away from hospital waters every waking day.  Continuously, just a step away from hell; surviving only on the surface.

Continue reading “Depression: Am I here in this black hole forever? Huh?”

Should I Tell My Boss About My Depression?

For nine years I struggled with depression, resulting in repeated hospitalizations, and scraping by on disability.  Life was bleak and meaningless, but long story short, I recovered enough to return to the workplace.

At work, still battling depression every so often, I managed to hang onto my position for six years without divulging my secret: mental illness.  There is stigma in the workplace and taking a risk to discuss my depression, unquestionably would have cost me my job in the end, and so, I kept my trap shut.

Continue reading “Should I Tell My Boss About My Depression?”

Why I Created “Living in Stigma” and 9 Ways We Need To Stop Mental Illness Stigma

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When I activated my first blog in 2005, it focused on humorous articles only.  During that time I was struggling with major depression, yet amazingly I was competent enough to write posts, and surprisingly these articles were a remarkable success.

I continued on and gathered many followers, all the time questioning whether to write about my mental illness, yet frankly, I was very embarrassed and uncomfortable to share my thoughts and life of hell with any of my blogging buddies, the blogging world, or should if anyone in my circle of “personal people” were ever to uncover my ‘secret’, I’d be devastated.

I eventually mentioned it to two trusted blogging friends my apprehension, and them replying, “why are you so embarrassed, it not your fault you were ill, write about it, who cares if people don’t like it, go by ‘anonymous’, not using your real name this time”.  And so I did, in 2007, I began this blog.  It’s been an enormous success from day one, with so much support from the blogging community and it was the stigma that held me back from starting this blog sooner.

I was living in stigma (shame) thus the name “Living in Stigma” –Deb

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Continue reading “Why I Created “Living in Stigma” and 9 Ways We Need To Stop Mental Illness Stigma”

My Description of Depression

Image source: birchandwillow.tumblr.com/

“Depression, best known of all the mental illnesses, is difficult to endure and treat.   It renders one feeling hopeless and helpless.  Experiencing a sort of wintry solitude, one is completely immobilized with any light of optimism dimming.   It creates emotional and financial fallout, coupled with a horrible emptiness and black death-like existence.  Life tastes sour”. – Deb – Living in Stigma

I was a guest on a Radio Talk Show!

 

Yesterday, on “Hot off the Press” @Wordpress.com, they posted an article: “WordPressers Making a Splash

We read hundreds of blogs and websites every day, from up-and-coming voices and established pros alike. We love visiting those sites on WordPress.com, but it’s just as rewarding to see other platforms embrace the work of writers, journalists, and artists who regularly publish here, introducing it to new audiences.

Continue reading “I was a guest on a Radio Talk Show!”

Suicidal feelings ~ mesmerizing

“The mesmerizing feelings attached to suicidal thinking, at least for me, are the ones who got me into trouble. Life became so miserable and “suicide” was in my back pocket ready at any moment just in case. It really became a habit of such and I had to break that habit. This is not to say that I don’t think of ‘ending it’; sometimes letting my mind wander into white, fluffy clouds – no pressure of life anymore – but I can’t let “S” win”.  by Deb ~ “Living in Stigma”

Great, now the Police are at my door!

Dialing the Distress Center, speaking what seemed like forever with a counselor about my obsessive suicidal feelings and depression, then abruptly hanging up was a terrible idea.  Thoughts danced in my head for days, dreaming and planning of ways to kill myself, yet I still reached out for help.  The counselor’s voice was grating on my nerves, we weren’t making progress, so didn’t want to talk to this chick anymore.

Then a loud rap at my door, “Police”.  A male and female officer are standing on my front veranda, asking if I’m ok and can they talk to me.  Me?  Why me?  Why the police?

Continue reading “Great, now the Police are at my door!”

Poetry: Just Cutting

Just a scratch

What’s that mark?”

“It was just the cat”

~~~

Just an excuse

Just another lie

“What’s with the bracelets?”

“Just fashion, why?”

~~~

Just a tear

Just a scream

“Why are you crying?”

“Just a bad dream”

~~~

But it’s not

 just a cut, or a tear or a lie

It’s always

 ‘Just one more’

Until you die

— Anonymous

MOM, YOU’RE STILL TOXIC & YOU’LL NEVER CHANGE

Who was I kidding, reuniting again with my mother.  I should have left things alone after no communication for three years, but no I had these grand ideas in May of this year of reconciling.  How many times have I attempted to make it work before? Three, perhaps four?  I’ve never truly had this woman’s tenderness or support for fifty some odd years, and it ‘aint ever going to happen.

Why can’t I get this through my thick skull and I allow myself to be disillusioned repeatedly?  But, was craving for parents, namely a mother who truly loved me instead of criticizing and showing my brother the same affection that I deserved, too much to ask for?  I don’t think it was.

You constantly told me to lose weight, criticized me too many times, making me feel worthless and sub-par.  I lost weight when you saw me this May, I thought you’d be so proud of me and things would be different; guess it didn’t matter.

But mom, you surpassed yourself this time, with selfish words again, and presented the “toxic mother” that you are, sent in reply to an e-mail a few days ago.

Continue reading “MOM, YOU’RE STILL TOXIC & YOU’LL NEVER CHANGE”

THE GALLBLADDER FROM HELL

In November 2012, I had slimmed myself down to 185 pounds. I hadn’t been that low since my 20’s. Mental illness, namely depression that I have dealt with for decades, now reared its ugly head and caused difficulties with my personal and work life.  I had years where I was hospitalized on and off, and now found myself repeating this with an admission to hospital on the psychiatric wing in March of 2012.

I lost some weight prior to the hospitalization, and then quite a bit throughout the 3 ½ week stay, and managed to keep it off; remaining at 185, but then disaster struck…

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YES, the extra-large SAUSAGE/HAM/GREEN PEPPER/ONION/BLACK OLIVE/EXTRA CHEESE pizza started the ball rolling into gallbladder hell…

My whole gallbladder story is a nightmare.  I had my first attack on Nov 19, 2012 (didn’t know it was my gallbladder, in fact didn’t know where the gallbladder was in my body, but soon found out).  That pain was the worst pain I have ever experienced, a rush to the emergency, and they were going to perform emergency surgery, however, after extensive tests (CT scans, ultrasound, x-rays), decided to wait until things settled down and sent me home.  Two days later, another attack.  Identical story, further tests, blah, blah, blah…but this time they admitted me where I was on  a heavy course of IV antibiotics for a week, and then sent home.  All was settled in the pain department.  I was warned:  No fried food and no rich desserts.

Continue reading “THE GALLBLADDER FROM HELL”