Depression & Me

Depression became a way of life starting in 1994, and remained that way for 9 long years.  I began psychotherapy for deep-rooted issues and that essentially was the driving force into a black, muddy world of hospital admissions, institutions, a myriad of medications, and deemed drug-resistant, the psychiatrists threw me to the wolves of ECT treatments.  I have zilch good to say about ECT for they proved forever ineffective, causing only long-term memory loss.

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, 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.  The best way I like to in fact express depression is: “when you are able to actually touch the black, depressive fog between your fingertips; you identify that death is possibly nearby”.

I lost my career, income, my house close to foreclosue, all of my friends, several of my family.  One family member cut ties with my husband and I, fearful for his children due to my depression.  So, at Christmastime, my husband’s name appears on the card – mine is excluded.

Finally, a psychiatrist came along who placed me on successful meds, and started me on the road to wellness.  I was able to return to the workforce and remained with the same company for 6 years, however, due to layoffs and coupled with depression once again, my career ended.  I am currently sitting in the ‘black hole‘ of depression, still dealing with PTSD issues and hoping that 2015 will be a better year.

My husband of 35 years has been my rock, and stood by me through all of this. 

What I do deal with everyday though…..is mental illness stigma.

Written by:  Me

43 thoughts on “Depression & Me

  1. Morgan says:

    Hi Deb.
    I don’t know if there is a personal message section to this. But I recently came across your blog. Your writing is somewhat inspiring and it seems treatment is benefiting you, particularly with medication at the moment? You write you’ve been hospitalised/institutionalised, and I don’t know if you can tell me this, but how was that for you? I ask because my psychiatrist wants me on observation (for mental illness of course), specifically in a private hospital where he can visit- but private health care is needed and is too expensive for me/my family to afford. The alternative is a public hospital, which I really don’t know about…
    My Q. is; were you in a public hospital(cause this is the path financially I seem to be going down if I want further treatment and evaluation), and If so, was it beneficial at all/ how was it overall?
    I’m still compensating what’s going to be the most helpful for myself but would like hear some wisdom from someone who’s actually experienced this means of treatment for mental illness…
    Sam.

    +1

    Like

    • cherished79 says:

      Hi Sam:

      Thanks for the comment. I really didn’t have a choice due to the fact that all we really have in my city is public hospitals. The wards where I spent most of my admissions were in one of two floors of a dated medical hospital. My psychiatrist was there and did inpatient and outpatient doctoring. He wasn’t very good at it because I seemed to spend more time at the hospital than at home. But there were better doctors out there, I got stuck with this one because of doctor shortage. I was sent to the city institution a few times (not like the cukoos nest) and it wasn’t too bad. Had another doc there and he wasn’t much better. They do have a private hospital a few cities away, but the waiting list is almost a year and $$ always come in the way.

      The only cheerful side of this, is the nurses, some were so-so but most were my savior in there. Finally I did find a psychiatrist who knew what the hell he was doing and that was my start to the road of recovery. I’ve been seeing him since 2003. Thank goodness or I’d still be living in the nuthouse.

      Hope this helps and everything turns out. It’s a rough road but you’ll be ok. Write me anytime.

      Deb

      Liked by 1 person

  2. sadomasochisticnarcissist says:

    Fascinating that is was such a struggle for you to find a solution, glad to hear that you have. It just goes to highlight how much more research is needed on mental health to determine the best methods to help people through. I belive I’ve had anxiety disorder since a very young age but I wasn’t diagnosed until 2009.

    Like

  3. Mike Clark says:

    Hi,

    I’ve been doing a bit of web housekeeping this morning and wanted to let
    you know that the backlink to your site at
    http://bipolarcircle.com/jvlinx/bipolar-related/page1.html is still working just fine.

    Also, maybe you can help me out because I can’t remember where you said
    the backlink to my site http://bipolarcircle.com can be found on your site?
    The URL address would be just perfect if it isn’t too much trouble.

    Thanks again,
    Mike

    Like

    • cherished79 says:

      I replied in “L’s” blog.

      You write so eloquently and describe depression like it really is. My nine horrid years were spent in and out of hospitals and institutions. Doctors examine you; talk to you but how do you really explain how black feels. For a good year I was absolutely obsessed with suicide; planning, dreaming of my demise, talking about it with other patients, nurses. I did attempt it 4 times, but obviously I wasn’t good at that and felt like a failure even at that.
      I was tired of people saying “people suiciding are selfish, only thinking about themselves, what about the people they left behind”. I disagree in a big way. I think they are brave. Brave you say? How much courage did it take to make a decision to end’s one’s life, and I think the people who are saying they are selfish are selfish themselves. Is it not selfish to have a loved one/friend live day in/day out in the anguish of depression? How would they like to live with this.

      I describe depression blackness is when you can actually feel the depressive fog between your finger tips. Losing friends and family, why do we have to be punished with this illness? What did we do to deserve this?

      Like

  4. Renna says:

    Your struggle to overcome and obtain treatment for depression is admirable, and I applaud you for finding the right solution for you.

    Though I myself do not consider medical treatment as a viable option for me, I am still looking for a way to deal with my personal challenges. I’m doing my utmost not to fall into the blackness of doing something regrettable. I may very well not find a way out this year, but until then, I’m trying hard to fight it.

    Best wishes

    Renna

    Like

  5. Jessica Hirst says:

    I appreciate your sharing your story. I was at the point of considering ECT after almost 25 years in treatment for depression (recently rediagnosed as bipolar II), but instead I went to an artist residency program in Spain. I had all the right meds, but I also needed a creative outlet and to feel I could do some meaningful work. For me this is one of the hardest catch-22s: I feel better when I work, but when I do fall down/have an episode, I miss work or otherwise renege on commitments, and then lose the work. And then feel worse. The stigma associated with diagnosis makes it harder to negotiate these difficulties openly, meaning I’ve been fired for being irresponsible, when really I was ill. It’s eternally frustrating.

    Like

    • cherished79 says:

      Thanks for sharing. I am still bitter about all of the needless and ineffective treatments these ECT’s did for me. Back then I was so very ill with depression I didn’t know which way was up. I just wanted to get better, as everyday was black and nothing was helping. I wasn’t as wise as I am now. I put my hands in those docs, and those docs should be ashamed of themselves as I think after 25 they weren’t obviously taking effect. Maybe they just didn’t know what to do with me?

      That is fantastic that you brought art into the picture, anything to rid ourselves of this miserable illness.

      Take care.

      Like

  6. Sam says:

    Hi Deb.
    I don’t know if there is a personal message section to this. But I recently came across your blog. Your writing is somewhat inspiring and it seems treatment is benefiting you, particularly with medication at the moment? You write you’ve been hospitalised/institutionalised, and I don’t know if you can tell me this, but how was that for you? I ask because my psychiatrist wants me on observation (for mental illness of course), specifically in a private hospital where he can visit- but private health care is needed and is too expensive for me/my family to afford. The alternative is a public hospital, which I really don’t know about…
    My Q. is; were you in a public hospital(cause this is the path financially I seem to be going down if I want further treatment and evaluation), and If so, was it beneficial at all/ how was it overall?
    I’m still compensating what’s going to be the most helpful for myself but would like hear some wisdom from someone who’s actually experienced this means of treatment for mental illness…
    Sam.

    Like

    • cherished79 says:

      Sam, thanks for your comment and sharing. All my years of hospitalizations were in public hospitals. I live in Canada and don’t know if the public system is the same. I was in both the city hospital’s mental health unit (dingy to say the least) of an older hospital for most of my years and then a few times in the city’s institution (they call it a mental health centre) but it is plain and simple an institution. This institution was scary at times

      Like

  7. Mozes says:

    During the nine years of my depression I accepted every form of medical and psychological treatment offered including approximately 20 antidepressant medications, more than 100 electroconvulsive treatments, 80 weeks as a patient in hospital psychiatric wards, and numerous forms of psychological counselling. When my psychiatrist announced that she was considering changing my diagnosis to treatment refractory depression (depression that does not respond to most forms of treatment) I decided it was time to try something else. After nine years of excellent (though relatively ineffective) medical and psychological treatment, I began to see a spiritual counsellor who shared my faith. She helped me identify and address the spiritual roots of my illness. Within three months of my first appointment with her I was free from depression. I never returned to the psychiatric ward, never had another electroconvulsive treatment, and no longer needed the medication or the care of a psychiatrist. Nearly a decade has passed and I remain free from depression.
    +1

    Like

    • cherished79 says:

      Thanks for sharing and also that you have managed to steer clear from depression. Your life sounds exactly like my life trying to survive depression, listening to pdocs who really weren’t listening to me, accepting meds that never worked, and hoping and praying that their so-called ECT’s would be the answer to my med-resistant treatment. They just never stopped giving them to me ‘cos they just didn’t know what to do with me.

      I’m very happy you found another source out there who has helped you; you deserve it. If the treatments aren’t working within the medical community, then it’s definately time to move on.

      Deb

      Like

  8. cherished79 says:

    Katie: Thanks for your comment, and sorry for the late reply but my reply function wasn’t working until now.

    Depression has a way of doing that. Causes sadness, loss of self-confidence, lack of concentration, suicidal feelings.

    Hope you’re feeling better.

    Like

    • cherished79 says:

      I haven’t really stopped, but I don’t write as much as I used to. Have been working on a couple of videos regarding depression and child sexual abuse. Thanks for the comment.

      Like

  9. katie says:

    had 6 ect treatments in 01/09 felt horrible after. I had what I now think were seizures for a few weeks they were so debilitating I thought I was going to die. I am an alcoholic and was not drinking during depressive episode however once headaches were over and I started feeling better I started drinking again without any guilt or remorse. I don’t understand this, I’m slowly killing myself and I don’t care is this due to ect or depression or alcoholism? I’ve always felt like helping myself get better but now I don’t anymore. It’s almost like I’ve had a “brain shift” I can’t descibe it any other way. any comments?

    Like

  10. naomikimbell says:

    What a heartbreaking personal account. I’m so sorry you had to struggle for so long without proper treatment. I hope you continue to do well.

    Like

  11. secretlyours says:

    I also battle with depression. I have been in treatment more than 20 years. I know how difficult the stigma is. I appreciate your positive message and know your posts help so many others.

    Like

    • cherished79 says:

      Thank you so much. 20 years is a long time to live with this crippling disorder. You have to give yourself a pat on the back for strength you have had to battle this. And stigma, well that a whole miserable problem in itself. Take care.

      Like

  12. arlivon d ornoski says:

    thank you so much for your story..i had been told that this was as good as it gets..after 18yrs of depression..now i see there is more out there than i was lead to believe..arla

    Like

    • cherished79 says:

      Thank you for your comment. Eighteen years is a long time. I have been living with this a very long time too and thought I was on my way to total wellness, then boom, then the bomb dropped this year. But, I was given the right antidepressants and after 6 months I am ok now.

      Like

  13. Sharon Fawcett says:

    Debbie, we have a lot in common: a nine-year battle with depression, selfless husbands who stood with us throughout the painful ordeal, and recovery (though my recovery came through different means than yours). I was diagnosed with major clinical depression three days after my baby’s first birthday in 1990. Because I was suicidal, I was admitted to a hospital psychiatric ward for my protection. The doctor treated me with Prozac and then another antidepressant. Neither one brought relief and during that first hospitalisation (lasting eight months) I also developed the eating disorder anorexia nervosa, which threatened my life for the next three years.

    During the nine years of my depression I accepted every form of medical and psychological treatment offered including approximately 20 antidepressant medications, more than 100 electroconvulsive treatments, 80 weeks as a patient in hospital psychiatric wards, and numerous forms of psychological counselling. When my psychiatrist announced that she was considering changing my diagnosis to treatment refractory depression (depression that does not respond to most forms of treatment) I decided it was time to try something else. After nine years of excellent (though relatively ineffective) medical and psychological treatment, I began to see a spiritual counsellor who shared my faith. She helped me identify and address the spiritual roots of my illness. Within three months of my first appointment with her I was free from depression. I never returned to the psychiatric ward, never had another electroconvulsive treatment, and no longer needed the medication or the care of a psychiatrist. Nearly a decade has passed and I remain free from depression.

    In 2008 I was one of Canada’s Faces of Mental Illness for Mental Illness Awareness Week’s FACE MENTAL ILLNESS campaign.

    I’m glad that you are now able to resume a healthy and productive life! People like you who are willing to share their stories will help end the stigma surrounding mental illness. Keep it up!

    Like

  14. Mr. ADHD says:

    My wife who suffers from Bipolar Disorder had to do ECT as a result of a year long battle with severe depression. It has now been 7 months since her last session and I can’t believe how well it worked for her. The 4 months that we went through it were the longest and hardest months of my life. However, I look back and realize this saved my wifes life – you could say mine too! This type of procedure is a case by case basis and if medication and therapy aren’t working then it’s something to consider. The best of luck to everyone!

    Like

  15. cherished79 says:

    Thank you so much for your words – they really mean alot. Don’t let my negative journey with ECT deter you from them. I wish I had had the internet to investigate the pros/cons about ECT, but no computer at that time. Just put my faith in the doctors, naively believing they knew best. WRONG.

    Like

  16. sandy says:

    You are an inspiration Debbie. I’ve been researching internet trying to decide whether to continue with my ECT treatment and I think Im with you too mate!
    Sandy – Australia

    Like

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