Darker postings

I thought I should start a new page for my darker postings so those of you who prefer to avoid these (mom) can.

I got this poem from my grandmother’s funeral.  I thought it was nice.

Do not stand at my grave and weep,

I am not there, I do not sleep

 

I am a thousand winds that blow,

I am the diamond glint on the snow.

I am the sunlight on ripened grain.

I am the gentle autumn rain.

 

When you wake in the morning hush,

I am the swift, uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circling flight.

I am the soft starlight at night.

 

Do not stand at my grave and weep.

I am not there, I do not sleep.

Do not stand at my grave and cry.

I am not there, I did not die!

 

Mary Frye (1932)

 

My mom wants us to use this poem for her funeral. I think it’s beautiful too. I thought I’d post it here so I can always find it easily.

Death is nothing at all

Death is nothing at all,
I have only slipped away
into the next room.

I am I,
and you are you;
whatever we were to each other,
that, we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name,
speak to me in the easy way
which you always used,
put no difference in your tone,
wear no forced air
of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we shared together.
Let my name ever be
the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect,
without the trace of a shadow on it.

Life means all
that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was.
There is unbroken continuity.

Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?

I am waiting for you,
for an interval,
somewhere very near,
just around the corner.

All is well.


 

Henry Scott Holland
1847 -1918

 

RESPONSE TO AL on Depression

I think the comment from Al (below) is uninformed and deserves a full page response. People with your cavalier attitude toward depression are the reason some people with REAL depression are afraid to ask for help. If someone is CLINICALLY depressed and someone like you says to him “Oh yeah, I have the same thing, but I just suck it up and deal with it”, then the person with REAL depression is going to think he is a miserable failure who doesn’t deserve help/treatment! I get so annoyed by people who act like depression is no big deal. If you’ve never had it, how on earth would you know! If your ‘depressed mood’ results from your miserable social life and poor choice of ‘fanhood’ (ie your inexplicable love for the clearly sucky Minnesota Vikings), then obviously you are not CLINICALLY depressed— just a little down. Everybody gets that way every now and then and you certainly don’t need a drug for that. Do you seriously think you are experiencing feelings that are even remotely similar to those that suicidal people experience?! Not even close! I admit that there may be a continuum of mood disorders which range from transient unhappiness to suicidal depression and my usual seasonal depression may be somewhere in the middle, but when I was taking Paxil I really needed to be on Paxil. I wasn’t depressed because my job sucked, I was depressed because I hated myself and I hated the way I felt about my job and life in general. I couldn’t find a better job because I didn’t think I deserved it, which made me hate myself even more. This meant that I would have continued hating my job more and more and therefore myself for my inability to get a better one. I also hated myself for my inability to ‘suck it up’ and just be happy without asking for help. I don’t know why it’s so hard for people to understand that this kind of thinking/feeling is a vicious downward spiral and that once you are in it you can’t get out of it because you continue to beat yourself up for your inability to do anything about it. Something from the outside needs to happen to stop the vicious cycle. Maybe that could have been an understanding family member or close friend instead of a drug, but clearly with family members like you—I needed the drugs to regain control of my emotions and then my life!

Get a life and get a team!!
The Vikings are gonna be really great this year! Isn’t Brett Favre looking for a new team? Maybe we can get him.

THE ORIGINAL POST ON DEPRESSION

Recently both Bill and Kuntry Gurl have posted about suicide. This must be horrible for family members and friends left behind. I don’t know much about suicide, but I’d like to make a few comments about antidepressants. I hate that there is a stigma associated with both the diagnosis and the treatment of depression. I was treated for depression a few years ago and I learned a LOT from the experience. For me, Paxil was like a miracle drug. I have a naturally anxious personality and I usually feel depressed pretty much all winter, but since this is my baseline I didn’t think I had a clinical depression when I was having problems at my last job. I lost interest in my work and felt incompetent and useless. I felt I didn’t deserve a better job which made me feel hopeless. I was in a downward spiral of negative feelings with negative consequences and the worse I felt, the less I did to improve my situation.

Since my primary symptom was a loss of motivation, my doctor interpreted my depression as ‘vegetative’ rather than an ‘anxious’. He put me on prozac and told me to give it a few weeks before we would decide on a dosage. After 1-2 days, I felt like I was on massive doses of caffeine which is a very BAD feeling for me (just ask Don Aldo about me and caffeine). I felt REALLY anxious, but now I had an intense need to DO something definitive. Although I never considered suicide, this experience gave me just a tiny hint of how initial doses of anti-depressants might make a person more likely to commit suicide if he already has the intention. My doctor switched me to Paxil. At first, I had all sorts of strange side-effects like insomnia and weird, vivid dreams/nightmares. One night I scratched my own face in the middle of the night (drawing blood). I can’t remember all of the side effects, but they got significantly better after a few weeks. By then, my mood had improved significantly. I found a better job and starting feeling more in control of my life. The thing that I found most surprising is that I no longer had the negative self talk that goes with the depressed mood.

I was on Paxil for 1 year. By the way, getting off Paxil was just as difficult as getting on it for me—very weird side effects such as moodiness and inappropriate outbursts. The most important things that I learned from this experience were

1. Don’t let anyone tell you that you should be strong enough to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. This doesn’t make any sense. The whole problem with depression is the sense of hopelessness and powerlessness. I was completely incapable of changing either my mood or my situation.

2. Don’t feel guilty about taking a pill. Tom Cruise is an idiot, depression is real and treatable. The stigma is stupid.

3. Even if you’re not sure that you have ‘clinical’ depression, ask a doctor. Simply knowing that there is a drug out there that works for me gives me a sense of control.

I hope this helps someone who is depressed but hesitant about trying drugs. I wish I had something encouraging to say to someone who has tried ‘everything’ but remains depressed/suicidal. Maybe some day we’ll find better drugs/therapy. I can’t fathom the amount of pain it takes for someone believe that his life is not worth fighting for. There is at least one person out there who believes you are worth it and he/she will do everything in his power to help you feel better.

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9 Responses

  1. This is truly and excellent post. If somehow we could rid the world of the stigma that seems to go with taking antidepressants. Our brains are functioning organs within our body, how could we expect the brain to be more immune to illness than any other part of the body.
    I always love your postings, good job
    Bill

  2. Okay, I have several comments about this one. First of all, my depression has absolutely nothing to do with my job. My job requires an adequate amount of work and provides a more than adequate amount of pay. I have no complaints. My depression is caused by the fact that I am 40 years old with no wife or kids and no prospects…. (and I am a fan of a football team that sucks..) Is Paxil gonna cure this for me??? I kinda doubt it…
    Yes, Tom cruise is an Idiot, (Mostly for dumping Nicole Kidman, but that is another story). Drugs simply alter your perception about your life. If your life sucks, drugs aren’t gonna change that. They can only make you think that your sucky life isn’t so bad…
    So until somebody comes up with a drug that provides me with a girlfriend and a winning football team, I am not interested….

  3. By the way. You would never find a doctor who would give you drugs because you’re a Minnesota Viking fan with no wife or kids. Doctors are way too conservative regarding who they treat for depression. They have a relatively strict definition of clinical depression. Besides, I’ll bet anti-depressants wouldn’t even change the way you feel if your not clinicially depressed–it’s not heroin, you don’t get a euphoria, you just feel normal for a change.

  4. Al,
    Oh…and my job is better than your job even if I don’t like it. I just don’t like to work.

    Can you tell you hit a nerve?

    Come back and leave a comment anytime.

  5. Are my comments uniformed or uninformed?? Perhaps they are uniformally uninformed….
    I find it intriguing that I earlier posted a comment about politics hoping to provoke all sorts of controversy. Nobody took the bait. However, a seemingly innocent comment about depression seems to have stirred up a hornets nest. First of all, I never claimed to be clinically depressed. Second of all, I never suggested that there was no use for drugs.
    You claim that drugs made you feel better about your life. Great. But was your life really bad? Those of us that are uninformed would think not. I see the drug as something that simply made you realize that your life wasn’t that bad. If on the other hand, you’re broke, homeless, friendless and all around miserable, is that same drug gonna simply make you realize that you are indeed broke, homeless, friendless and all around miserable? I guess I am just concerned that sometimes drugs are used to mask more significant problems that need to be addressed. I am certainly glad that drugs worked for you, but I am equally glad that you no longer feel the need to take them.
    As far as the support from your family goes, I am certainly sorry for not being more supportive. I opened up my heart in this blog and you responded by saying “get a life!” and that my form of depression is just a bad mood. Is this the kind of family support that you expected from me??

  6. Or maybe your comments were “uniformly” uninformed. I suppose I was a bit harsh with my response, but you did hit a nerve and your statement that ‘you no longer feel the need to take them’ isn’t entirely true. My seasonal affective disorder and generalized anxiety are still pretty unpleasant (and seem to be getting a little worse with age), so I still feel like I ‘need’ drugs to feel normal. I just chose to suffer the unpleasantness instead, since it’s not disabling right now. I totally agree that depression has nothing to do with the reality of a person’s life but more with his perception of his life (or feelings about himself). I’m pretty sure that by objective standards most people would judge my life as very nice with few obstacles.

    I think that if someone is broke, homeless, friendless and depressed, drugs will help him feel better about himself so he can change his situation. If his situation is already good (like in my situation), then the drugs will feel like a ‘miracle drug’.

    I am sorry if I offended you by saying “get a life”. In general, I think my family is very close and supportive.

    Karrie

  7. Karrie, I agree with EVERYTHING you have said here.
    Bill

  8. Despite all the information and supporting research, depression remains amongst one of the most mis-understood conditions.

  9. I just read the two begining poems again. As Tiger says in his frequent toast: “to those who’ve gone before!” At our age, there are quite a few that we love and miss!! Enjoy the moment!

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