It’s been an odd week for me. My mood has been virtually unnatural. I’ve been excited about life. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that that’s not normal, it’s just not normal for someone like myself. I have struggled and suffered with depression most of my life. Medication for my depression entered the picture when I was going through my divorce at the age of twenty-two and has since been ever-present.
There seems to be less of a stigma nowadays regarding depression than there was in the past. Arguably, the same can be said for other ‘issues.’ Society seems to be becoming more accepting of the way people are. Yes accepting, not merely becoming tolerant. I don’t like the word tolerant. To say that we tolerate people’s differences seems to imply that it’s something we really don’t want to do. It’s like saying, ‘yeh, you’re not the same as me but I acknowledge your existence and how you are.’ Rather, to become more accepting we open ourselves up to understanding, appreciating and even being able to relate to how others may feel.
Medication doesn’t solve everything. It never does. However, finding some sort of help is key in coping with whatever issues you may have. Living with depression is hard. Whenever I think about it I often have the Cymbalta commercials playing in my head, repeatedly hearing the line, “depression hurts, but you don’t have to.” You know the commercials, all the depression medication ads are the same. They often depict individuals with depression as being relatable to you or even someone you may know. The commercials show people looking sad, haggard, rubbing their shoulders, and simply looking pathetic. Yep, I generally feel that way. Whoever said that it takes more muscles to frown than it is to smile must not have to deal with depression.
Like other challenges in life living with depression can cause people to misunderstand your moods. For me a good day may be what most consider bad. This week was very different though. Despite some hurdles at work with IT problems and being pulled in many directions, I was able to still feel excited about life. I was happy when talking to people and feeling very excited about projects that I have for myself. I didn’t see them as a task or chore but more of an opportunity to be more and to feel more. That is rare. How often is someone supposed to be really happy about who they are, what they’ve accomplished, and what they’re doing in their lives? I just wish I could bottle the way that I’ve felt recently. I wish that there was a way for you to go somewhere when your mood is just right and say, figure out that specific chemical balance and make sure I can stay there. No, not with illicit drugs or anything, but I’m sure you know what I mean.
I find that I seldom feel a sense of excitement about what my life is. That isn’t to say that I’m thinking of the alternative, I just think that most days I’m in a place of simply trying to get through the day. I don’t doubt that that’s the case for many of us. I have done counseling. No, I haven’t given counsel, I have been the one in therapy. In my experience, it wasn’t something that was working for me. However, I do think that it could be because after a few months I get bored with it and it reminds me of how unfortunate it is that I have some of the thoughts and feelings that I do. I realize that it takes a commitment and a desire to improve in order for therapy to work.
Don’t take for granted what your life is. I say this even if you are someone who struggles with depression or something else. I’ll admit, there have been times where I have thought about throwing in the towel. I know, that’s crazy. But at the end of the day we really only have one life to live and like any good book, I’m curious to see how my story ends.
Web Exclusive, 10/5/11. Article appeared on page 5A of The Union-Recorder on 5/9/12 under the title “See how the story ends.”