Psycho-Babble Medication | about biological treatments | Framed
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Part of my story

Posted by alan on January 3, 1999, at 5:57:31

In reply to It's taking on water..., posted by Nancy on January 2, 1999, at 20:35:16

I'm not going to try to find a few magic ealing words, or launch a pep talk, etc. I've been where you guys are I know better. I also know that a severe dpression prevents any optimism, however merited; I also know that life can be awful and sometimes hope seems genuinely foolish relative to all available evidence.
Still, I was in a hellish depression for 5-6 years. It even hurt when I slept; you probably understand. And then it lifted on its own. During the depression, there were times when I had trouble even standing up, when walking to the sidewalk from my house my heart pounded and I lost my breath. I'd lie in bed and not bathe or change clothes for weeks. On top of the hopelessness and weakness and PAIN--most of the books hardly ever speak of this, but depression HURTS!--there was a constant sense of terror. More than once, I was in the ET after OD'S, "dress rehearsal rag". And then it lifted. The awful PAIN stopped. Gradually, I regained strength. Eventually my mood even lifted. I still remember watching a film on TV and realizing with utter amazement that I was enjoying it! It was a 'cute' comedy about a dedicated communist ideologue in Germany meeting the American girl whose father was there on business and they had to force him to dress up in good clothes before he could meet....
Before all this began, I had been teaching co;;ege with an ABD (all but dissertation). Of course, I did not get tenure, and given the academic job market, I had no hope of getting another teaching job in the US. (Listen, I'm not that good anyway. Okay') Since then I have had three recurrences. The first one was very bad, but lifted on on its own in a few months. The second one was also very bad and came at a bad time and place, especially since I was floridly psychotic, hearing voices and even seeing things no one lse saw. The time and place were bad because I was on a Fulbright in Ghana and did not make the University or the US Information Agency happy. Not a good career move. A Ghanaian shrink pumped me full of stuff and they put me on a plane. When I got here I finally got a med that did just what it is supposed to and had no trouble for eight years; then I changed to Prozac and had three good years. Since then there has been a recent recurrence, which I have not enjoyed, but I've lost no time of teaching, and even had some fun from time to time. That is now passing due, I think to Effexor.
Since the first horrendous depression I finally got my Ph.D., (at Dr. Bob's school), published a little in some good journals, very little, not (just) because of depression, but because of weak character; you can be a depressive AND a bum. (Brits: look up last term for American usage, please.) I've taught for thirteen years in various African countries, spent a night driving around Accra with someone who was a serious presidential candidate (the Senior Common Room was out of beer--a crisis), spent a New Year's day with the man who was the third ranking official in Biafra, attended embassy parties feeling like I was in a movie, and managed the national weight lifting team of Zimbabwe in the last All-Africa Games.
Before leaving Zimbabwe a few years ago, I was siting with a friend named Pikarayi, an official of the weight lifting asociation and news editor of a Sunday newspaper, I had gradually told
hm almost all all about myself. I then said, "You know, I wish I could have had a normal life, geting tenure, having a family, teaching and writing, even mowing the lawn."
He replied, "But then you never would have come to Africa!"
I am very glad I did not miss my life. Even tho I suppose I have suffered enough for several people. I apologize for hogging the bandwidth.




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Psycho-Babble Medication | Framed

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