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Re: And if I die before I wake ...

Posted by thankgodfornardil on March 22, 2005, at 20:23:09

In reply to Re: And if I die before I wake ... Maxime, posted by ace on March 22, 2005, at 17:44:02

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Re: And if I die before I wake ...
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I just came across your posting and I had to add to the responses. When I was severely depressed, with severe agitation and anxiety, I really believed, deep down into my bones, that I would never get better. The person who wrote DEPRESSION LIES is absolutely right.
So here's the thing. No matter how many people tell you that you'll get through this and to the other side you can't really believe it, right? You think "they mean well but they don't know that I'm actually a rare, totally hopeless case." THAT IS YOUR DISORDERED BRAIN LYING TO YOU, LITERALLY PREVENTING YOU FROM BEING ABLE TO SEE YOURSELF IN THE FUTURE IN A PLACE THAT'S BETTER THAN THE ONE NOW. I'm crying now because I think I know where you are, that I've been there. Believing to the core that there's no hope, that instead of having an illness you've been damned for some reason you don't understand...all those things. I had tried all the SSRI's, which made me so agitated and anxious I used to lock myself in the bathroom and scream at the top of my lungs, claw my face, and scream "I'm on fire and I can't put it out!!" over and over. I wished so badly I'd get cancer so my family wouldn't have the extra suffering of thinking they could have done something about it. I was bitter at my parents for letting me be born. I started chain smoking.
I also tried the new "designer" drugs, all of which also made it worse. I was taking so much lithium that I shook and jerked and I couldn't sign my name or fill out forms, or even type. I was filled with so much despair I didn't understand how such a small organ (the brain) could possibly produce such unbearable pain.
I tried Zyprexa. I tried 18 ECT treatments. No improvement. Woke up screaming in terror after the anesthesia wore off each time. Months and months of terror, deep dispair, and total hopelessness. Dropped out of school, sat in the corner of a coffee shop chain smoking every day, when I wasn't hanging out with homeless people, which actually was a big comfort to me. (They tend to be much more human and sympathetic than most other people you meet.) Became afraid to be in my house, tried to spend as much time as possible anywhere else.

Maxime, I hope you've made it this far into my message. Because here's the good part. Finally my pdoc prescribed Nardil. In two weeks I felt "less deeply depressed" according to his records. It took 3 or 4 months of 2-steps-forward/2-steps-back sort of progress, which was scary because each time it got worse again I was terrified of sliding all the way back. After those months, however, I achieved full remission. That week I started my dissertation and finished the proposal in three weeks, which is un-heard-of. I was so happy to be alive (still am) I finished my Ph.D. within the year, did my final oral exam the day before my husband and I moved to Boston. So now I'm happy as a clam, even though I've been applying to jobs for 6 months to no avail!
The episode ended about 2 years ago. I should admit, though, I still carry scars from the trauma of being depressed, which I'm sure is common. I often have nightmares about being depressed, I can't talk about it without breaking down into tears, I'm much more sensitive, in a not so healthy way, about other people's suffering, and I'm more afraid than I used to be to let myself have strong emotions or be adventurous as I used to be. I'm working on these issues in therapy, and am considering EMDR for mild PTSD, but honestly there's no comparison between the depression itself and the few scars I carry now.
You absolutely will get through this. And every minute you survive is another minute towards the time you get better.




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