Saturday, March 15, 2008

Frustration

I'm at my mother's house right now. It's 12:15am and my sister is here, too. I felt well enough today to keep my plans to visit. Right now I'm angry and frustrated. I love my younger sister but I just spent 15 minutes listening to her lecture me about why I'm crazy to give up my job. She'd say, "I never would have done something like that. I get depressed about things sometimes, too." A couple times I interjected that she needs to do a little bit of research about what depression is as an illness, but it went in one ear and out the other. I'm angered by all the people who don't understand, but I'm even more angered tonight that I had to listen to my sister carry on in her ignorance. I can't make people understand. I was feeling well today, but now I feel rotten. All humans go through depression, like when their moms die or they lose a loved one or their job or pet, but these are all depressions caused by a factor. In a true depressive, one does not need a reason to be depressed. It's the make-up of the brain and its chemistry that causes the chaos. When neurotransmitters aren't working right with serotonin or whatever, we have a meltdown. It's a mental yet physiological condition. Learn this, people!

You would think the people closest to you would understand, and would actually spend the time doing research about what depression and Bipolar disorder is as a real disease, would actually check a book out of a library or peruse the articles on the Internet. But they don't have time for that. Instead of taking time out of her life to understand her sister a little bit better, she makes me feel afraid, indeed very frightened, by giving me examples of people she knew who took five or six years to get disability. I've got medical records dating back to 2002, with increasing severity and more and more inpatient stays in the mental hospital due to my plans to kill myself by sitting in the front seat of a car with the engine running in the closed garage. The first time I was hospitalized, my husband caught me making a list of things I needed to buy to bring about my own destruction. He saw that I had been posting on a newsgroup that was all about suicide. That was the final draw for him so into the hospital I went. The other visits to the hospital were pretty much just a repeat of that, because again I came close to ending my life. I was not acting out against anything or anyone. I had just suffered enough mental pain that I could not suffer any longer. There was only one escape. This was the thinking that had me hospitalized a few times and also put in intensive outpatient therapy. Everyone knows I've gone through this. But apparently to them it must be just a show. Oh, she's just wanting attention, or she's just lazy and trying to get out of work. These words that I hear coming at me from all directions are drowning me and I can't take it anymore. What's happened tonight is that I have been given very discouraging news about the Social Security process, and in addition to that I've been made out to be a loser. I'm just someone who gives up in their eyes. They'll always see me in that light. These people that are supposed to love, are only disappointed in me and think I'm just lazy and want to quit working. I can't even begin to think about how I'm going to deliver to them an understanding of what mental illness is. If they were in my house for a couple weeks, they'd get many chances to see how I, in a complete state of numbness, apathy and near catatonia stay in the bed for days at a time.

I'm so angry. I want to cry. I'm frightened. The choice that I made was the only choice I had left to make. I can't carry on in a job where I've used up all my sick leave and vacation leave, as well as borrowed more sick leave and then I started using leave without pay. I got my numbers today from the secretary, and the amount of time I've had to take off work because of excused absenses based on my mental incapacitation were so ridiculous. One glance at the numbers and you saw that there were a lot of days, in between some good days, that I couldn't function enough to go to work.

Whatever. Please do me a favor. For all of you who come to read this blog, if you think that people with depression or Bipolar Disorder are lazy and are whiners, do yourself and the world a favor by going to the library or bookstore and pick-up a book about depression. Or read about depression and Bipolar Disorder on the Internet. Just a little bit of time out of your day and you might educate yourself enough to know that all those labels you've placed on us were really mistakes.

If you don't understand depression or Bipolar disorder, don't talk to me. I will not surround myself with that kind of company.

Now I'm ill thinking that it might take me five or six years to get the help I'm after. With our finances, we couldn't live that long without losing everything. If it comes down to that, if no one at the SS helps. and no one believes in me or understands me, then I'm going to have to make a graceful exit out of this life. Because then I'll have no reason to be alive.

I'm pissed. I'm scared. I'm insecure. I'm alone. Don't call me a whiner because it will go in one ear and out the other. Don't say I'm lazy or I'll give you some homework to do. I'll tell you to go to your library and check out five or six books on depression or other mental illnesses. Then I'll tell you to read about it on the Internet. And when you've completed your task, if you still have no understanding, then all I can do is feel sorry for you as you languish in your ignorance.

Goodnight.

27 comments:

Vincent said...

Sophia, I am going to risk provoking your anger further. You are a human being just like everyone else. You cannot escape the consequences of being you by hiding behind the label of a mental disorder. People will respond to you just as they wish, for that is their way of caring, even if they sound ignorant or unjust.

As for what depression is, I used to practise as a therapist dealing with that and other physical illnesses. I would be unlikely to agree with what most books say about it. I could give suggestions as to finding a suitable practitioner accessible from where you live, if you were interested.

People might call you lazy or a whiner but it might be their perception that you don’t accept responsibility for your own life and decisions. If you convey to them that it’s not your fault but a medical condition in the face of which you are helpless, they are entitled to give you whatever feedback they consider helpful.

You have been wanting a spiritual teacher, but you have one, in the form of life and what it throws at you. You will find the strength and wisdom (and doubtless a little external guidance) to overcome your predicaments and conditions.

As for your "graceful exit out of life", it wouldn't be graceful. It would be a cruel punishment to those around you who care, and sounds like a form of blackmail.

Anonymous said...

you are watching the mind of a depressed person. you think you are this mind and identify with it. It is a depressed mind. Its darkness blocks the flow of the chi which is meant to uplift your heart, personality, and body which are not separate. Society doesnt not know much about chi so im not impressed by the medical articles describing what a blocked mental and emotionally body is like...and the grosser physical symptoms of this. I wish i could help you but there is no verbal cure for thinking you are something you are not. as soon as you see that you are not your mind and emotions you will release them and the darkness will dissolve. there are many teachings to help someone realize. mediation yoga....mantra...all these help get some distance and clarity from the darkness and allow somes chi to get through into your body.

people have lived there entire lives trying to get modern medicine to fix their body-mind with little or no success. it is not the root of the problem.

i dont think you are a whiner and your reaction is perfectly rational for someone with a blocked body-mind.

it can be easily unblocked and everything will be reversed. your still young and have time to completely recover.

a wise person told me never to make decisions when your heart is feeling pain. Pain can only lead you to pain. find the light inside yourself and it will take you to itself.

when you feel depressed how do you know? the one who knows cannot be depressed.

Alexander M Zoltai said...

So, yeah, I'm a depressive and I've been lazy as sin, sure; whatever people, whatever makes you feel comfortable around me.

When I started my meds I was at my sister's home and caused her no end of grief because, "If you take a pill, you're all better...".

God's love for me is my only hope...

goatman said...

I am happy to hear that you are moving on from that depressing state-job. Good for you and a brighter future is in store. Your inquisitive and probing nature need not be constrained by the motives of public service and boredom.

I had to resort to prozac and some talk therapy a few years back and was surprised at the reaction of my parents who still view mental illness as a fault of some kind; that belief is still prevalent with many who have not suffered. But I'm okay now, I think the pills helped restore the chemical imbalance and the talk restored my view of the future. Which view was lacking hope and inspiration.
You will do well. Look into teaching perhaps, or volunteering for community service and aid to those in need. Many contacts and networking grow out of that sort of thing in my experience.
In another vein: Spring arriveth!!

Alexander M Zoltai said...

Bravo, Goatman !!!

rob said...

I struggle with depression too and, like you, I get frustrated by other people's lack of understanding.

I sometimes feel that depression has a timeless quality....there is a fear that it will persist indefinitely.
Sooner or later however things improve.

Rachel said...

I cant claimm to know or understand much of anything, but I know someone who has Bipolar disorder; and I know better than to judge or make assumptions, so have no fear that I will do that to you!

The person I know had a severe episode early last year; in which he fell into a psychotic state. I wont divulge the details, as it is not my right to share, but he was in the mental hospital for 2.5 weeks and under intense observation for another 6 weeks after. he is stable now, and the lithium normalizes his moods. there are solutions, and I hope you find yours!

Sophia said...

Vincent,

You didn't provoke any anger from me.

I don't think I'm hiding behind the label of a mental disorder, I think the disorder itself hides me.

I had to complain a little bit. After all, my sister always complains about my dad being opinionated or offering his unwarranted advice, and that is exactly what she did to me. She punished him by not speaking to him for years, and still she won't speak with him.

I wholeheartedly appreciate that you are offering to recommend a practioner to me, and I will gladly accept your offering. But do you think it will be any more successful than the two types of therapy I've been getting for years now? I have been seeing a psychiatrist for six years, and a licensed clinical social worker for a year and two months now, not to mention all the inpatient and outpatient hospital visits and group therapy I've had. While this might sound like I'm complaining about the hopelessness of it all, I'm very encouraged to think that you think there still might be a way to overcome this. So yes, if you know of a practioner that I have not heard of, that offers a different type of therapy than I've been involved in already, please let me know.

Do you think this is my fault?

As far as blackmail is concerned, please see my post entitled "Last Night". There is no one for me to blackmail because no one I know reads my blog. And no one who reads my blog knows who I am. (With the exception of one kind woman that I just had the pleasure of meeting.)

But I hope you do not think this is my fault. It would break my heart if you thought that. :(

Sophia said...

Anonymous,

I really appreciate your spiritual perspective on this. I think this depression is not only a mental/physical illness, it is also a spiritual ailment. (And I'll remember that the mental/physical is not really seperate from the spiritual!) It ails my spirit because it is keeping me from growing, and I wish I was block-free so that I could just have one great big growth spurt into a full-grown spiritual adult. If one has been following my blog from the beginning, or has read my old blog, they would see my periods of growth. Those periods were congruous with my "up" periods, or the periods in which I was depression-free. I've noticed that when I was feeling well, I was more motivated and inspired to sit and meditate. I think what happens is this: "I don't feel well enough to help myself." Or.... "I don't have the energy to make myself feel better." And so it seems like I'm trapped. Only, I know people have escaped from this trap. Many spiritual teachers claim they were once deeply depressed. Take Eckhart Tolle, for instance. If I remember correctly, he was once suicidal when he was about my age. And now look at him! If he can do it, so can I.

I'm in a very talkative mood and I could go on and on, so I better stop here.

(The complaining I do online is really the only complaining I do at all. Although sometimes my husband has to listen to it. But I never complain in person to my friends. That's what this blog is for.)

Thanks for your help. It sounds like you understand.

Sophia said...

Alex,

I definitely don't have to worry about you not understanding. There is some solace to be found in companionship on this road.

God isn't the only one that loves you; I love you, too. But maybe my love for you is really God's love shining through me. :)

Would you be interested in reading an 84-page book by William Styron, called _Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness_? I can't really describe what the book has done for me, other than say that it offers some relief to read the words of a celebrity going through the exact same thing. If you're interested, let me know and I'll send it to you via snail mail / media mail. (Media mail sometimes takes a while, but it isn't so bad really!)

Sophia said...

Goatman,

I could smother you in hugs! I am so glad to receive your support. I do not know for sure just how much the job contributed to my state-of-being, but I do know that it hadn't really helped matters. It really was a gloomy place. No colors, all grey... no pictures on the walls... just empty hallways and stark flourescent lighting, and people walking around with unhappy faces. Shoot... I was sitting in a cubicle in the middle of a warehouse building! There certainly was no joy or happiness to be found there. I would have thought it was my own bleak perspective that made it seem so gloomy, but others that I know who are not depressed find that the place was rather grim. When I begin to heal, I will do my best to find employment somewhere that can at least offer some color to get through the day.

It sounds to me like you know all about the boredom that is to be found in public service. I thought it was only me! Goatman, I am not lying when I tell you that out of my six years of working there, we've spent at least three years total of that time doing nothing but sitting at our desks without any work to do. The American public would go absolutely insane if they knew just how much of their tax money was being spent on government workers spending their days surfing the Internet, watching videos or playing games!

I am so glad that you found relief from your depression. Hearing of your recovery gives to me some hope! I never knew that you had gone through that, so I really appreciate you coming out with it so that I could see relief can be found. I've read about relief, but thought it was only a dream.

Spring definitely promises some good things! Already the frogs in my neighbors defunct pool are beginning to chirp, and I can't tell you how much I love that sound. I look forward to it every year, even if the stagnant water brings a lot of mosquitos!

Sophia said...

Rob,

When the outsiders don't get it, one thing for certain is that the insiders do. So we all have to stick together. :)

Sophia said...

Rachel,

They say that those who know that they do not know are the wisest of all.

My doctor and I have discussed lithium before. I cannot for certain remember the reason we chose not to use it in my treatment, but I think it had something to do with possible damage to the liver. I know people who swear by it, though! There will probably come a time when I decide that a short happy life is preferable to a long miserable existence. I'm sure the other medications are doing countless things to my organs and body anyway.

Thanks for your input on this!

Alexander M Zoltai said...

Media mail???

goatman said...

Hi again,
Just wanted to followup on what I said about your job: I don't think it was the job specifically which caused you problems but the prospect of the same-same for the next 30 years with no prospect of a change, (there, now I've depressed myself --- because that was part of my problem!) . . . . . . . . . It's Okay, I'm better now.
Anyways we need something to look forward to, a future of possibility for change and anticipation of it---ugh, now I'm preaching and I hate it when people do that to me.
On the SS thing: I have heard that they are told to pretty much automatically reject the first application. You must persist, and save every bit of evidence even the work record. Also does your state pay unemployment. I was out of work for a year in Oregon and that state is set up to pay ,after a period, even if you were fired; which I was.
I'm glad you're reaching out about your feelings of suicide. I suspect that it is those who keep it all bottled up who are the most at risk. But I understand something about needing to stop the pain.
But we must press on. My thoughts are with you.

Siegfried said...

Perhaps I am depressed. I have very little to say about anything.
Let me make an attempt at expressing my opinions.
Depression could be nothing but a conditioned response to others and society in general. Especially if escapism or escape techniques are being applied to deal with personal and social problems. And these can include beliefs, belief in higher powers, like God and angels, Saviors, gurus, etc. And practice of meditation and concentration techniques to get rid of the symptoms of maladjustment and lack of ability to adjust to society and its imperfections.
How to adjust or adapt to society: don't seek approval and don't apologize for doing what you have to do. Be independent and be decisive.
If your husband is willing to support you, why worry.

Siegfried said...

Don't let society bring you down. You are society. Society made you. It's not your fault.
And there's nothing wrong with being lazy. If you are prepared to live with less.
How to avoid addiction: Don't try to escape.

Siegfried said...

How to avoid depression. Don't waste your energy and time on things that have no value. Or don't matter.
Not easy, I know.

Siegfried said...

Why worry about what people think?
Jesus is not among the rich and famous. But among the weak and needy.

Sophia said...

Alex,

Media mail is nice and cheap!

This is from the United States Postal Service's web page:

"Media Mail® service is a cost efficient way to mail books, sound recordings, recorded video tapes, printed music, and recorded computer-readable media (such as CDs, DVDs, and diskettes). Media Mail can not contain advertising except for incidental announcements of books. The maximum weight for Media Mail is 70 lbs."

Sophia said...

Goatman,

I really appreciate your comments. You are a rare gem in that you are a man who is in touch with his feelings, who also has the ability to empathize. I like hearing from you and reading your words because your soul is so gentle.

I didn't think you were preaching at all.

I believe my state does offer unemployment. I never thought about that. Thanks for the idea and I will look into it.

I hope people don't think that I'm looking to become dependent on SS for the rest of my life. I'm just looking to lean on it for a small period of time, long enough for me to get my act in gear, long enough for me to have the ability to focus solely on my own improvement without the distraction of a career. I knew a girl who was dependent on it since moving out of home. She lives in Section 8 housing and only gets $643 a month, because she never worked a job in her life to put money into SS. She has no transportation other than public transportation (buses) and medicare taxi rides. While that level of poverty hopefully won't happen to me, I don't want to become dependent on it for the rest of my life. I think that someday soon, having a job again is going to be important to my self esteem, as my esteem has taken a real beating as I go through this "jobless" thing.

My thoughts are with you, too. You've been there for me; if you ever want to talk and need support from my end, please feel free to email me. :)

jim said...

Dear Sophia, you know how much I care for you. I know you are not a loser nor a whinner, not faking, not lazy, nor any of the other words that people jump to when confronted with your behaviour realities from depression.

I know, from our conversations over a year ago, that you are suffering physical phenomena problems and that they cause the manifestations you experience and exhibit. I have no doubt about that as the source of your problems in the behavioural world.

I know, I think anyway, that genetic problems are caused by the conditions of reality in this world, genetics responds to environment and creates physical realities inside bodies, we are born into a world already forcing problems on the birthbeing thru their very parentage/genetic make up.

I also think that, as this bornbeing grows thru time in this world, the stresses of the social, work, and personal fields do additional damage physically, the world spirit, as the entity that is the world structures, causes these problems unseen, they manifest, as yours have, in the real physical based body and brain systems.

I also think that the stresses of jobs and workdays and weeks and learned expectations which become slavedrivers, find themselves oppressives when they are confronted with contraidictions, like no work, layoffs, blocked advancements and lack of achievement space. I think these psychological abuses are rampant and take their toll in us PHYSICALLY as well, causing damage to our systems.

I think we also suffer physical effects from the food, the air, the water, all the inputting environment we are given to live in, and these physical effects, like dominos falling, pass themselves thru and do unfindable damages, seemingly invisible effects blossom in us and so, cause us not to be able to function without abnormal efforts.

You, as many others with your type of illness, suffer from all these, a hodgepodge of causes that are not overcomeable because they are our ocean of life.

Relief is what must be sought, in whatever degree it can be had, and we have to be thankful for any we get, but meanwhile we have to suffer the unrelieved effects and their forced behavioural manifestations. As you already know, try any and everything that seems practical to your circumstances and situation.

Trying to get those around us to understand is almost like a joke, it will take age and maybe even experience with these things for many to get any true understanding.

Meanwhile we have to suffer those with their errant remarks and false knowledge and beliefs about others realities. Somehow we have to, like a duck shedding water, build a barrier in our psyche that will shed those sounds, and we have to even guard ourselves from the voices that echo in us from those, rejecting them consciously or remembering to ignore them when ever they do echo or sound. We know they are false, deny them space and order them silent.

I know it ain't easy, what you live with and go thru, I care deeply and constantly, your pain and suffering, I seek solution in my way, but like everything in this world or around it, it is slow going and results are not readily and easily forthcoming.

Faith is one thing, belief in the future being better is another, everything, everytool you can use to combat the succumbing, is good, even if it is not THE thing.

Hang in there Sophia, I wait with you for the cure, for the relief, for the better days, for the changes that you, and I, and we all, need urgently. You have been strong and actively involved in your own welfare since I have known you, keep seeking it, keep being strong in the midst of the storms, and don't give up.

Love, Jim.

Sophia said...

Siegfried,

By your definition I'm probably a big-time escapist. I'll not deny the label. I can recall many times in my early years where I attempted to escape the world by reading books and getting lost in the stories, or by spending countless hours playing video games. Video games especially work magic at allowing the player to lose themselves. There's harldly any personal thinking involved, as one is forced to focus mostly on hand-eye coordination or solving puzzles.

You're right about my husband - I don't have to worry about gaining anyone else's acceptance, really, because he has been supportive of me from day number one! I am awed by his patience, too. I cannot think of another man on this planet who would have the strength and patience to live with a woman like me. I only mourn that he is 32 years older than me, because when something happens to him, I'll be lonely and will never find another man like him, he who has taken such good care of me. In fact, I'm not even going to try to look!

Hey Siegfried? How have you been doing lately? I hadn't heard from you in a while.

Sophia said...

Hi Jim,

Thank you for your faith in me. I'm glad you see that I've been actively involved in my own welfare and that you don't think I'm just laying down and letting this thing defeat me. I really seriously worry that people think that about me. I know, I worry too much about what other people think! I hope, as I grow older, that I'll worry less and less about what others think.

jim said...

You are right Sophia, and you will grow like that, with less concern and more self surety.

You have done wonders so far, very impressive to me, but then I have always known you as the intelligent mind you truly are, with a curiosity that won't quit and a heart as big as all outdoors.

You are my mentor and a role model when I am at my best. Thanks for your influence and your time and trouble to befriend me from our beginnings together. I greatly appreciate you and am proud to know you Sophia!

Love always, Jim.

Sophia said...

Jim,

Befriending you was no trouble at all.

In fact, it was and is quite a pleasure.

jim said...

Thanks Sophia, I feel the same about you, email me, long or short, anytime. I always love to hear from you.