Thursday, March 30, 2006

Depression

Depression can be a really terrible thing. I have personally dealt with years of keeping it at bay. Some times I was great, and I would go for months and months without feeling it. Then there were months that turned to years of having that constant weight upon my mind. I have no other way to describe it; it just felt like an endless weight on my back. I think that after years of depression, I am personally pulling myself out of that rut.

I know this is a bit personal for a blog that normally focuses on Indymedia articles. But I think that a few recent events in my personal life bring it to the forefront.

As some of you may know, I work for a non-profit housing organization. It is a great group that has a lot of really wonderful people working for it. It does however, like most workplaces, have a number of problems. The specifics of these problems would bore the hell out of you and it is not really important in the context of this conversation. Anyhow, I had a co worker that joined the staff about the same time I did. A very beautiful girl who had one of those cheery personalities that normally only comes with high dosages of Prozac. She was just a sweet person to be around that was universally liked.

She however, and unknown to most of us, was fighting depression. She has since left our organization to focus on helping herself get out of her pothole. For folks who do not know the distress that depression causes, it may seem a bit extreme to leave a perfectly acceptable job “just because you don’t feel well.” But sorrowfully, I know better.

The other event that helped me address my depression was the death of my uncle. He lived a crazy and wild life, and he died in his late 40s. Far too young on today’s standards, but he really looked old in his last year. I was unfortunately not there at his death bed when he died, but I am thankful I was able to hang out with him only a few months before he died. We had a good time, drank some beers, and just talked about our lives and celebrities we wanted to shag. Straight guy stuff, but something I am so thankful to have had before he died. He was an uncle that was around most of my life, and who was somehow involved with many of my childhood memories. To grow up and see the effect drugs can have on someone was a humbling experience. Here was my cool uncle, broken by addiction, and depression. I thank God everyday for that last fun get-together that I can enshrine in my memory.

These two personal experiences have forced me to one conclusion that was not apparent before hand. Life is hard, that is for sure, but you have a responsibility to yourself, your family, and your people. Perhaps that is not the moral you were expecting, but it is the one I came to.

Depression is terrible, and it is hard to beat. But to wallow in your own self pity is not the path to freedom. It takes days and nights of loneliness and prayer, not too mention reflection, to get out of it. Some folks need a psychiatrist, some need prescription drugs, and others need religion. For me, it was personal faith and the knowledge that if I didn’t change my life, I would end up like my friends and family. If changes are not made inside my head, then I will end up incapacitated, or worse, dead.

It is hardly a lesson for the world; I know that my own prescription is not one that is easily addressed. I do however think that if the demons in your mind are not confronted head on, they will eat you alive. Do not wait for someone to open up happiness for you; it is all in your hands. There are too many wonderful things around to waste by hating life.

1 comment:

jonny said...

Thats a great post.

One of my best friends did himself in a couple of years back, so I can probably relate.

The thing is he was in a bad way before his suicide - he really hung on for dear life.