It is amazing what you could get, if you only ask. So we ask you, to share your own personal story, about
- Your own battle with depression, or
- How you overcome depression, or even (ladies, this is for you)
- If you’ve lived or currently living with a partner who is suffering from depression
Anthony’s story may get you started:
Five years ago when I was 33, I felt like i was on top of the world. I’d been successfully self-employed for several years. I’d been single for a year or two and making the most of bachelor life . I was in the best physical fitness and shape of my life, and eating healthily. For several years I’d been developing a tight circle of friends in my adopted home city of Melbourne. In the absence of any specific personal calamities, what could possibly go wrong?
I don’t have a definitive answer, but it seemed to start when I began to look out from my own little world, and develop an interest in various issues (politics, economics, environment, social, from local to international). I was quietly concerned about what I was learning, wondering what I could do to help make a difference. early in 2005 I watched a documentary – The Corporation (www.thecorporation.com) – which had a fundamental impact on my world-view, succinctly contextualising so much of what I felt was wrong with the world.
I’d also been smoking dope more often; Only socially to start with, but more and more often I’d get hold of my own stash & smoke alone. by 05-06 i was fairly hooked (including physiologically by the 50/50 tobacco mix – BIG mistake!) and it became an effective means of blocking out the world, and sapped me of almost all motivation.
Upon later reflection, I realised that people generally have three choices when confronted by world events & issues:
* Ignore it,
* Try to do something constructive about it, or
* Become totally overwhelmed by it.
Guess which way I went! That’s the crazy thing – I was blocking out the bad stuff that I wanted to do something about! The result was major anger and frustration.
Long story short, my life faded to a shadow of my active, confident and fairly social self. My best friend died suddenly and unexpectedly, which obviously didn’t help matters. A casual comment from an academic psychologist friend about “dysthymia” eventually lead me to googling it, and discovering I could tick all the diagnostic boxes. But then after 7 months of helpful – yet unsuccessful – counseling that I ended prematurely, I soon fell back into old habits. two years later, I’ve lost count of how many days where it was a real struggle to get out of bed before late-morning (I have flexible work hours). Health & fitness deteriorated along with my physique and self-esteem, and sex and a relationship have both been off the menu for a few years now. My circle of friends shrank dramatically. My clients were becoming dissatisfied with my lackluster performance, and I’d accumulated a small mountain of debt. Only now – a few months ago – could I see the ground rising to meet my fall at an alarming and accelerating rate.
Like a pilot pulling back on the joystick in a desperate attempt to prevent the plane from crashing into the ground, I’ve been trying to pull my life back from the brink of total collapse. I stopped smoking, cold turkey (& threw out all my smoking paraphernalia), knowing that would clear my head enough to seriously engage with my client’s needs, and restore my income. I’m re-engaging with old friends and making new ones, and getting out a lot more – a weekend-night alone feels strange now, instead of being normal. I’m back at the gym & can’t wait to loose the gut!
And best of all, and totally unexpected, I’ve started dating someone special.
I do recognise I’ve been in this situation twice before – that is, stopped smoking and got my life back on track – only to fall back into that dark self-medicated place again, usually after tricking myself into thinking I was strong enough to handle dope again beyond occasional social contexts. So in the spirit of “for things to change, first *I* must change” (or its corollary “a useful definition of insanity is always doing the same thing but expecting a different result”), I’ve also started seeing a qualified psychologist experienced in drug/alcohol addictions, to start looking under some of the rocks in my mental garden to see what scurries out.
If it weren’t for the support and understanding of my friends and clients (some of whom have had their own struggle with depression), and knowing that there was professional help available and that iI wasn’t alone in this stuff, I probably wouldn’t be writing about it now.
If you’d like to follow this ongoing process, head to no-comply.org. And if you feel like sharing some of your story, by all means leave a comment or email me!