Thursday, November 19, 2009

Story #4 Why do a sense of humor and Depression go hand in hand?

In my twenties I was diagnosed with Depression and have been fighting the battle ever since. (I have to capitalize the word to give the girl the respect she deserves.) The problem is, once I start feeling a little better I think..."This is it! I have fought the beast and won!" But then I turn my head and there she is...laughing...she was just taking her coffee break...getting ready for the next round. Never you fear, I do have my cache of weapons. I have fought the battle with Wellbutrin, Prozac, Paxil and now Lexapro. It's just that after awhile the weapons lose their sharp edges - and I am apt to become battle weary.

Now the title of this post was not meant to brag - I'm rarely funny on purpose - but haven't you noticed some of the most talented, funny, creative people in the world are also plagued with battling that beast Depression and her twin sister Anxiety? It's almost as if nature decided, "Alright we will let you have these gifts, but you must continually pay the price with mind-numbing bouts of fear, anxiety and wondering if you can go on....deal?"

Don't worry, I won't out any of you fellow depression-ites, but it seems to be everywhere. I remember sitting in church and hearing a Sunday School teacher state that if only people would pray more, they wouldn't have to turn to Prozac. I didn't know if I should walk out or clock him over the head with my Bible. Most people I know who suffer from depression spend more time on their knees than your average non-depressed individual. And with my lovely Olivier insomnia, I have spent hours on end on my knees. Don't get me wrong, I frequently think I would and could be worse off without the prayer. I do believe that when I hit my moments where I just can't go on, that the Lord reaches down his hand and helps me to stand again. And somehow, miraculously, I summon the energy and fortitude to keep up the fight.

Putting my uneducated diagnostic skills to work I would say I inherited a few of the Depression and Anxiety battle wounds from the family tree. My Mom is one of the most cheerful people you will ever come across...positive in such a way that Pollyana would be envious and yet she can worry at Pulitzer Prize levels. My Dad (not step dad) seems to deal with depression and bouts of Eeyorism, from what I can gather, and flashes of anger and brilliance. Okay, he's pretty brilliant on a regular basis, but you get the idea. You combine that DNA and Voila! here I am - stock full of both lovely traits. TA-DA!

There is no storyline here, or if there is it doesn't fit into a neat little package. It's messy, complicated, repetitive and requires a lot of reading between the lines. I just felt that this story is the subtext, if you will, for a lot of what happens in my life. So, if my 40 story project is going to paint some kind of picture of who I am - how could I do that without my arch-nemises?

I now know, from experience, that no medication will keep working without doing some talk therapy. So, if Depression is rearing her ugly head at you - find a therapist...it's worth the expense....whatever pharmaceutical weapons you posess, only the therapist can give you some armour. (Are you wondering how long I can keep up this battle metaphor? Just a little longer.) In spite of giant strides and a few excited blows to Depression's vital organs, she remains strong enough to make a showing...just when you least expect it.

2 comments:

michelle said...

Depression is a she, huh? Never thought of it that way.
Would a woman really be that sadistic?

I am all too familiar with the ups and downs of feeling, fleetingly, that I've come out on top, only to be brought down to the depths afresh. But I must be one of the few afflicted that didn't get the brilliant/funny gene to balance it out...

Jill said...

Hi, my name is Jill and I have Depression.

Zoloft has been my friend for 6 years now and has totally kept me and my family from going completely crazy. But it's still a struggle and always with me, so I totally understand what you're talking about here.

That man's comment about praying more makes me feel violent toward him.