Depression: The Giving Up Disease

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8/21/2015.

Greg is concerned. I’ve been more depressed than I have ever been, according to him.

He says I have been slowly giving up everything, and he’s right.

I struggle with depression, The Giving Up Disease.

I’ve given up trying to find a therapist and someone who can prescribe psychiatric medication. Calling places and learning that they either don’t prescribe meds, have an 8 month wait, don’t take new patients, or don’t take my insurance has been incredibly discouraging and has only made me more depressed.

I’ve given up working out. No motivation.

I’ve given up caring about what I eat and have gained weight due to this.

I’ve given up staying in touch with many people.

I’ve given up being outside as much as I used to be outside. I used to try to get outside every day (at least on my lunch break) to walk. Now I don’t.

I’ve given up on doing household chores. I only do the dishes and laundry now because they’re necessary. I despise doing both.

I’ve given up showering daily. I shower every other day now. I have also started to despise showering.

I’ve given up wearing makeup, drying my hair, and trying to look halfway decent.

I’ve given up cooking and learning to cook healthy meals.

I’ve given up on having a relationship with one of my family members.

I’ve been tempted to give up my relationship with my husband Greg, because I don’t want to drag him down with me.

I’ve been tempted to give up my job.

I’ve been tempted to give up the medication that keeps me somewhat sane because it makes me “fat” and  is “not working anyway.”

I’ve been tempted to give up on friends who frustrate me with their hypocrisy and narcissism, but don’t want to tear the social fabric I’m comfortable in.

I’ve been tempted to give up on God. I’ve been angry with Him and wonder why he cursed me with chronic depression and what the fucking point of it is.

I’ve been tempted to give up writing.

I’ve given up most things I used to like to do.

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I would have given up on my dreams too, but I don’t know if I have dreams anymore. I don’t even know what I like anymore. I remember that dream about becoming an actress, and tell myself I’m too old and beat-up looking to pursue that now. Then that one about becoming a travel writer. How will I ever afford that? Then that book I wanted to write. No one will want to read it.

Depression is The Giving Up Disease. It makes you slowly give up everything until there is nothing left to give up but your life.

Then, sometimes, you give up your life.

I don’t want it to reach that point.

If I’m to be honest, the reason my depression has increased lately is that I am still suffering from a broken heart.

A family member broke my heart back in April. I deserved it. I said terrible things to him, hoping he would change. But instead he told me that I was in no place to judge him and to “have a nice life.”

I’m 32 and I’ve never had my heart broken before.

That may seem odd, but I’ve always possessed a defense mechanism that caused me to abandon people before they abandoned me.

And maybe that’s what I was trying to do when I sent that awful message to my family member. I sensed for a long time that we were becoming distant. And I told him I couldn’t have a relationship with him unless he changed. Perhaps that was my defense mechanism cropping up.

Because I knew that, eventually, he would abandon me.

I said things that were slowly boiling inside of me for the past eight years. He consistently pissed me off with his actions, but I never said anything because I always want to keep the peace.

The water boiled and overflowed onto the stove when his actions made my mother upset. I hate seeing my mother upset. Mum wouldn’t say anything to him about why she was upset. She had her reasons.

I said horrible things. I could have approached it differently. I recognize that now.

Sometimes depression makes you view people in the worst light, and it ends up affecting your relationships.  You focus on someone’s bad qualities or past wrongdoings almost obsessively until you start resenting them and wishing they were out of your life. Then you might end your relationship with them or drive them away.

I miss my family member and his family so much.

But I don’t know what to do. I figure any communication I attempt would just piss him off. I don’t want to piss him off or cause him any unhappiness. I truly want him to be happy.

I keep asking God what to do and haven’t received an answer. All I’ve received are two separate dreams where I reconciled with my family member. Both times I woke up so relieved and happy until I realized it wasn’t true.

I recently finished Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. It was a wonderful and insightful memoir. It begins with Gilbert going through a terrible divorce. After her divorce, she travels to Italy, India, and Indonesia to explore the pursuits of pleasure, devotion and balance.

While in India, Gilbert receives “Instructions for Freedom” from a friend at an ashram where she is practicing meditation. Going through the instructions on the roof of the ashram, Gilbert is able to invite her ex-husband, whom she knows she will never see again, into prayer/meditation with her so she can attempt to find closure.

The Instructions for Freedom are as follows:

  1. Life’s metaphors are God’s instructions.
  2. You have just climbed up and above the roof. There is nothing between you and the Infinite. Now, let go.
  3. The day is ending. It’s time for something that was beautiful to turn into something else that is beautiful. Now, let go.
  4. Your wish for resolution was a prayer. You being here is God’s response. Let go, and watch the stars come out–on the outside and on the inside.
  5. With all your heart, ask for grace, and let go.
  6. With all your heart, forgive him, FORGIVE YOURSELF, and let him go.
  7. Let your intention be freedom from useless suffering. Then, let go.
  8. Watch the heat of day pass into the cool night. Let go.
  9. When the karma of a relationship is done, only love remains. It’s safe. Let go.
  10. When the past has passed from you at last, let go. Then climb down and begin the rest of your life. With great joy.

I had to stop the book right there because I was crying my eyes out.

It made me think of my family member.

Recently I invited (or tried to invite) Paul into prayer with me so I could tell him I love him and I forgive him. And to ask him to forgive me.

I can’t forgive myself.

I told Greg that if I die, I want this family member to know that I am deeply sorry and that I will always love him.

What I wish I could say to him:

I am so sorry I acted hurtful toward you. You deserved better than that. My anger had more to do with me than with you. I haven’t resolved certain things within myself and it has made me an unhappy person who is capable of hurting others. I didn’t mean to drive you away. It was a defense mechanism because I thought you were abandoning me already.

I am working on becoming a better, happier person. And when that happens, I would be honored if you would consider allowing me back into your life.

But for now, I know I have work to do. Maybe that is why God hasn’t really answered me yet on how I should try to reestablish a relationship with you.

I love you. Always.

~

Greg says I can’t give up. I’m reading Elizabeth Warren’s book A Fighting Chance right now. He says Elizabeth Warren wouldn’t give up, and neither should I.

I don’t want to reach the point where I give up my life.

So I keep repeating to myself:

Don’t give up.
Don’t give up.
Don’t give up.

And when I don’t know how to pray about what’s going on, I don’t have the right words, I just say:

Lord, Lord.

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The Giving Up Disease is powerful.  It’s so powerful that I don’t even like talking about the future, because I’m not sure if I really have a future. That makes it hard to be motivated and to dream.

9/26/2015.

I haven’t given up yet.

This week I called about 30 places to try to get appointments for therapy and medication.

I’ve heard back from about three places who may be able to provide what I need without having a ridiculous wait time.

Of course, I looked up online reviews for these three places and they are horrible. One place recently had a complaint filed with the Better Business Bureau. Wonderful. I’m going there on Monday, because a Nurse Practitioner who can prescribe meds had an opening. There is a 2-3 month wait for a therapy appointment with this place.

Even though I told all 30 places I’ve been having suicidal thoughts when I left voice mails for them (a slightly white lie I’ve been telling to get their attention because it’s become necessary), I’ve only heard back from a third. And only about a third of that third have said they could help me in a timely fashion. Mostly, they recommend that I visit the ER or try a place other than them.

“Have you contacted this place?” Yes, I have. That place and about 30 other places in this area.

“Have you tried going to the ER?” No, I can’t afford it.

“Have you tried going through your PCP?” Yes, I have. He wants me to get in with someone who specializes in psych meds.

“Have you tried this intensive outpatient program?” No, I can’t afford it and I work during the day.

“Have you tried this crisis hotline?” No, I’m beyond that point. They can’t help me schedule an appointment.

You start to feel like it’s your fault for not “trying” hard enough.

I am busting my ass trying to get in with someone who can provide the services I need, and I keep getting to the point where I want to scream at whomever asks if I’ve tried this or that. Like I’m new to this process and haven’t been in and out of therapy for the past 16 years.

I haven’t given up yet. But the odds are stacked against me. I stand with so many other mentally ill people who resort to drugs and drinking because the system is so overloaded and broken.

I understand why they live this way. And why they die this way.

The help they need simply isn’t there when they need it the most. They get discouraged.

And understandably, they give up.

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