Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Blogtherapy

Yes, the black cloud of clinical depression has finally descended on me after a year-and-a-half of bad luck. I know from experience that once my brain chemistry is adequately adjusted, my wife's dear face will look familiar to me again, but one symptom of depression is derealization--the sense that everything is foreign, even the chairs at the restaurant this morning (where I didn't eat), as if every object in the world were new, entirely inexplicable and vaguely sinister.

The last time I was hospitalized for depression, January 1996, I remember how daunting it was to tie my shoes. It took much study, but after a while I managed it. However, the whole process of tying my shoes seemed as if I'd never done it before.

This is one reason I tell folks that ECT is a whole lot better than depression. My memory has been more damaged by depression that my one course of ECT, which restored it back in 1983.

Anyway, in writing about this I escape the feeling for a while. In the formation of words we are forced to ignore inner weather for a moment, perhaps because of the very demands of logic placed on the left hemisphere where depression is mainly centered.

Recent studies also show the use of antidepressants may keep the brain more agile over time, contrary to earlier fears.

I'll share with those likewise afflicted my rules for depression.

First, and above all, be evaluated biologically and enter treatment with the proper medications; wait for the worm to turn, it always does eventually. And if medications don't help a serious depression within two to three months, especially for manic-depressives, I think ECT a very good choice.

Now, behaviorally, here are Dr. Chaffin's rules:

1) It is better to do something than nothing.

2) It is better to do something active than something passive.

3) It is better to be with or around people than alone.

4) Try to set a modest goal each day. Mine is: "I'm going to try not to hate myself too much today."

I try to follow my own advice. Here I am writing, right?

As for the lawyer thingie planned yesterday, the public prosecutor is absent and won't be back until Thursday so we couldn't go.

Kathleen ate some excellent Eggs Benedict this morning. I had one bite and made a lame joke about the current Pope--as close as I came to humor.

I can still read. That's a good sign. When worse I can't concentrate enough to remember what I'm reading.

Here's a poem about depression:


Eternal Recurrence

Psychologists call mania
a defense against depression
but I find that silly.
There is no defense
against depression
and no adequate metaphor
for its recurrence, but I'll try:

You love someone with all your heart.
They are brutally murdered.
After an interminable grief
they magically reappear
and you fall down on your knees
and thank God with tears.

The second time is worse.

After the third funeral
you dread their resurrection
as much as their death
and love becomes a poisonous thing.
You would drive a stake through their heart
if only you could.

Here's a link to where it was published along with others, in Tryst Magazine:

http://www.tryst3.com/issue9/chaffin4.html


All for now. Thanks for listening.


Thine,

CE

5 comments:

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  2. Hi C.E.,
    I wish you so much success in a rapid recovery. This was an amazing post and thanks for your honesty and expression of it all.
    I only hope you recover rapidly and find your joy.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thinking about you. Wishing better for you. Waiting for you to come back to yourself.

    shann

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks, Shann and Bev. With increased medications I think the worm is turning. I will not give in to the lizard brain and the parahippocampal gyrus of the left hemisphere, even when it tells me to kill myself for being worse than a flea on the ass of the Devil.

    My next blog should be more hopeful. I am an expert at treating depression, even my own--believe it or not--a discipline I've had to develop as a manic-depressive since the age of 14.

    Cheers,

    CE

    ReplyDelete
  5. We're at the 'puters instead of gnawing our nails waiting for Kenyon's return, though my back is about to give out (the magic injection my Dear Doc gave me yesterday for my hip is helping enormously, though).

    Our most heartfelt thanks to all those who've supported us in all ways.

    --Kathleen

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