My depressive thoughts quit circling like sharks in the aquarium of my mind; my body felt normal, with normal energy; I had hope, I began to think of future plans; my crying spells stopped--just like that! Amazing. My fear is, of course, that this new cocktail, like the two others that worked then ceased working, will cease working as well, or that I'll develop tolerance. Or something. But maybe, just maybe, the third time is a charm.
It's a strange sensation, however, for one's body and brain to feel normal while the memory of the last nineteen months of horror remains in the center of my chest like a rubble-lined pit from a nuclear blast, my heart being ground zero.
My last post was signed with seven kilorats. That's the highest I've recorded in this blog, though I've been lower than that in previous depressions. I feel almost plastic in a way, the mood switch being so sudden and my heart still dragging behind me like an anchor. I am aware of the former emptiness in my chest but do not acutely experience it; my unutterable sadness suddenly feels like a phantom limb.
Suddenly the idea of a God of love seems imaginable to me. My religious torment has lifted. And in thinking of my correspondence with my Christian friend, I have to confess before God and man: My disease is more important to me than my religion. I can't help it. If my disease is not controlled I can't do faith except in a hollow intellectual sense. I can't pretend to be more virtuous than this.
As a man dying of thirst thinks only of water, so the severely depressed thinks only of annihilation, of an end; he is beyond hope of getting better but determined, at least in my case, not to kill himself because he remembers, as through a fog, recovering from previous depressions.
One thing I did to mark this miracle was to reverse my garuda. A garuda is an Indonesian mask carved in the form of an eagle-faced gargoyle, said to be the eagle who is the mount of the god, Vishnu, in the Hindu pantheon. It is meant to keep evil spirits out of a household. But I had hung it above my front door facing inwards when we moved into our new place on April 1, 2006, the day my depression began. As a visible sign of improvement, as an incarnation of hope, I have now hung the garuda on the wall facing the door. Now he looks out at the world and protects me and mine.
What was best about this change is that my daughter, Sarah, was visiting from LA and near the end of her stay she got her Papa back! And Kathleen got her Craig back. And I have myself back, though it will take time for me to trust the sensation of being me.
For those interested in a longer meditation on brain chemistry and personality, I recommend Listening to Prozac. We are all much more chemical than otherwise. If you were spared the gene for this devastating illness, you could never give proper thanks for not having it--and I am glad for you. If you suffer, all I can say is: hold on and keep seeking help. That's all I've done.
I'm tempted to sign this "kiloneutral" but am afraid to make such a claim for so short a period of recovery. Let us hold today's labeling in abeyance.