The Black Thread: Depression and Recovery from Depression
A new beginning: Getting Quiet Again; Recovering from Another Fall Into Darkness
Depression has played a part in my life since my parents got a divorce when I was a kid between the ages of 5 and 8. It took forever and it was a vicious battle. My dad was convinced my mom was the devil and the cause of all of his issues. The problem was, he was an alcoholic. It was during those first years of family feud that I began to hear dark thoughts, feel less fortunate or smart than my friends, and dipped below the normal state of sad, or distant, into something called depression.
As an adult I still deal with depression on a regular basis. It’s a bit like alcoholism. I am constantly on alert for my warning signs. And in the past I have gone on and off medications that help me not drop through the ground floor and completely disappear into the dirt of despair. Depression feels like the rapid onset of a flu virus. When I’m hitting a downward trend, it feels like there is little or nothing I can do to stop, or even slow, the death spiral. Occasionally, my black days have bled into black weeks and months. And there were even moments, dark nights of the soul, that made me contemplate living, or more clearly, not living any more.
I never acted out on any of my suicidal ruminations. I never had a “plan.” Depression wisdom says, “If you have a plan, call for help immediately.”
These posts are my own black thread. A dark and painful line of connection that will have tendrils in my life as long as I live. Once touched by depression, once experienced in depression, you can’t ever really escape the idea of depression. It could always come back. Some event, some overwhelming sadness triggered by a loss, could once again strip my enthusiasm for life. I work every day to keep this from happening. But I am no longer afraid that it will kill me. I am no longer afraid of my own depressive tendencies.
I wouldn’t say I’ve befriended my depression, but I would say I have learned to belittle it. When my mind goes south I try and recognize the insanity of my thinking and reach out for help. I have a close family who can support me by staying close, even when I’d rather crawl in bed and stay there. I have two wonderful care team members (a talky doc and a meds doc) who are in the loop, more so when I’m in a dark patch. And I’ve got my own sense of humor and self-love that soothes me, even when I’m down. My self-regulating mantra goes something like this.
“Wow, my thinking is really fucked up. I need to not pay so much attention to those dark thoughts. I need to check in with my family and team about how I am feeling. I also need to make sure I’m attending to the basics of healthy living.
- Eating well.
- Getting plenty of sleep.
- Trying to exercise even when I don’t feel like it.
- Laughing at anything and everything I can, including my wild ideas, and clearly fantastically fatalistic thinking.
Get help. Get outside. And find someone to talk to. Here are the posts of my Black Thread. Let me know if I can help.
DEPRESSION – When You Point the Anger at Yourself
- Admitting My Depression Publicly
- Getting Too Close to the Sun
- The Unbearable Weight of Things
- With the Time I Have Left: Keep Climbing the Hill
- Little Ghosts Still Flutter My Heart
- Getting Quiet Again; Recovering from Another Fall Into Darkness
- Confronting God Alone, After Divorce
- Am I Back? What’s New, What’s Changed, What Will I Do Differently?
- The Self-Regulation of Poetry and Longing
- Things Broken and Unsaid
- Fundamental Flaw at the Beginning of My Marriage
- The Lover I Had This Time Last Year
- Back to the Beginning: Serenity with Your Coparent
- Everyone Loses In Divorce – What We Can Never Get Back
- My Funny Man Divorce: A Little Bill Murray a Touch of Robin Williams Mixed w/ Ferris Bueller
- Too Positive, Too Optimistic? A Blind Side.
- The Infinitely Desirable Woman with the Fractured Soul
- Losing Touch In the Off Times
- The Evolving Single Dad: Failure to Hopefulness Again
- Check Engine Light: How Long Until Repairs Are Forced By a Breakdown?
- Gone. A Pause at Summer’s End.
- Alone is Different Than Aloneliness After Divorce
- What You Took Away; What I Get To Remember
- What You Can’t Leave Behind After Divorce
- Since My Last Confession
- Loneliness. Fessing Up When Things Hurt for No Apparent Reason
- How Much Longer Until I Feel Better? (Post-divorce Depression)
- I See You – Losing that Loving Perspective
- Followed by the Black Dog (of depression)
- Depression is No Joke: Suicide is Not the Answer to Any Question or Problem
- Feeling Again or NOT Feeling Again
- Wisdom from the trenches – “responsible separation”
- and in that moment, when you knew
- single dad
- she is silenced in my back pocket
- cat from another country
- unease and marginal effect
- i could be back here in an hour
- the absence
- i knew
- gone bye bye
DEPRESSION RESOURCES (BOOKS)
- The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression without Drugs
- Get It Done When You’re Depressed
- An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
- Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness
- Listening to Prozac: The Landmark Book About Antidepressants and the Remaking of the Self
- Against Depression
- How I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying to Kill Me: One Person’s Guide to Suicide Prevention
image: the author and his shadow, cc 2015, creative commons usage