Divorce, Single Parenting, Dating, Sex, & Self-Recovery

The Black Thread: Depression and Recovery from Depression

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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



image: the author and his shadow, cc 2015, creative commons usage

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