Sunday, June 29, 2008

Depression

Ok, lurkers, here's the deal. I really need you to respond to my blog entries, either by online comment, separate email to me, or call me up. My sitemeter lets me know how many "visits" to my blog appear every day and week. So I know a bunch of you are reading it.

This past week was hell for me. My depression reared it's ugly head bigtime, and it's all I can do to get out of bed in the morning (thank you Bindi). I know the things I'm SUPPOSED to do when I feel this way, but if any of you have experienced moderate to severe depression, you know that when you are in this state doing anything except sitting slumped in front of the television is about all that can be accomplished. I can't reach out. I can't get myself to go to the garden. I can't exercise. I can't eat right. I'm even too frightened to cry by myself, have to do it with the shrink or the therapist, or someone else who happens to be handy. And no one is handy. All of my best friends live far away or are dealing with their own pain and struggles and business.

It's unbelievably frustrating when people I know ask me how I am and I say, "I'm not doing well." And then they say, "Oh, what's wrong?" What's wrong??? Where have you been?? Do you really not know what is going on with me, or if so, do you think I should be "over it?"

I know, I know, most of us are not skilled when we have a friend who is depressed. We don't know what to do, or the depression is so frightening, we want to avoid that friend. If you don't know how to respond, perhaps you could ask someone who does know how to respond to help you out. I've often had to instruct my friends on what I need, "train" them if you will.

Again, a list of the "challenges" (i hate that word) before me:

1. I have cancer. On July 7 I start six weeks of daily radiation treatment, my head immobilized inside a mesh cage. I get claustrophobic. My tongue is still easily irritated, I can't chew very well, and a chunk is missing.

2. I had to give up my job of 25 years on June 12, and while I thought that I would make it to a retirement with dignity at the end of next year, I just get letters in the mail saying my job is terminated. I was going to have a big retirement party, I was going to feel a real sense of accomplishment and service, I was going to be honored. Instead, I was pushed out of the job prematurely under great duress, and ignored by many of the people I've worked with for decades. For someone who was referred to over the years by countless faculty and students as "the heart and soul of Women's Studies," this dismissal has left me with much grief and

3. PTSD. If you don't know what that entails, google it.

4. I will have no paycheck after July 3. I have applied for disability benefits, but I do not know when or if that will go through. I feel financially insecure.

5. Two of my very best friends are leaving the area on July 11. They have been/are so special to me, that not having them in my daily life hurts terribly. I am so sad about this.

6. My knees are still bad. I use a cane most of the time now, and it's even a chore to walk my sweet dog.

7. My car is dying. I feel so heavy and slow most of the time, that shopping for one and making the decision feels like too much. I am literally buying time by putting more money into this 18 year old Corolla until my energy is such that I can do the car buying task.


If you respond to this, if you care about me, please know that one response every six months isn't enough. If you respond to this, know that what I fear most is feeling alone and unsupported. I've lived in this area for 40 years, and still do not have a sustaining community. I have friends and lots of acquaintances, but my idea of community is not something that exists for me. And I know that it is not just me. I have heard many people around here complain of the same thing, which is why I badly need to get out of the northeast.

I apologize for such a deeply personal entry, and I hope I have not offended anyone. This is just my awkward way of letting you know I need help, and that, until I let you know differently, I am not doing well.

3 comments:

kim said...

Don't apologize for a very personal entry - would that more people would be so real with their friends and family. I am sorry about how your job was terminated, I had meant to ask and got sidetracked with the everglades pictures, I didn't realize it ended so awfully after hanging on for so long. :-(

I know what you mean about knowing the 'right' things to do and finding that depression saps your ability to do them, it seems an unfair catch-22 that the time you most need to do things for your health are the times they're impossible to do.

I know we're a long way away but we love you and are praying for you and are always here for you!!!

Anonymous said...

Sorry, wish I had wise words. You have done the most difficult part for me -- admitting I cannot pull myself up by my own boot straps!

Tears seem to release some of the pain. I remember feeling I had failed a friend when all I could do was cry with her -- later she said I was the only one who cried with her.
Donna

Anonymous said...

sweetie, i'm so sorry, i've had some very bad days and i only saw your entry today...
THIS STINKS! i wish i were there to give you a big hug and Bindi, a big massage (one of those that make her sleepy)!
it sounds like you need a break from all these worries, and you need someone to do the worrying for you, and manage the car and the house and everything else...
it also sounds like you'd be better off living in Florida, you sounded so happy when you were there! but i can't possibly imagine the trauma of having to relocate when you're ill and depressed...oh, sweetie, i really wish i were there...
snail mail coming your way:) but it might take ages, the Romanian postal system being what it is! (they're still opening envelopes to steal stuff from letters, alhtough it's obviously illegal...don't get me started!:(
i miss our chats about everything, i miss you suddenly asking me "why is that?" with that serious but non-judgmental (never judgmental!) look, and i miss what was my workplace for only nine months...i miss the people and the smells and the sounds, so i don't need to look up PTSD to have the vaguest inkling of what enormous pain you must be going through, if my own insignificantly short time there produced such painful after-effects!
oh, and i also miss that spelling of tomboy right by your desk:)
and here's a song for you, from one of my alltime favorite movies, the Beatles musical Across the Universe. here's a totally new rendition of I Wanna Hold Your Hand (and i do!)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D92Lyxj7U7Q

lots and lots of love
xxxxxxxxx
mihaela