Let’s talk about depression. For real this time. (reblogged from Katherine Gilraine’s Blog)

Those of you visiting my blog will likely nod in agreement on just about every line of this brilliant account of what depression is like and what limitations it brings to the person suffering from it. And those who were lucky enough to never have to experience it, they should absolutely treat themselves to learning about the condition first before making any comments or worse: Wanting to “help” and give advice. Like with any other situation in life: It takes competence in order to arrive in a position of possibly helping someone else. To me, the only competence worth a shred with depression or any other “mental illness” (I prefer to call them “emotional illness”) is either first hand experience or lots and lots of empathy married to a detailed, expert-level understanding of the processes at work here along with the consequences they produce for the suffering individual. It all boils down to respect. While a person may be suffering from one or the other “mental” illness, does that mean they stop being a person deserving of a miniscule measure of respect all of a sudden? I don’t think so. And major kudos to Katherine Gilraine for writing this absolutely fantastic blog post, written from a firsthand, inside view of things. This needed to be said, yes, K.G. – thank you!

Let’s talk about depression. For real this time.

Improvisations on Reality

I think it’s time we sat down and talked about depression. Not just because Robin Williams’s death is bringing it forward, but because there’s entirely too much out there that is giving people the wrong idea about what it is and what it isn’t. And, having first-hand experience with it, I can’t not talk about it. 

Fair warning that a lot of this will get very personal. I’m writing this so you can learn this, and share with any Well-Meaning Wilma in your life that just plain doesn’t get it. I have had my own fight with it, and trust me when I say it’s not something I’ll soon forget. 

That and all those Well-Meaning Wilma people just plain piss me off because they do more damage than they realize.

What it is – and what it isn’t.

Depression isn’t a stretch of ‘the blues’. Let’s get that out of the…

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6 thoughts on “Let’s talk about depression. For real this time. (reblogged from Katherine Gilraine’s Blog)

  1. Hi friend,
    I feel angry and sad about this terrible loss too. Mostly because it probably didn’t HAVE to happen. Robin could have screamed for help at the top of his lungs, but he knew it wasn’t coming. He wasn’t stupid. Just imagine how much “treatment” and therapy this beautiful soul ALREADY had under his belt, imagine how much help he had been seeking (and who knows for how long) before he finally accepted the fact that–for him–help did not exist. Not legally.

    Social policies are killing so many of us (making survival impossible), yet we blame these deaths on “depression”. What a sick fucking distortion. My depression isn’t killing me, but the withholding of potentially helpful options is the current source of institutionalized violence that is pushing me to suicide.

    People can be maintained for DECADES on powerful drugs, such as opiates or dopamine agonists specifically aimed at D2 and D3, for instance, when nothing else proves helpful. Of course there are risks, but those can be minimized with various forms of structured support and responsible monitoring—just like with other powerful lifesaving drugs that would otherwise be lethal.

    The world will be seeing more and more of these tragedies because the baby boomers like me (who have been “maintained” on those so-called helpful drugs for 3 decades) are discovering that standard pharmaceuticals for depression eventually offer no benefits whatsoever. They are often costly and hard to access (for many of us) but we keep taking them because trying to withdraw frequently CAUSES the crippling, ongoing depression to turn into suicidal depression. Some “benefit”, huh?. We keep paying for and taking these horrible drugs, decade after decade, until we eventually realize that our aging brains no longer respond to any of the standard “treatments” that we can access.

    At that point, what the fuck else is there to do but to love oneself enough to bring an end to one’s suffering? It’s an act of sheer desperation but one that also requires enormous courage—and maybe even a lot of self love. When society leaves you only one option to care and to protect yourself—and that option is suicide—then it’s not REALLY so-called “suicide”. It’s just another form of state-sanctioned, state-mandated murder.

    I wish the families of beloved public figures who are murdered in this way could see through all the political distortions, and could find the courage to SPEAK OUT.

    Take care dear man. You are in my heart. ❤

    • I concur on what you say in regards to you and me, Ruby, the largely “invisible ones”. In his case though, I can’t be sure, whether or not there could have been more help. I seem to gravitate towards what you’re saying, i.e. he must have felt that he had already exhausted all available options – and possibly a long time ago. He probably wasn’t ready to endure that downward spiral with no hope for LASTING relief yet ANOTHER time… (it’s pretty obvious to me that his wife prior to his current one will have possibly left him for the same thing: Recurring depression. I had to make myself understand that this is too much to bear for anyone else, and this so from seeing some “friends” leave me on account of episodes of depression – former friends I should add.). I just can’t see, how social policies come into play for him, as money will likely not have been a problem. From where I’m standing, he could have also chosen to retire and vanish from public view. But maybe, maybe this exact thought was the one that frightened him so much that he saw no other way to reduce the anxiety coming with this idea that he felt forced to take his own life. I can only speculate here ….

      What keeps me going – and hopefully you, too?! – is stubborness. I simply refuse to let “them” win. Not yet. But there is no guarantee for making it this way. I might fold as well, if something else grave happens again – as has happened plenty of times in the past, on top of whatever ailment I’m doing my best to endure and battle, and trying to do wo with as much grace as humanly – or sometimes “super”humanly – possible…

      If this sounds like self-flattery: It is. And not only on my own behalf, but on behalf of you, the many more suffering without lots of media attention and “hoopla” when they fold and on behalf of those, who float carefree in their little bubbles of makeshift convenience of not wanting to really question the system in place. The system in place (ab)uses people, then casts them aside, when they don’t generate a large enough profit any longer. And it WELCOMES suicides as those who fold won’t have to be supported in any way, shape or form any longer. It’s a brutal world. And unfortunately everywhere on the planet. We gotta to hang on to those rare moments of real human connection, of real caring (and they do exist, as I was lucky to also find).

      • I shouldn’t speculate about another’s life, perhaps…for it’s impossible to know.

        I suppose my anger reflects my own experience of being assumed to be a “drug seeker”, which in many cases just means someone in extreme pain who needs relief. Pain is pain, to me, NOT two different bullshit categories of “real” physical pain and supposedly “not real” so-called “mental pain.” There are (very rare) competent shrinks who will prescribe outside the social policy box when all else fails, yet I don’t know how an individual finds one without being accused of drug seeking. And most of them probably wouldn’t dare prescribe controversial opiates, for instance, to a celebrity—a career ending move if anything should go wrong. Plus there are no protocols in place for such treatments, so we then observe very botched treatments from doctors who are working without appropriate support and guidance (and that’s what leads to death, as in other celebrity deaths we’ve heard about).

        When you know your options are between taking illegal drugs (dangerous to use on one’s own supervision), and/or going back to rehab (because *obviously* one is an “addict” looking for an “easier, softer way”), then even celebrities can be left in the cold.

        And yes, I hear you clearly about the abandonment. It’s hard for others (who are not surviving in pain, or who are also struggling with some pain) to stay supportive year after year when they feel so utterly powerless to help.

        I’m not fun to be around. With brief intermissions, the past year has been one long session of sitting on the couch (or hunching on the floor) crying and sobbing, hour after hour, day after day.I sleep maybe 16 hours a week, if that… I can’t contribute to relationships in ways that are socially valued when I’m in so much pain. Only one friend still comes around. I guess people assume there is “help” out there, if only I would go get it. Oh, there’s “help”—and I’ve already spent over a 100 grand in the past 30 years for that “help”. Brain lesions from early severe trauma don’t repair themselves through “therapeutic maneuvers.” Current “treatments” are shamefully limited to stuff that mostly doesn’t help (not in the long term).

        Sorry if I’m sounding contentious. We all have our distinct viewpoints…and for me this issue isn’t just about money but about social power. The medical industry is corrupted by capitalism through and through, and yet society looks to medicine (or “health care”) like its a god who can save us. Sometimes I slip into that illusion too.

        Anyway. Thanks for listening.

  2. Also, if I may state the obvious, my *knowledge* about other people’s options is mostly reasoned speculation. 🙂 And of course I’m not saying that wealth isn’t a huge (and unjust) advantage in terms of one’s options to access help.

    I’m hanging on by a thread these days, going downhill fast, and “making plans”, as they say.Trying to put things in order to leave a teeny bit less chaos behind. The whole topic of “treatment” is clearly a sore one for me.

    Probably there are some people who become “addicts” because they are thrill seekers or euphoria chasers…not that there’s anything wrong about that…but so many others are simply trying to reach out for a feeling of “more normalcy” that comes with a nervous system which is able to regulate emotional responses. It’s ironic that some addicts can (legally) get maintained on opiate agonists (subutex comes to mind?) although it’s not really their “addiction” that’s being treated, in my opinion. Supposedly, it’s their “cravings” being minimized. But “cravings” are just as likely to be called severe “depression” and/or “anxiety” when the context is different.Yes, I admit I have cravings every day—but not for “drugs” per se. My cravings are for a life with less pain. A life that allows me to leave my house, to feel pleasure, to be able to do regular, everyday stuff.

    Again, thanks for listening!

    • I feel you on every count, every level, Ruby. However, the LAST thing I’d concern my aching self with would be what other people think of me, call me, make of me. If a desperate wish for SOME relief means I become a drug seeker – to hell with them and their self-absorbed, self-righteous judgements!!! Are they kidding me? I couldn’t possibly give any spare, sore fuck I have left about that! Drug seeker, addict, my ass!!! When they’ve walked in your or my shoes for – say – a week, THEN we’re talking. But that never happens, so screw them all you can!

      As far as you “making plans” – I’m really heartbroken for you to hear this! (looks, who’s talking, I have those thoughts visiting me in droves as of late again, too). Can’t you derive some motivation to hang on from the idea of pissing in “their” delicious soup of self-righteousness for a bit longer? But I understand, unfortunately. I’m in a similar place of just being fed up with getting shunned, singled out, stigmatized, derided, passed over, bullied … for something that is not of my choosing and out of my control…. How many times can a person receive the message “You stink!” – and not eventually fold….?

      A hug does miracles. If I lived closer, we could do that instead of typing ourselves into a “self loathing” fest from all we’ve endured, right…? That’d be so much better and probably even effective….

      Other than that: Have you considered “shrooms”, in case you have access and the means to get them? Fuck the law. Just do it discretely and cross-check for potential intolerances or other physical risks with a physician first…. (on the other hand and off the record: If you’re at a stage of “making plans”… what have you got to lose…? Or me…?)

      • B.t.w. I said all the above from being in a very similar situation: The help I need I don’t get access to for financial melt-down and no way of generating extra to have it covered. I can only hope for you that you will muster another ounce of resilience and fighting back. Let’s not give them the triumph of winning!!!

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