I would like to thank Oprah. com and Sunny Sea Gold’s article “The Surprising Discovery That Could Help People Suffering From Depression” for sharing the story, which ultimately has led to saving my life.
I have been born with a condition. Clinical Mild Depression. I was diagnosed in 1999, after years of being ok with staying in bed for days, much loss of relationships and much trouble in school. I knew something was wrong. I went to a psychiatrist. Thus began almost 20 years of trial and error, medications galore, diets, meditations, aromatherapies, seeking any kind of regimen to cure this depression, this mental prison.
The best way I could describe it, is from Jordan Peele’s brilliant film “Get Out,” where through hypnosis, the main character Chris gets sent to a Sunken Place. You know you’re alive, you know you’re there but you only get but a window to the outside world, and the rest of the mind controls you. It was like being asleep, but bits of the real me would come out here and there. The rest was dead, asleep, raw emotion, scary, depressed. I wouldn’t need some kind of a flash for me to come out as bright lights would trigger those in the movie in the Sunken Place to come to sporadic but brief moments of conscience, I just did sometimes. It was long enough for some others to see, and fall in love with me anyway. Some stuck around because they saw the real me and admired the core, the good that seeped out. Others didn’t. I don’t blame those that didn’t. It must have been awful to have been around a ticking time bomb, one that was depressed for no reason, whose emotions ranged from the life of the party, then Debbie Downer, or just a plain monster. I would have been scared of me.
This disease would be with me throughout my high school years, college years, and the first decade of my work career. I’ve been fired from many jobs, my current one saw my core and kept me on no matter how many times I screwed. I didn’t listen. Not on purpose, my brain just didn’t process. “You weren’t the better secretary, you were the more likable one,” somehow somewhere I was likable. Could you imagine that? Sarcasm and inappropriate shocking behavior were how I got through life. Some were offended, some liked it. I always managed to find people who liked it.
But still something was wrong. I found Prozac to be the closest I could get to normalcy, but still wasn’t completely there. I knew it wasn’t normal to want to jump off the Empire State Building after being rejected after a second date. I still couldn’t control that wave of emotion that kept me on the floor for hours, which woke me from my stomach at all hours of the night with unexplained anxiety. I knew it. I just couldn’t fix it. And my depression, didn’t really let me try all that hard.
I tried to find my own ways to relieve my anxiety and be alive. I dabbled in cocaine. Ironically, it was my depression that saved me from this addiction. As good a high as it was, the depression in the days that followed was more than I could bear and it shied me away from the drug forever. I then turned to the bottle. Not as potent but that buzz would give me the confidence I needed, first in social situations, then if I had a hard day, then….just as much as I possibly could.
It would be a decade of slow progressive alcoholism, which would eventually send me to outpatient rehab. I looked like a homeless person. I didn’t wear makeup or comb my hair, and some of my clothes had holes in it. After many embarrassing episodes I agreed to finally go, that I had a problem, and that second disease would subside.
This did not solve my depression. But something else did.