"Success is not measured by what you accomplish but the opposition you have encountered and the courage
with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds."

Orison Swett Marden

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Last week at the zoo

Haven't stopped by my zoo for about a week or so, so I thought I'd better come and check the cages. :) Been a busy week for me...dealt with some "poop" in a cage again. I've been busy going to my day hospital treatment (PHP--Partial Hospitalization Program) every day and just trying to cope. You know how there is always that one person in a crowd that just makes things more difficult for you? Well, I've definitely got one. I just walked out one day I couldn't stand her anymore. Turns out I'm not the only one who she drives crazy so that made me feel a little better.


I was thinking about my depression tonight and thought it would be good to give you some information on what clinical depression is. This list of symptoms comes from the Mental Health Association of America.

Symptoms of Clinical Depression:
•Persistent sad, anxious or "empty" mood
•Sleeping too much or too little, middle of the night or early morning waking
•Reduced appetite and weight loss, or increased appetite and weight gain
•Loss of pleasure and interest in activities once enjoyed, including sex
•Restlessness, irritability
•Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment (such as chronic pain or digestive disorders)
•Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions
•Fatigue or loss of energy
•Feeling guilty, hopeless or worthless
•Thoughts of suicide or death

If you have five or more of these symptoms for two weeks or more, you could have clinical depression and should see your doctor or a qualified mental health professional for help.

To see the complete fact sheet, visit http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/go/information/get-info/depression/depression-what-you-need-to-know/depression-what-you-need-to-know . WebMD also has some good information. http://www.webmd.com/depression/default.htm is another resource for you to learn more about depression and what can be done for it.

For me, that short list above is pretty inclusive. I deal with most of them on a regular basis when my depression is acting up. What's hard is when a person with depression runs into someone who has a "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" attitude. Sure, there are times in everyone's life when things aren't going our way and maybe we feel a little sorry for ourselves and we just need to get over it and keep living. But that's not depression. With depression, you don't even have bootstraps to pull up. Those symptoms listed above sap everything out of you, and with some people it even saps the will to live out of them, much less leave them with the strength to just "get over it."

In the "biography" I started with my first post, I left off at the summer after high school. If you recall, I overdosed on my antidepressant and ended up in ICU. I'm sure you've figured out by now that I did end up making it. I spent about six weeks on the hospital psychiatric floor. I started seeing one psychiatrist but shortly after I went under the care of a new one. His name was Dr. Gaughan (just like "gone"). He was great. I saw him for about a year--that was freshman year in college. The sexual abuse and a lot of other "stuff" was buried deep down so that didn't come out at all. Therapy was mostly about coping and living my life day to day. July 1983, I opted to quit seeing him.

My life changed a lot after that. I met a man who I thought would be there for the rest of my life. We were very close, even though I had some trouble committing at first. I didn't realize the seriousness of what happened to me, but it was still brewing underneath. To make a long story short, which I can seldom do ;), as I got closer to this man, the more the emotions and turmoil came to the surface regarding the abuse I endured. And it was noticeable. Even to my boyfriend. So, I went back to seeing Dr. Gaughan in June 1984. That is when we started talking about my abuser a little bit. At my last appointment in December I told him I was going to quit coming. Looking back, I think I was subconsciously scared to death. We were getting closer to things that I didn't really want to talk about, feel or admit about the abuse.

During this time I was also making some changes in my school goals and spent some time with a career counselor at the college. As we talked, my depression came up and he told me about a Depression Management Group that would probably be a good fit for me. Well, it was. We met weekly...just a small group. What was most helpful was that in April I fell apart (I was "single" again by this time). My counselor called Dr. Gaughan's office for me and relayed my situation...extremely depressed, suicidal, hopeless, and overwhelmed with it all. Dr. Gaughan ended up calling me back and I seem to remember talking with him for over an hour. We finally decided it would be best if I checked myself into the hospital.

Initially, Dr. Gaughan did not put me on medication, but after about three weeks or so, he felt I should be getting better. He thought my symptoms were purely related to the breakup of the relationship with this man but if that were the case, I would be getting better. He placed me on a medication and we waited for it to take effect.

Well, that brings us up to May 1985. '85 is what I call "The Year From Hell" so that gives you an idea of what is to come. Enough for tonight.

So, what is to come this week? I'll start PHP again tomorrow and we'll see what happens. I finally started my Wii fitness the other day so my goal for the week is to keep that up and then I’ll be keeping an eye on all of my “cages” to see they stay relatively clean! Here’s to a good week to you also. :)

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