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Friday, August 24, 2007

Fight the Black Dog #5

Fight the Black Dog #5: Lets all get talking!

In this weeks edition of “Fight the Black Dog” you will find the following:

1 – Lets all get talking!

2 – how to contact me and/or show your support

3 – a brief disclaimer

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1 – Lets all get talking!

I started this campaign to get people talking about depression, yet, I must admit that I have been rather remiss with the talking about it myself in recent weeks. Why is depression and mental illness so hard to talk about? I have a couple of theories about this.

The reason I haven’t posted any newsletters recently is because I have been having quite a good run. Quite obviously I have managed to achieve a balance between my lifestyle and happy pills that has resulted in me barely thinking about the condition of late. Some days, I have been feeling so good that I have forgotten to take the happy pills.

When you are feeling good, you hate to admit that you have ever had the bad days. Thinking of what you were, until recently, completely incapable off, can put you at the tip of a slippery slope. That small, teeny, negative thought you have been so hopeless niggles at the back of your mind. Much better to ignore it and pretend nothing was wrong… right???

Of course, on the flip side there are the extreme lows. The days when you are so bad that you do not have the energy to deal with things. The days you cannot talk to anybody about anything, let alone how you feel. The days when you are incapable of getting out of bed. The days when you just want to fall asleep and never wake up because you’re not going to accomplish anything anyway. I have had these too, but not for several months now.

And sometimes… you can experience complete apathy. Meh. It not that you can’t do anything; it’s just that you don’t see the point. Why would you even bother talking about it? I was wavering about this type of depression when I started ‘fight the black dog’ Fridays. I had absolutely no motivation. It was all so blaaaah…

The last appointment I had with my Dr (a few weeks back) he asked me why I was doing so well (apart from the fact that we have played around with the happy pills). I am still awaiting to see a psych – but I think that just being able to talk about some of what I have gone through by posting here, has helped me quite a bit.

‘Fight the black dog’ has provided me with motivation – talking about depression was hard, but it appears, from the feedback I have had so far, that knowing that you are not alone can help. Sometimes there are reasons for depression, and sometime there are not. Not having to justify why you are feeling the way you are also helps. Feeling that I didn’t deserve to indulge in an illness such as ‘depression’ because I didn’t have a terrible childhood, or hadn’t been verbally or physically abused made me feel ashamed that I was suffereing such an illness, and perhaps it wasn’t real and all I needed to do was ‘cheer-up’ like everyone kept telling me to do. I understand a helluva lot more about the illness now, and I want to talk about it to help other people understand more as well.

Please do continue to talk about this on your blogs, or emailing me. If you are having trouble talking because of the reasons I mentioned above, or even some other reasons, please feel free to email me anonymously on ginger_nut(at)bigpond(dot)com – if it helps, write it all in third person. I’ll try to get back to anyone that emails personally.

2 – how to contact me and/or show your support

if you would like to contact me, you can do so at ginger_nut(at)bigpond(dot)com – if you are sending me a story of your particular battle, please try to include whether or not you want me to include your details. I received some emails from anonymous email addresses, and that is fine as well. I’ll include those stories later one.

I was happy that people have posted about depression on their own blogs, as well as sharing the button I created. If you would like to show support with the button you’ll find details of how to create the link via the first weeks post.

Finally, a big thank you to everyone who has mentioned my campaign on their blogs, podcasts or web-zines – I have tried to visit everyone who left a comment, and if you look at my sidebar you will see my bloglines list has grown quite a bit. If I have missed you, please leave a comment or send an email.

3 – a brief disclaimer

I need to point out that I am in no way an expert or professional in the field of mental health – everything I share with you here derived from my own personal experience and treatment in conjunction with ‘self-education’ from wanting to know more about this condition. I have started this campaign to raise awareness of Depression and mental illness and to help support others who are affected by this (whether directly suffering or knowing others who suffer) If you are in need of help, please contact your doctor and speak to those in your family and circle of friends.

Cheers,

Ginger_nut aka Meg

4 comments:

Emma in France said...

The passivity thing seems to be my biggest problem at the moment. It holds me back from blogging and replying to blog comments.

Otherwise I am slowly becoming more functional but it has taken almost two years of monthly appointments with a psychiatrist to get this far.

I have lost at least five years to being at the bottom of the deep dark hole that is severe depression. Along with that time, I have lost the joy of being able to take a full part in family life, self-confidence and self-esteem and the esteem of those around me, not just family members and friends but (now former) work colleagues.

Before I came to France (from the UK), I did receive some treatment but it was only ever at the minimum dose and I feel it did more harm than good as it made me feel as if I should be doing more (rather than not caring) but I failed to be able to do more.

Jejune said...

Great post, Meg, sorry I haven't replied sooner - been in my own hole of utter exhaustion... Yeah, it's tough. You start to think that maybe the meds aren't really necessary, so you go off them, and then - damn it, actually, you DID need them. I hate the feeling of having to depend on medication to help me cope, every damn day. My anti-depressants are mainly to help me sleep (for fibromyalgia), but they're still anti-depressants. They do help me cope, though.

Glad you're in a better place at the moment, long may it continue :)

Laura Sue said...

Hi. I'm here via David Demchuk. This is a great effort you are making here. The hating of medication, the difficulty acknowledging that you have something that you have to take medicine for--maybe for the rest of your life--is hard for everyone with chronic illness of any kind. A friend of mine had to go through his own stages of grieving when he was diagnosed with type I Diabetes. With depression there is that extra kick, though, that somehow we SHOULD be able to lick this on our own. I'd never tell my dog, who has seizures, that he should be strong enough to control his seizures without his daily meds, but I sure try to tell myself that I ought to be able to do this "on my own." Like there is some moral judgment on mental illness that there isn't on physical illness. Health=virtue or some such. It's hard. But when I finally went on medication 14 years ago I can remember so clearly that day when it kicked in. It was as though I had been living in the middle of clouds for 40 years and suddenly the sun came out. I remember that moment and I ask myself if I really want to live in that fog again. I usually stick with the meds, thank you very much. It just seems like the kinder thing to do. I'd do it for my dog.

Anonymous said...

wow, this is great. I am all for raising awareness of depression & mostly getting people talking about it. That's the only way to silence the misconceptions and rebel against the taboo it has become. I was diagnosed with clinical depression 8 years ago and have been on some form of anti-depressants ever since. Being creative - sewing, knitting, etc. - allows me to deal with my emotions in a healthy, beautiful way and let's me feel like I've accomplished something even when I barely have the energy to shower.

Keep on telling your story.

Jenny