A kind of Update

I should have started looking after myself a lot sooner than this. It’s my own fault really. I have always spent too much time looking after and worrying about other people and never enough time giving the same attention or care to myself. As such, I really shouldn’t be surprised that I’ve reached the point I’m at now. Things get personal after the jump, if you don’t care to know I recommend not clicking.

Some of you know already. I’ve been trying to keep it kind of close, but maybe that isn’t healthy. This is what I am so I don’t suppose there’s truly any real point in trying to disguise it or hide it. A couple of weeks ago I was diagnosed with depression as well as panic anxiety disorder. It’s something I’ve been fighting for years. I’ve always felt I should just be able to tough it out, like I had no real right to feel the way I did. Which is of course one of the cruel tricks of the disease, it makes you blame yourself for it and that prevents you from seeking treatment.

Even now, realizing and understanding all this I still feel defeated for having gone to my doctor, like I wasn’t strong enough to overcome this on my own. In fact when I first spoke to my doctor I downplayed a lot of my symptoms out of embarrassment and shame. Things kind of came to a head for me yesterday, and today I saw my doctor again and laid the whole thing out for him.

As of now I’m on 2 weeks medical leave from work. I’m not sure what’s going to happen at the end of that. I’ve let my personal well being get so far out of hand I’m not at all sure of anything anymore. I’m going to try to spend this time getting myself into some semblance of order, but I doubt 2 weeks is truly sufficient for that. Still, it’ll be a start. I’ve talked to my mom about some coming changes in my life. It’s good to know my parents are behind me. I haven’t always felt like it, but again that’s the depression.

So, there I am.

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~ by Pagz on August 25, 2010.

7 Responses to “A kind of Update”

  1. Man, with that dramatic buildup I was afraid you were announcing some debilitating physical ailment or something! Consider yourself lucky you haven’t contracted leukemia (like my dad) or diabetes (like my boss), and instead have an emotional condition that can be treated — and even overcome — with relative ease… especially now that you’re facing the problem head-on. As action figures were fond of saying in ’80s PSAs, “knowing is half the battle.”

    Sounds like Geoffrey 3.1 has a lot of potential. ^_^

  2. Ted, with all due respect, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Depression has plagued me since I was 14 years old and it has been an incredibly hard battle to come to the place I’m at now, where I actually feel like I want to get up every morning, that life is worth living, and that maybe I am not a total failure as a human being.

    The worst part about depression is that people who have not been in its dark and lonely embrace constantly minimize the incredible suffering it can bring by saying things like “well at least it’s not physical” and “it’s all in your head”. It’s an invisible disease which not only robs the sufferer of a sense of dignity and self-worth, but also robs him of the sympathy and understanding of most of his friends, who can’t understand why he doesn’t just “get it together”.

    I have lost a great friend to suicide, and also the daughter of a friend, and a couple of times I almost lost myself. No one can ever tell me that depression is not a serious illness. It is and it has the trail of bodies and broken lives to prove it.

    Depression can be fought, yes, and the battle can be won, and Geoff has done the hardest part by coming to terms with the fact that he can’t do it on his own. That’s an act of incredible courage, even though when we first take that step we feel like a failure. He now has a battle in front of him which will not be easy, or quick, but with patience, faith and strength of will can be won.

    Sorry to go off on you Ted but I have encountered this attitude more times than I can count and I feel it needs to be challenged, because it is extremely unhelpful to the sufferer of depression.

    Good luck Geoff. I believe in you.

  3. PS – Ted, I know you were just trying to be supportive. And also, I am very sorry to hear about your dad.

    Erin

  4. Best of luck with the battle, Geoff!

    As someone who was once so depressed that I lay on the couch for 3 straight days staring at the ceiling and barely eating, I have a different perspective than Ted. Many of my family members – myself included – have suffered from depression and/or anxiety, so I have some connection to what you’re going through right now and I have to vehemently disagree with the idea that depression and anxiety are easy to treat. They’re not. There’s still so much we don’t know about the brain, so working with it can be a real challenge.

    There does seem to be this persistent idea that mental illness is somehow different and less serious than physical illness and that only weak people suffer from mental illness and I’m not sure where this comes from. When you compare depression with diabetes, both involve the body not making or using a chemical correctly. It’s just different chemical compounds and different organs. I hope that soon, as a society, we will be able to overcome the stigma associated with mental illness, because, as you’ve experienced, the shame and embarrasment caused by the stigma makes it even harder to seek help and get better.

  5. Don’t worry Ted. I know you’re being supportive.

  6. I’m sorry to hear about this;
    (I know you told me already, but unfortunately at the time I wasn’t really in a state to absorb anything properly)
    at least now that you know you can do something about it.

    I’m actually planning on going back into treatment for my depression, and hopefully it will work.

    I wish you luck with however you decide to go about your problems as well, and hopefully you’ll respond to treatment better than I have.

  7. Looks like you’ve got more sympathetic friends than you may have realized, my friend!

    I certainly don’t mean to make light of anyone’s struggle with depression, but Geoff and I have a lot in common; I know he’s a different guy when he’s in a healthy relationship, and that a lot of his current struggles stem from loneliness. He and I share the same dependency, I’m sorry to say… and it’s not just a chemical imbalance! Our sense of self-worth is largely defined by who we may be sleeping with at any given time; it’s a chronic condition among geeks.

    Which is not to simply say that a girlfriend is the answer, but I bet it would do more good than any counseling or medicine…

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