Posts Tagged ‘Undoing Depression’

undoing-depressionPeople get good at depression—they over adapt and develop skills that, at best, just keep them going, and often make things worse.” “Undoing Depression; What Therapy Doesn’t Teach You and Medication Can’t Give You,” by Richard O’Connor, Ph.D.

 I have gotten very good at depression. It’s what I do best. But at the same time, I have spent a lifetime trying to, if not eradicate it, live with it. And I mean live, not cope. But I am beginning to believe that all of those therapy sessions and all of those prescription drugs lined up along the bathroom sink, keep me in the thick of it.

It was obvious to me just a few weeks ago as I stood in an interminably long line at Walgreens waiting for a refill, that the mere act of standing in that queue and the whole process of handing over my insurance card in exchange for an orange bottle with a child safety cap on it, is not only a reminder that I am ill, but a reinforcement of it. And then there is the daily act of ingesting the pills, when I remember to, and the berating of myself when I forget. Each act, each swallow of pink, or yellow, or blue capsule or caplet is a reminder that there is something wrong with me. These are followed by weekly conversations with a psychiatrist as we attempt to analyze their degree of success or failure, while at the same time brainstorming on possible other toxic cocktails from GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lily, and Bristol-Myers Squibb to try.

The whole prospect terrifies me. What if I’m wrong? What if my mind, or my brain, no matter how resilient, no matter how elastic, isn’t capable of overriding both the chemical imbalance I was born with and the psychological dynamics I’ve learned and incorporated into my life? In the past few years, as I increased my efforts to limit the disease’s impact on my life, I have become acutely aware of how my mind works. It’s fascinating and terrifying to observe. Euphoric and grandiose one minute, depressed and insecure the next.

And now I wonder, can I observe it impartially? Can I watch it like a YouTube clip? Can I simply observe the switch from happy to sad and at the same time resist the temptation to let those feelings over-take me? Is there some mantra I can murmur to myself over and over again that will keep me in the here and now, that will keep me in some in-between state, neither giddy nor gaunt?

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