Depression

(The article below is by Dr. Keith Ablow.  I did not write it.)

Robin Williams, a comic genius and one of the great storytellers of our time, apparently chose to end his life because he could not see the next chapter of his own story as containing anything other than unbearable psychological pain.

Such is the power of depression – an affliction which is almost unimaginable to those who have not suffered with it — to twist the truth into something unrecognizable. For the truth is that there were many new and wonderful pages awaiting Robin Williams; he just couldn’t imagine them. He couldn’t believe the darkness would ever end.

Depression is the grand imposter — posing as all powerful.  It can be defeated, every time, if you or the person you care about confronts it like the grand imposter that it is.

Depression is always, to an extent, a psychotic illness. It steals reality — which is, in large measure, defined by the completely justifiable hope in tomorrow’s possibilities — and replaces it with a world in which one doubts his or her abilities, discounts to zero his or her past successes, doubts love, doubts friendship and doubts God.

In its worst forms, it is much more than profound sadness; it is the conviction that nothing good will ever occur, sometimes coupled with horrific and constant anxiety that something unspeakably terrible is about to happen–in a minute, or this very night, or tomorrow.

If life is, for all of us, a labyrinth, with sometimes frustrating twists and turns on the way to the center, depression makes life seem, instead, like a never-ending and inescapable maze, with dead ends, frustrations and traps in every direction.

This scourge affected 17 – 20 million adults in the last year alone. Suicide is epidemic now. And our mental health care system is in ruins, so unable to respond that cities are spending tens of millions to build safety nets under their bridges to catch those who attempt to jump to their deaths.

I have treated a billionaire who was convinced, with no basis, whatsoever, that his investments were all crumbling and that he was about to be bankrupt.

I have treated an actor who believed that he had ruined his marriage forever by a prior indiscretion and should do the right thing and kill himself, when his marriage remained as strong as ever, despite the lapse.

I have treated a college student who could not leave her room, then not even the bed, so paralyzing was her low energy, coupled with fear.

I have now treated a few thousand people with depression. I have lost not a single one to suicide while under my care.

If this is more than luck, it is because I fear my enemy.  I know depression is every bit as painful as cancer (which studies have proven) and every bit as stealthy. I don’t dance with it or coddle it; I let myself despise it and wage war against it — like the malignancy it is.

When depression won’t yield to psychotherapy, which is designed to uncover the unresolved traumas or hidden truths that can fuel it, I deploy medicines — including, when necessary, Ketamine infusions and even, in rare cases, opiates like oxycodone.  I have used methadone to blunt it, too.  When psychotherapy and medications don’t work, I add new technologies, including repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS and deep rTMS) and, rarely, ECT (electroconvulsive therapy).

I am not proud; if I need help I ask a colleague to consult.

I always — every single time — wonder whether suicidal thinking might defeat me and my patient and I will hospitalize a patient, with or without his or her consent, and without apology, if I think there is any chance that I am dealing with a potentially fatal case.

I utterly refuse to give up and will deploy any and every tool at my disposal to win, because I know that every, single case of major depression is a puzzle that can potentially be solved.  Every one of them.  No exception.  Period.

Today — at this very instant — many thousands of people around the world are suffering with major depression and convinced that their best path is to end their excrutiatingly painful lives. That is never, ever true. It is a fixed and false belief created by the illness itself, like an emotional virus that fools the psychological immune system into surrendering.

Depression is the grand imposter — posing as all powerful.  It can be defeated, every time, if you or the person you care about confronts it like the grand imposter that it is. Tell yourself that, if depression is visiting you.  Tell any friend with depression.  Tell your family members who suffer with it.  It is absolutely true.  I promise you.

Dr. Keith Ablow is a psychiatrist and member of the Fox News Medical A-Team. Dr. Ablow can be reached at info@keithablow.com.

(Link to original article.)

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“It could be worse…”

“It could be worse…”

When you are feeling down and someone says this to you, do you feel better?

Or do you feel insane?  Frustrated?  Angry?   (fill in the blank) ?

I’d really like to know.

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clutter, anyone???

Do any of you struggle with too much clutter?  Too much stuff?

Can anyone tell me why I can have a box (or multiple boxes) full of stuff that I will not think about for months, or even years, and yet, when I open the box, I can’t get rid of it?

Why is that?

Does anybody have any thoughts or ideas?

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angry and frustrated

I feel angry and frustrated.

I felt that way even before I came home.

When I was at the gym after work, I was thinking about my marriage and how I wished I could just go home and be held.

Of course, it doesn’t quite work that way around here and I started to feel angry and frustrated about it.

Angry – because it has gone on for so long, because it has been such a waste of time and energy.

And frustrated – because it has gone on for so long.  Yes, I just repeated myself.  And frustrated because I don’t feel like I can leave yet.  And yet, every day that I haven’t left is another day that I haven’t left.

When I got home, my husband wasn’t here.  Good.

My older daughter is home for a few days, so it was nice to see her along with my younger daughter when I got home.  They arrived home last night.

I had made dinner in the crock pot so it was ready.

We were getting our food and my oldest one sat down at the table to wait for the other two of us.  My younger daughter got food, but didn’t want to sit and eat with us.   She said that she felt guilty about not wanting to sit with her two favorite people in the world, but that she was afraid that the small talk would make her angry.  So she elected to go into her room to watch a movie.

I sat down with my older daughter …  and my husband came home.

So my older daughter went to watch the movie with my younger daughter.

Then I felt even more angry and frustrated.  Too angry and frustrated.

Maybe you are asking why I didn’t go watch the movie, too.

I’m not sure.  Maybe it is kind of like my younger daughter saying that she was afraid the small talk would make her mad.  I would sit there with them and watch a movie I’d seen before.   It’s not that I wouldn’t mind seeing the movie again, but I know I would find myself resenting the whole situation.

My husband had already eaten; I think he didn’t like what I made for dinner.  He said he had to leave again.

By this time, my daughters were into the movie, so I ate by myself, and then stuffed down my feelings with a bowl of ice cream.

I can’t even process all that I am thinking and feeling right now.  This post is a feeble attempt to somehow let off a little steam so I don’t completely explode.

And now I will work on my homework for my class and tell myself that somehow some way, things won’t always be like this.

My husband will be gone off and on most of the week-end so hopefully I’ll get to spend more time with my daughters without him here.

Maybe this post doesn’t make a lot of sense.  I don’t know.  It just is what it is.

“I wish I could just go home and be held.”

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enough?

He gave me grocery money.

He made dinner.

He brought in the groceries when I came home.

He bought a fan book for me that he thought I would like about my favorite TV show.

He offered to put liniment on my sore ankle for me?

Why can’t this be enough?

I was asking myself this – why can’t this be enough – when the following took place.

A little background….

He signed up for a free trial of Amazon Prime because he wanted to watch a movie for free.

I have wanted to buy “The Grief Recovery Handbook” for my older daughter.  (I already gave a copy to my younger daughter.)

Since he had free shipping with Amazon Prime, I asked him to order the book for me.

My older daughter, who lives in another state, will be here tomorrow and the book arrived today.  This is exactly what I wanted to happen – I could give it to her while she was here and I wouldn’t have to pay to ship it to her.  (Not that that would be terrible, but if I can save a few dollars….)

Only the book arrived bent, creased.  Since it is supposed to be a new book that we are paying for from Amazon, I would expect that it would look like a new book and not a tattered used book.

I asked him if we could order another copy tonight – the idea being that the book would arrive in 2 – 3 days and I could still give it to my daughter before she went home.  And then we could return the creased book in a separate transaction.

Well, he did the paperwork with Amazon for me to ship back the creased book.

But he didn’t order a new book from Amazon using Amazon Prime, where we would get free 2 day shipping.

He ordered a new book from another seller on Amazon – and not the 2-day shipping.

While I was trying to explain what I wanted, because obviously he had not understood what I wanted the first time I said it, he pushed the “buy” button so it didn’t really matter what I was trying to explain to him.

Okay – so maybe the book will get here in time.  Maybe it will be in lovely condition.  Maybe everything will all work out fine and dandy.

But, in the meantime, I am left feeling “not heard” by my husband, left feeling crazy that I would want to be heard.

And that is why the kind actions are not enough.

There isn’t the heart behind the actions to hear and understand and give what I am asking for.

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random stuff…

Today is my 27th wedding anniversary.

I didn’t want this to come.  But it did.

My daughter who lives at home is visiting my daughter who lives in another state.

He is gone today.  That’s fine.  That’s super!  He invited me to come with him, but I declined.  We will go out to dinner tonight.  I guess it will be okay.  I don’t really care.

I’ve had the house all to myself today.  I like that breathing room.  I wish it could happen more often.

Yesterday the roof leaked.  The tarp that has been on the roof for about four years now has gradually been blown away from the leak that it is covering.  I didn’t know the roof had leaked until I got into bed and the sheets were wet.

During the night, I woke up, moved my hand, and my pillowcase ripped.  At first, I laughed.  You know, the one-more-thing-so-you-might-as-well-laugh laugh.

But then I cried.

The roof.  The pillowcase.  The marriage.

All torn.

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hair cut…

I’ve had a stressful week and I have two more days to go.

Part of my job includes working for the Compliance department.   Our company will be having a scheduled government audit in a couple of weeks, so the Compliance department is working like crazy to be sure that absolutely everything is in order.  This is VERY time consuming and intensive.

I’m a part of this process and it has been stressful this week.  It is work that I can and I do it fairly well, but it is not work that I enjoy or that feeds my soul at all.  Plus, there is the time deadline.  So, it’s been stressful.

I’m also taking an instructor-led online class.  This class, too, is pretty intensive.  There are weekly assignments and even though the topic is related to the company I work for, it is a topic that I don’t know a lot about and, honestly, don’t care a lot about.  I do like learning, though, and the class has been good, but it is “just one more thing.”

Because of being so wrapped up with Compliance stuff to be ready for the audit, I didn’t pay attention to my assignment this week.  Well, the assignment for this week is the mid-term!!!!  I only have today and tomorrow to get the test taken and I haven’t prepared for it at all.  Oh, and I have to take a practice mid-term, too, before the course will let me take the mid-term.

Can you say, adding to the stress level????

Last night was when I discovered that I had only two days left to get the mid-term done.  I told my husband this.  I told him about the stress of work.

This morning when he left, he gave me a hug and told me that he hoped my day wouldn’t be too stressful.  Which was kind, but I was thinking, yeah, right.  I’m so tired – mostly emotionally, but physically, too.  I have this crazy compliance stuff to do, and then the mid-term.

Then he said some silly thing about calling the company president and telling him that it wasn’t fair that I was stressed.  I told him the company president had nothing to do with it, that it was government compliance.  So then he said that he would call President Obama and tell him that it wasn’t fair that I was stressed.  Whatever.

He went in the other room, but then he came back and said, do you think you could find it in the kindness of your heart to give me a hair-cut tonight?   I told him that it was doubtful, but that I would let him know.

Really?  What part of “stressful week” do you not understand?????

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thinking about “rough morning”

There is something I’ve been thinking about from the conversation Thursday morning. When he told me that he wanted sex and asked what he had to do to get sex and said, fix the roof, fix the floors, buy cars for our daughters, it was like saying, if he spent enough money, would I have sex with him.

Could he pay me to have sex?

Is that what he was saying?  That is what I have ended up feeling like.  “I do something for you, you do something for me.”

To me, that is NOT what sex is.

Sex, rather, making love, is a loving expression of the whole relationship, a loving, a caring, a sharing, a giving of oneself, an enjoyment of the other.

Yes, we have a physical need for sex, built of hormones – and, believe me, I have plenty of hormones!  But if I just wanted sex, or wanted money and was willing to trade sex for money, I am sure there are plenty of men on any street corner who would gladly oblige me.

(Even the Fed Ex delivery man was hitting on me this week.)

What I want is the relationship to go along with the love making.  It’s a whole package.  And it is not contingent upon someone laying out the money to fix the roof.  I think I could live in a shack if I truly felt loved and valued.

What “WritesinPJ’s” commented (“What he didn’t seem to do was feel or express or reflect empathy.”) is absolute right.  There was no empathy.  I tried to tell him about my pain but it did not seem to even register.

And how do you explain anything to someone who has no empathy?  How do you have relationship with someone who has no empathy?  There can’t even be a starting place to improve the relationship.  Yes, maybe I could be a “better wife” – I DO have empathy, maybe too much empathy at times – but if he has no clue about my pain, how can he have any kind of response to that pain?

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two outta three…

“I wanted to wash the dishes for you before you got home, but I didn’t have time because of going to Wal-Mart [for himself] and picking blueberries [for himself and his mom].”

 

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rough morning, rough day

This morning, my husband and I talked for a long time. (I was forty-five minutes late to work.)

We’ve been going to different churches for several months now and he thinks I should go to the same church that he does.  So he was telling me all the reasons why I should go to his church.

I told him that I don’t feel led by God to go to the church that he goes to.  I told him, too, that I feel like such a hypocrite to sit beside him in church as a couple when our marriage is nothing, meaningless, non-existent.

He told me that wives should accept their husbands if the husbands are basically decent men.  He said that no one is perfect and that wives shouldn’t expect their husbands to be perfect.

He said that I should accept him.

I told him that I struggled with this because for fifteen years now, I haven’t been able to have sex with him without crying, that my daughters don’t have a daddy.

He said he didn’t know about the sex [as in, he didn't have an answer as to why sex makes me cry] and he said that I had decided that he wasn’t good enough so our daughters followed me and decided that he wasn’t good enough, too.

I told him that he wasn’t involved with his daughters.  He said that he was, that it was wrong for me to say that he wasn’t a daddy to them.

He said that he tries very hard to be a good husband for me, that I have decided that since he is not perfect, then he is not good enough.

I told him that I don’t feel loved and treasured and taken care of.   I told him that part of that was my own wounds, but that part of that also was that the marriage was empty.

He said that he wanted us to do things together.  I told him that even when we are “together” that we are still not connected, that it is an emotional thing and it is not there.

Then he brought up our anniversary (Aug. 2) and asked me what I wanted to do.  He said that we could go out to dinner or go to the mountains or the beach for a couple of days.

At first I told him that I didn’t know, but then I asked him if he had not heard all the things I had said about the way I felt about our marriage, the emptiness, the pain.

He said he did hear, but that last year he made me dinner for our anniversary but he didn’t say anything about our anniversary and I got upset.  So this year, he wanted to say something so I wouldn’t get upset.

I told him that I would think about it and I told him thank you for bringing up our anniversary and not ignoring it.

Finally I asked him if there was anything else he wanted to talk about.

He said that he wanted to have sex with me.

I told him that it makes me cry and makes me want to kill myself.  He asked me what he needed to do so he could have sex with me – fix the roof, fix the floors, buy cars for our daughters.  (This was said sarcastically.)

I told him that it wasn’t about money.  I told him that my crying pre-dated the leaking roof, the rotting floor, and our daughters needing cars.  I told him that it had to do with the relationship.

He asked me what I wanted him to do so we could have sex.  I told him that I didn’t know.  He said that we would work on it.

Finally he left so I could get ready to go to work.

I felt like so much life had been sucked out of me.  It’s hard to explain.

I cried and cried and cried.  I cried all the way to work.  I even had to leave work for a few minutes to go outside and cry.

I had a really rough day emotionally because of the morning.

Maybe tomorrow will be better.

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