Depression

I’m severely depressed. I’ve always suffered from depression but it has been very mild the last several years and I haven’t felt the need for medication. I believe that time has passed due to the stress of being unemployed, the unemployment insurance money running dry, politics and economics becoming an intellectual burden to me, and, most of all, the fact of where I live. I have always disliked Indiana. It’s a testament to how much I adore my wife that I moved here. I’m a city person and always will be.

When I look outside of my house, I don’t see just trees, flowers and animals. I see death. I see a void and a nothingness. I don’t see human beings; I see emptiness. I feel as if I’m floating in space where there’s no environmental pressure to keep my internal body pressure from expanding, basically making my body explode. I feel as if I’m all alone here even when I’m technically not. I love my family and the people I live with but I don’t love or even like living here. I need to know that when I look out the window, I will see people. I need to know that on the other side of this wall is a human being watching tv–my neighbor the human, not my neighbor the farm cow. I’d much rather leave nature to the nature shows. I would much rather go for a walk and see commerce and human beings walking side by side instead of just another dumb tree that looks just like the one next to it. I’m a people person; I’m very much not a nature person. I appreciate nature but I’ll go visit it like I would an amusement park. I don’t care to live out in the wilderness like the countryside. I will never, ever understand why anyone would want to.

The internet problems we have been having reminds me of where I live. When I have things to distract me, I’m much better; I can cope with my depression and it becomes inconsequential. That’s why I obsess over things: gaming, politics, economics, Twitter, the forums. Whatever it is I obsess with, it’s an escape and moderates the chemical imbalance I have in my head as if practicing and participating in my obsession acts like the neurotransmitter dopamine which provides "feelings of enjoyment and reinforcement to motivate a person proactively to perform certain activities." If I cannot participate in the things I feel like doing, I feel panic and anxiety and then the feelings of depression swell back up.

My wife mistakes my anxiety for addiction to the internet or World of Warcraft (WoW). It just so happens that I complain about the internet and, subsequently, cannot play WoW. It’s not that I am mad at the game, or the inability to participate in raiding in WoW, it’s that I’m back in the void. It’s the times when I do not have access to the internet that upset me; but it’s easily mistaken the at WoW is the problem. It’s not. I can quit playing WoW at any point in time as long as I have something else that I actually want to do and actually can do it. If it’s reading the news or watching movies–the former is tied to internet access as I read blogs and newspapers online (New York Times in the boonies? Dream on! The local paper’s big news story is about a thirteen year old high school student who has managed to keep her virginity that long!); the latter tends to be mostly related to the internet as I watch movies and television shows online instead of renting them.

It would be very, very healthy for me to find a job but the opportunities are paltry here as the unemployment rate in Indiana hovers around 10% (another symptom of rustic life). One good job opportunity has sprung up and I’ve applied for it but the competition is surely so fierce that it’s unlikely I will prevail. Hopefully the fact I’m currently attending college and am a previous employee with the company and left with good standing (laid off as of February 2009) will be of help but it’s far from the realm of reasonable probability. Finding a job would give me something to do–something very productive to do. I could get out and be around people. Being around people I don’t even like would be much better for me than having to look out the window of my home, daydreaming of life in New York City.

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4 thoughts on “Depression

  1. Hang in there Edwin. I can relate to nearly EVERYTHING you said. Being home all day, puts you in a funk and makes you almost forget who you are and what you want. Plus, I'm a city girl at heart all the way….much to the dismay of my entire family. Harold is off several days starting tomorrow night. I'm thinking of talking him into a road trip to Chicago..just to get out of this place for a little bit and to get lost in the many faces of a new city. We will see if he will go for it …

  2. Thanks for sharing Amy. It's not encouraging that we share the same sentiments and are stuck in somewhat similar situations, though I am glad someone understands where I'm coming from! I hope Harold goes for it. šŸ™‚

  3. Hi Edwin. Aldo's wife here. Thank you for this post. It takes a lot of courage to talk about your depression in such an open forum. Aldo read this post, later telling me that it helped him understand, somewhat, that what I experience is not just me, not something I chose for myself, not personal, but a distinct and measurable set of symptoms that is shared, to a greater or lesser degree, by all those who have depression. I think that I've gotten really tired of trying to make excuses for myself, of not being able to just will myself out of it or suck it up at others' convenience, of not being able to explain the reason for my mood, my apathy, my anxiety, my sadness, my dissatisfaction, my self-accusation or my feelings of inadequacy. Even with medication, there are still manifestations every day, though they wax and wane. While my depression manifests in a different way, and is exacerbated by the facts that I work at night and live in Seattle and rarely see the sun and my entire endocrine system is jacked by the nature of my work (enough cortisol surging through my veins during an average shift to leave an adrenaline junkie salivating) and my sleep non-schedule, Aldo was able to make coorelations between what he sees me experiencing every day and what he remembers from when the two of you hung out. Its still a long way from him (or anyone who's never experienced depression) “understanding,” but hopefully it will help him realize its not “just me.”

  4. It's encouraging to see you speak about your depression so publicly as well, Yarrow. šŸ™‚ I'm glad I've helped nudge Aldo towards a better understanding of depression. It really is a cold, heartless disease that cannot be helped by anyone save for many years of medication and therapy–and too often without sufficiently positive effects. I plan on seeking care for the feelings I have been experiencing; I see a doctor this Thursday, to be more precise! Sometimes, though, the medication and therapy isn't enough. That's where family needs to be most understanding: nothing is a miracle drug.

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