Living with chronic depression sucks. There is simply no other way for me to describe it. The fact that I was dealing with depression is why I was basically forced to withdraw from grad school, even though I had a perfect 4.0 GPA. Depression has caused me to more or less give up on life. Not as in, “I want to die,” but rather, as in, “Getting out of bed and doing more than drinking coffee is a freaking miracle.”
Eight and one-half years ago I moved to south central Nebraska from the San Diego area. I did this for a couple of reasons, one of which was financial. The other reason is not important to go into here, but let’s just say that the move forced me to succeed at something I had been unable to accomplish while living in paradise. That being said, I have hated where I now live since about five minutes after my arrival here on October 2, 2007. Here I was, with a 26′ U-Haul and a 5×8 U-Haul trailer behind my own vehicle, and BAM, I was miserable.
To say that I have lived with some degree of depression every single day since landing here is no exaggeration. It is fact. My life is surrounded by things that remind me, every single day, of my failure to overcome my depression. About three weeks ago I began taking a Mood Management class; my latest attempt in a list of many, to beat this horrible beast.
The first real assignment was that we were supposed to set smart goals. Smart, in this case, is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time based. I was left wondering if a good goal for me would be simply to get out of bed every day, to get dressed at least five times a week (please don’t judge), and maybe (questionable) to take a shower at least every other day. But that’s what I set, and two weeks later, I’m already failing with those goals.
Antidepressents don’t work for me. I’ve been on every SSRI the VA carries, and all but one caused me to have bad reactions. Even the one that I am able to take causes a bad reaction if I take a full dose. No joke, my body is super finicky. I’m not sure why God, or nature, or whoever-the-fuck-makes-these-decisions decided to make my body chemistry this way, but needless to say, I’m forever pissed at whoever is in power. Even though I know that it is senseless, and a complete waste of time, at least once a day I ask myself, “Wy me?” I’m a firm believer in karma, but apparently whatever I am paying for happened in a previous lifetime, because I know that I haven’t done anything in this lifetime to warrant all of this.
So why am I writing about this? Is it my hope to get people to feel sorry for me? (FUCK NO) Do I want to create sadness in others? (Again, FUCK NO) I’m writing about this because even though I am struggling every single day, and even though my success is limited to teeny, tiny successes, I refuse to give up on hope.
No matter how difficult it is, and trust me, some days it feels like I’m trying to scale Everest without training, I recognize that the elusive brass ring, the dream of someday again being “normal,” is so worth the effort. I am writing this because I want others who suffer from chronic depression, and those who are living with major depressive disorder, to know they are so not alone. There is always hope. And even when we fail more often, even far more often, than we succeed, we need to focus on those successes, and realize that giving up in not an option. When I go back to see my psychiatrist for a medicine review later this month, I am going to ask him to please try me on a different class of antidepressents. It’s a class that I have been steadfastly refusing to try before, but that damn bird, that noisy bird, named Hope, refuses to shut the fuck up. I want, more than anything, to feel differently. And I do believe it is possible. So I’m not giving up, and if you are dealing with this crap too, I hope that you will allow that noisy bird to keep perching and singing in your soul, too.