One Woman’s Story (not mine)

I was cruising through different channels on my Roku the other night and I came across “My Depression: The up and down and up of it. It was a musical cartoon voiced by Sigourney Weaver as Elizabeth Swados and Steve Buscemi as Suicidal Thoughts. This is based on Elizabeth Swados’ memoir My Depression: A Picture Book. Its less than 30 minutes long and it’s cute, humorous and at times a mirror to my own experience. The main difference is she sees her depression as a dark overhanging cloud whereas I see myself as the cloud. I looked Elizabeth Swados up in Wikipedia and was shocked to see she had passed away. I quickly looked for the cause and was relieved (I know that’s a bad choice of words) to see she died from complications of surgery, not suicide. The movie is bitterly truthful about the hold negativity exerts on the tired soul of a depressed person and the absolute hopelessness which keeps you mired in your own emotional detritus. Suicidal Thoughts took her on a wild ride ostensibly over a cliff but she got out before the ride came to a sudden stop. Sortta hit home.

But she WON!! Perhaps viewing depression as a competition to “win” is a little too simplistic for those of us who are on a constant teeter-totter between medication and life reorientation. Keeping the bats out of the belfry and working to see life without the discoloration of depression isn’t black/white as win/lose but every shade of gray, red, yellow and blue in the rainbow. “Winning”, also, has its own negative connotations thanks to other celebrities and their mental musings in media. I realize It’s easy for me to be flippant on this side of the void. My story is here for the reading and I’m posting the link to Youtube below so if you want to watch the 29:58 minute video you can.

The movie premiered at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival and was received very well.

The New York Times described the film “as charming and whimsical a discussion of depression as you’re likely to find… it’s honest and forthright as it talks about a condition often misunderstood and misrepresented.”[3] BroadwayWorld commented, “Simultaneously heartfelt and entertaining, My Depression illuminates the symptoms, emotions and side effects of the disorder through witty animation, comedy and unique musical numbers.

Wikipedia

Depression was accepted as an illness at the time of the movie but it was still said in hushed tones and only really spoken aloud among the afflicted. TV commercials were prevalent and horrifying with their sotto voce side effects droned over people miraculously returning to their old perfect lives after a single dose. I’ve found the best amelioration is knowing although each experience is unique to the person, we are not alone. And we need to tell our stories to each other by voice, by blog, by email or in film. It’s a reverse communicable disease, we get better by sharing.

My Depression: The Up And Down And Up Of It

I Do Declare

Now that I’ve moved, still whole and fairly well settled I have started the process of looking for a job. At the end of my four hour slot each day of searching I just want to crawl back to my old job (but in a new city) and go back to what I know, after all the devil you know…. I try to research and apply for five jobs a day, which doesn’t sound like much but phlebotomy and EKG tech jobs aren’t as ubiquitous as one would think. One company is waiting to move over their hiring platform onto another and after thanking me for submitting my application they would prefer I do it again on the 19th. So, I’m waiting for the days to tick away.

At the end of these arduous application processes they have self declaration pages. Am I a veteran: No. Am I of any color: No. Am I binary or non: Binary. Do I have a disability…..Do I? I asked Dr. W once if I could go on disability for the major depression and anxiety disorder he diagnosed me with but he said he wouldn’t. Not because I didn’t qualify but because he felt it wouldn’t be good for me. I don’t feel like I’m depressed any longer, I feel like my problem is more trying to learn the basic human skills I should have gotten from a normal dysfunctional childhood to navigate the world around me. My mood still goes up and I come back down but, then again, everyone does. I’m still on medication but I’m on blood pressure medication as well to keep that on an even keel, not because of an acute problem. I don’t want to be disabled. I understand they have requirements to hire people who are challenged by life one way or another and there is a little voice in my head that wants to abuse every option to get a job, but I don’t want to be disabled. If the site doesn’t have specific things that qualify me as disabled, I check refuse to identify. If there is a list and depression and anxiety are on it I check yes, but I’m not specific. I feel my answers should be consistent but this is as consistent as I can get.

How am I supposed to handle this? Is there anyone out there that can give me advise or share how they handled this in the past? Or am I just sticking my head in the proverbial sand hoping I can convince the world I’m perfectly healthy, nothing to look at here and just keep moving along. Sigh.

UPDATE:

Now they’re getting crafty. They ask “Do you have a disability OR a history of a disability.”. Its like they read my mind…..or my blog…..and are requiring me to declare whether I want to or not. Grrrrr.

In The News

Okay, I’ll admit it, I’m ill informed when it comes to current events. My sister is my trusted source of news and we don’t talk every day. So, when I clicked on my weather app on my computer today and saw that Naomi Judd died and her husband was just now speaking out about it I clicked to read more. I knew she had Hep C, I knew she retired to recover. I wasn’t aware of her battle with depression and suicidal ideology. I’m not a country fan devotee, although the Judds were some of the songs my sisters listened to, so I’m aware. I watched part of the docudrama on network TV back when they had movies made for network TV so I’m not as clueless as I am about why Russia is invading Ukraine. My heart goes out to the whole family and close friends for losing a loved one so suddenly and tragically.

Why am I writing about this? Something in the article spoke to me and old ghosts from my darker days reappeared. Ashley spoke of the voice in your head telling you how you are alone, no one loves you, (and if they do tell you they love you, they’re lying), and you are not worthy of anything so why bother, why try, why live? I still hear that voice more often than I care to admit, but the voice has less and less sway over me most days. Between the medication, the therapy and the self-love I have been trying to institute it has been at bay. I call him the Evil Little Pixie*. My heart breaks when I think of how many people are at his mercy, how he is constantly eroding the foundation people stand on just to see them fall. He is the deliberate laughter in the back of the head when I stick my foot in my mouth, when I make a human sized mistake and happily replays the video every chance he gets. I know the Evil Little Pixie is different for everyone, and his motives and techniques are specialized and honed for every individual, and it’s voice might echo your parents sentiment, your friend or spouse but the Evil Little Pixie’s only existence is to make you feel as small and insignificant as he should be in our lives.

Again, why am I writing about this? Back in the earlier days of the new century the ‘un’ and ‘less’ feelings (unloved, unworthy, useless, worthless) crowd in on me and corned me at a time when I was at the bottom of the void, though I didn’t know it at the time. I didn’t feel depressed, I honestly didn’t feel much of anything at all other than rage, but it was a pivotal point in my life. A few years latter in a Family History class we were tasked to write about a time that changed our life, and though I had witnessed the death of my father, walked a marathon, served a mission, threw myself into charity work and had completed one novel this one event kept pushing the other ideas behind it so it was all I could see. It’s called I Broke. It is the story of how I finally realized I, well, broke and how I tried to fix it by ending the pain, the anger and the self loathing and the realization that came when I failed. I’m not sharing this because I want to, I’m sharing this because we all need to share our stories to pull others from the bleeding edge of this ultimate step. After class was over two women came up to me and told me they almost did too. Not the same situations, not the same emotional baggage but the same Evil Pixie trying to destroy each of us in turn. And, honestly, not just us but those who love us as well because we might not believe it, but our drop into the darkest pool will ripple through those you love like a tsunami. At first I was irked they told me they had almost done too, because that negated my belief of being alone. We might suffer in silence, but we are not alone.

If you find yourself looking into the eyes of a friend or loved one and see your pain reflected back, tell them your story, make them know they are not alone and help them get the help they need. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org. You can also text a crisis counselor by messaging the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

*I realize EVIL LITTLE PIXIE makes the voice seem more of a joke than something as serious a depression and suicidal ideology but giving something scary a stupid or funny name makes it more manageable to me. I am not making light of the disease, I’m just making it more bearable for myself. I’m sorry if I offend, that is not my intent.