The Mother of all Depressions


It was the “Mother of all Depressions.” For four days I was unable to get out of bed. I couldn’t eat. I didn’t care about anything. I wanted to die. Really; I found myself hating my life so much that I began to think putting an end to it was the answer. A tape with the obscene mantra, “I hate my life, I hate my life, I hate my life” began to play in my mind. The last time I felt similarly was one dreadful July 4th five years ago, when I found myself being admitted to an Adult Psychiatric Unit.

Experiences can sometimes begin to feel familiar to that time five years ago.  Questions from family or friends about drug use, an uncontrollable anxiety over issues that later seem to end up as the small and minor challenges of a life in hyper drive. Family members and friends have no idea how to handle the evil, bitchy side that comes with depression. We fight, scream, cry and make threats. The choices I make when depressed are often not at all healthy and incongruent with physical or emotional well-being. Sometimes, the thoughts inside my head secretly struggle with the ways close friends have changed and seemingly moved on with their life.  I may feel my life, in comparison to theirs, isn’t moving.

When I’m depressed, I want something; a pill, a hit of dope; SOMETHING that will stop my ability to feel. I will listen to recorded pipe organ music for hours and hours on end. The music of Bach, played on a pipe organ usually relaxes me. Those in my close inner circle have involved themselves with attempts to get me to do something to pull myself out of that dark evil place and back into the light. With each attempt I often hand them some bullshit line like, “Sure, I’ll get up and take the dogs for a nice long walk” or, “Yeah, and I’ll eat something.” What did I actually do? I went back to bed, but only after laying some feigned guilt trip about how much I may have missed them lately and how terrible I feel for the things I do that drives them away.

My pathetic actions give them yet another glimpse of how capable I am of beating the fucking shit out of myself for the ways I have hurt them in the past. Sometimes, family and friends threaten to close our relationships.  “I have forgiven you and you should take a look at what you need to do to forgive yourself” a close friend once said.  When this friend said that to me I began to know how familiar my interactions with them could feel. It seems I can be a cycling, emotional train wreck seeking solutions or fixes to my problems, from them.

Gradually, I have found myself coming around, getting back into the light of life and feeling better.  A combination of things has worked.  I began years ago writing or journaling about thoughts and feelings I experience, being as honest as I possibly can be with myself, in my personal journal. This process of sharing has become so comfortable to me, that I often write these same thoughts and feelings in a blog that anyone can read online. I read from many books that have sustained me through some tough times of painful personal growth. I pray.

From loved ones, I have received many gifts: words, though sometimes harsh, have raised my awareness of my behaviors. Love and “big momma type” hugs are a tactile way of feeling alive. Time spent sharing experiences or in quiet contemplation with other loved one’s travelling on a similar path of personal growth brings connectedness, and dilutes feelings of isolation.  The last gift from loved ones has been their understanding and patience.

Tools learned in earlier cycles of depression are known to work and avert another “Mother of all Depressions”:

  • Heightened anxiety is a precursor to thoughts that are not totally based on reality
  • Understand self forgiveness
  • Accept the way people change and move through life; we all must do the same
  • Do not compare your life with anyone else’s
  • Be grateful for the loved ones who have stayed by your side and reach out to at least one of them early on in any future cycle of depression
  • We can learn to re-frame situations and experiences which may trigger negative thinking
  • None of us are ever alone.  We will never be alone

I read a blog that inspired me to begin sharing my journey away from depression. I have linked to it below.  It was blogged by “Hope Despite Depression” at blogspot and is titled “Grateful for Depression?”  http://hopedespitedepression.blogspot.com/2010/11/grateful-for-depresson.html

May we never allow depression to consume ourselves as much as it has in the past, ever again. May we begin to see our life experiences in different ways.

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About Mark Schmitz

Living in Phoenix, AZ since 1995, originally from Brown Deer, Wisconsin. I'm a Gemini born on May 26, 1961. Single, GWM who is HIV and healthy. Spiritually diverse, I'm just trying to stay on the right path to learn all that I came here to learn. That's what my blogs are about - and total honesty.

Posted on December 6, 2010, in Depression, Health, How to overcome Depression, Life, Personal Growth, Relationships, Self Discovery, Self-improvement, Spirituality and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. hopedespitedepression

    Hi Mark,

    I’m finally starting to recover from my “Mother of All Depressions” which has consumed my life for almost a year… I hated the way that depression made me act towards those that were only trying to help me… I felt like I was constantly apologizing that it got to the point of “why even apologize because I’ll just lash out at them again eventually and they know it too”… Loving someone who is depressed takes a huge amount of patience and understanding… Loving YOURSELF is even harder… but it’s when we start to do that that things start to turn around …

    You really seem to have a good grasp on how to “ward off” pending bouts of depression – knowing your own triggers is a huge advantage to help lessen the intensity … I too have a list of things that trigger me…

    I absolutely loved your post – you described the feeling of depression so perfectly… it is very comforting to be able to talk and to relate to others who completely understand what depression feels like – because no matter how hard we TRY and explain it to loved ones, they never truly understand – no one does unless you actually have it…

    ((HUGS))
    Christine

  2. Linda K Alvarado

    I’ve suffered from depression on and off all my life, even as a child. I’ve found tools that help me. They also help my friends and family, because I know my depression is an ass-kicker for them too. They worry and are frustrated from their powerlessness. As soon as I am able, I do all the self-help I can.

    I have to say I have more “relative” good days than bad, but a big portion of my life has involved dealing with the very emotions you describe. Some really dumb slogans from Recovery International become my mantra, such as “feelings are not facts,” even though they feel absolutely as real as a broken leg. Thank you for this, Mark.

  1. Pingback: The Terrible Beast and Me « Mark's Weblog

  2. Pingback: The Challenges of Accepting and Loving Life « Mark's Weblog

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