Thursday, June 11, 2015

I am but one face of Clinical Depression

I believe that Clinical Depression is a topic that simply requires all of the exposure possible. I hope to achieve some of that by sharing about this aspect of my life; I hope to increase awareness. 

There are people who are depressed and do not know that about themselves. I was one of those people. 

My diagnosis of  Clinical Depression in 1990 absolutely floored me! I sought out a psychotherapist because I was having problems in my home life. At that time, I was living with my boyfriend and his raging alcoholic father who would leave a loaded shotgun by our front door. 

Once I got into psychotherapy, I found myself venting about my mother and not about my current situation. We also talked about my drinking problem. I kept returning to my therapy appointments and my therapist would gently encourage me to join a rehabilitation program to get my drinking problem under control. I resisted this for a long time but finally I agreed.

I found an agency locally I could join. I had to present a letter to my boss requesting my schedule be such so I could attend the outpatient program that met in the morning. Embarrassed, I presented my boss with the request and she accommodated me. The program was, I think, over a 9-week period and I cannot remember how many times a week we met. What I do remember is this: there were 13 of us. The morning I joined, the only other woman was completing her program with the agency and that was her last meeting there. So there I was, the only girl in a large group of 12 other addicts I knew absolutely nothing about.

As we went around the room and shared about ourselves, I realized that I was the only person there who had not gotten in to trouble with the law. Every single man in that session had served probation due to legal problems with their addiction. One had gone through a 3-day blackout and had murdered another human being.

I went home after that meeting and cried my eyes out. Actually, I did that after most of the meetings. Until then, I had absolutely no idea how close I had been to danger.

I became an addict because of the home environment I grew up in. I learned that in psychotherapy. I am the result of long term and unrelenting child abuse. Because of that, I have spent almost my entire life clinically depressed.

When I was diagnosed in 1990, I had already attempted suicide on one occasion. I became an alcoholic because I drank in a vain attempt to suppress my feelings that signaled regular ambushes to me. I did not know why that was going on within me and I had absolutely no idea on how to manage that. I knew how to fight back aggressively and I knew how to evade; that is what I focused on day in and day out. I was exhausted trying to survive and I would remain exhausted for many years to come.

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