Jump to content


Getting an "Insecure Connection" warning for Exisle? No worry

Details in this thread

Depression, Suicide, and Spalding Gray

Mental Health Depression 2004

  • Please log in to reply
13 replies to this topic

#1 Ro-Astarte

Ro-Astarte

    goddess of love and blowing things up

  • Islander
  • 3,842 posts

Posted 09 March 2004 - 04:20 PM

Quote

TONIGHT'S FOCUS: Depression. Boy, don't you want read further? Of course, not. Who would? Sadly, we in the news business rarely focus on mental illness until there's some celebrity who takes his own life, like actor Spalding Gray, or when someone delusional commits some unspeakable act of violence.

The fact that approximately 19 million American adults suffer from depression is the nation's dirty little secret. We all know it. We just don't want to talk about it 'cause, well, it's depressing to talk about. And yet, and yet, and yet, for those who know, for those who suffer or who have suffered, like myself, and for their loved ones, talking about it, covering it as a major health story, is not only an uplifting acknowledgement that we are not alone, but it offers hope in the form of incredibly effective and available treatment that sadly did not spare the life of Mr. Gray or the nearly 27,000 of those clinically depressed who take their own lives each year.

I've talked about depression pretty freely around here. My own and the one that almost took my father from me. So it'll be no surprise that I'm promoting this look at yet one more epidemic that people don't like to talk about.

Hopefully, I'll stay awake late enough tonight to see this. If so, I'll follow up with comments later.

Ro

#2 Ro-Astarte

Ro-Astarte

    goddess of love and blowing things up

  • Islander
  • 3,842 posts

Posted 09 March 2004 - 08:44 PM

I've been thinking a lot about suicide lately. Ever since I heard that Spalding Gray was missing, as a matter of fact.  It seems that at least twice a week since then, I'm hearing about someone who has been touched  by self-harming behaviors to either themselves or someone they love.

On Livejournal, there are several friends or friends of friends who've cut themselves just to feel something, even if it's pain, because they can't feel anything at all.

From a really great LJ post on Self Injury Awareness Day, which was Mar 1.

Quote

What is self injury? Self-injury is the active choice to physically harm oneself, without intent of suicide. Self-injury is the act of cutting, hitting, punching, stabbing, biting, poking. It's the act of pulling out hair or nails, of sometimes even removing a limb.

Self-injury is a coping mechanism. The short answer is that it's a way to make the internal pain into external pain. The short answer doesn't even begin to cover it. But it's not a cry for help, and it's not a sign that the person is crazy. It's just a coping mechanism.


Of course, the final response to extreme pain is suicide. I almost lost my father to suicide.  I've never actively planned it myself, but I did sometimes feel so hollow inside that I thought the world really would be better off if I weren't taking up space in it.   It's a dark, dark place to be and it seems like the darkness will never be relieved.  

But it can be. Here's a resource page if you (or someone you care about) feel suicidally depressed.

From the first site listed on the resource page

Quote

“Suicide is not chosen; it happens when pain exceeds resources for coping with pain.”

That’s all it’s about. You are not a bad person, or crazy, or weak, or flawed, because you feel suicidal. It doesn’t even mean that you really want to die - it only means that you have more pain than you can cope with right now. If I start piling weights on your shoulders, you will eventually collapse if I add enough weights... no matter how much you want to remain standing. Willpower has nothing to do with it. Of course you would cheer yourself up, if you could.


If you think I'm posting this to you, you're right. But it's not just to you.

It's to Spalding Gray's  3 children, who now have a grandmother and a father who've died at their own hands. Making the likelihood that they too will struggle with the noonday demon statistically higher.

It's to my father, who faced down the demon and came back to us when I was sure he never would.

It's to my friend who recently had an anniversary of a horrific incident leading to flashbacks and a new onset of melancholy, but who somehow manages to be encouraging and creative and lively-refusing to be a victim forever.


And it's to myself. To remind me that no matter how alone I feel, I am not.  No matter how useless I feel, I still have more to do.  No matter how unworthy I feel,  worth is not something I have to earn except by continuing. That joy will follow despair as day follows night, if I can just keep going.

Then, if you've ever felt that dark smothering pain, it is also to you.  If you share this susceptibility, please do not suffer it alone. Call someone. Email someone. Be willing to ask for the help you would be willing to give if it were needed.

Thrive,

Ro

#3 Kevin Street

Kevin Street
  • Islander
  • 6,256 posts

Posted 10 March 2004 - 03:37 AM

Excellent post, Ro.. Thank you.

#4 Ro-Astarte

Ro-Astarte

    goddess of love and blowing things up

  • Islander
  • 3,842 posts

Posted 11 March 2004 - 11:49 AM

x-posted from my Live Journal:

Quote

Since I'm apparently in the right place at the right time (based on multiple conversations in the last week or two) I'm going to extend my stint as Ms. Mental Health Advocacy.

As I've mentioned previously, counseling really helped me when I was depressed. It wasn't traditional Freudian therapy, but focused on the cognitive understanding of my disease.

From: www.cognitivetherapy.com

Cognitive therapy teaches you how certain thinking patterns are causing your symptoms — by giving you a distorted picture of what's going on in your life, and making you feel anxious, depressed or angry for no good reason, or provoking you into ill-chosen actions.

It didn't change the facts on the ground, but the therapist was able to help me synthesize an alternate interpretation of those facts that made sense and lifted the black cloud that was suffocating me.

It wasn't about lying to make myself feel better, but about seeing the situation and myself clearly enough to recognize where the issues really lie.

When I talk to people about therapy, as I seem to a lot lately, many seem to assume that therapy's all about Freud and blaming your parents for the mess you're in.  That's not my experience at all.

CBT, or cognitive behavioral therapy is something a couple of my friends have found to be very helpful as well.

From the same page linked above, here's what the "B" in "CBT" stands for:

Behavior therapy helps you weaken the connections between troublesome situations and your habitual reactions to them. Reactions such as fear, depression or rage, and self-defeating or self-damaging behavior. It also teaches you how to calm your mind and body, so you can feel better, think more clearly, and make better decisions.

Therapists use many different methodologies in their work. Depending on their training, their age, what recent research or articles they've been exposed to.  If the therapist you're seeing doesn't mesh with your needs, find another therapist. Don't give up on the counseling altogether. Advocate for your own needs. Easier said than done when one's depressed, but do the best you can. You're worth fighting for.

Removes Ms. Mental Health Advocacy sash and steps down from the bully ExIsle pulpit.

#5 Rhea

Rhea

  • Islander
  • 16,433 posts

Posted 11 March 2004 - 12:45 PM

I would also say "get thee to a therapist" if you're depressed. Also a doctor.

For many people, depression isn't a temporary emotional problem, it's a chemical imbalance for which therapy alone isn't enough.

I've had a problem with depression my entire life, and I was in my late 30's before I got desperate enough to finally get help. I wish I'd done it several decades sooner.  :eek:

I would also suggest some form of volunteer work. Not the addressing envelopes, helping with mailers kind, but the kind that allows you to work with people whose challenges make yours look small. Since I started working in special ed, I haven't needed medication or therapy - I'm convinced that small kid hugs are better medicine.  :love:  But I wouldn't hesistate to ask for  help for a second if I needed it again.

One thing to keep in mind (at least, it kept me from killing myself when the occasion arose): your pain may be so overwhelming you don't see how to go on - BUT if you have ANY friends or family, they'll have to clean up your mess - and spend the rest of their lives feeling guity because they didn't see it coming. That's not a very nice legacy to leave behind for the people you love.
The future is better than the past. Despite the crepehangers, romanticists, and anti-intellectuals, the world steadily grows better because the human mind, applying itself to environment, makes it better. With hands...with tools...with horse sense and science and engineering.
- Robert A. Heinlein

When I don’t understand, I have an unbearable itch to know why. - RAH


Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen.  - RAH

#6 Ro-Astarte

Ro-Astarte

    goddess of love and blowing things up

  • Islander
  • 3,842 posts

Posted 11 March 2004 - 02:48 PM

The most effective form of treatment for depression has proved to be a combination of medication and talk therapy.

Medication alone is rarely enough. If money is a concern, do what I did and find a clinic with a sliding fee scale.  

I went into the talk therapy certain that it was not going to be enough and that I would need meds, for which I had no money at the time.  I had been unemployed for months, and was living on UI and my savings.

My counselor was not an MD, and so couldn't prescribe.  We decided to start with counselling, and she would arrange a referral to a psychiatrist for medication evaluation. As it happened, I responded so well in therapy that I didn't need meds. I was in for about 6 months of weekly counselling sessions, and then was ready to  transition out.

But  if I find myself spiralling down again?  I'll be ready and willing to combine meds with counselling.

To me, it's no different from using insulin to treat diabetes.

#7 Shalamar

Shalamar

    Last Star to the Left and Straight on till Morning

  • Forever Missed
  • 17,644 posts

Posted 11 March 2004 - 04:02 PM

Thank you Ro, Rhea. I too suffer from depression. I'm 'fortunate' in that this is diabetic depression and does respond to medication. However I must say this. My physician strongly advised me that these medications do not take 'instantaneous' effect. Welbutrin it was especially noted that it might take up to a few weeks, until the 'threshhold' level was reached.

and I can also say, that for me at least, letting others know of what you are feeling is the biggest gift you can give those who care about you. It's NOT weak, it's NOT being a failure, it's NOT palming your problems off, its NOT 'oh pity me'..its informing those who care and worry, it's being honest with them and its building a support network.

"I get by with a little help from my firends"  truer words werre never spoken.  and you are giving your friends the gift of allowing them to openly care about you instead of asking them to fret in silence, to wonder worriedly in the darkness of not knowing.

#8 Rhea

Rhea

  • Islander
  • 16,433 posts

Posted 11 March 2004 - 09:30 PM

^Preach it, sister!

And you should never assume that your friends know the depth of your despair, either. When I was at my worst, nobody figured it out (well, hell, as the adult child of an alcoholic, I'm a champ at covering up - had tons of practice).

They would have all been ready and willing to help if I had just been honest. It's pretty sad to get to the brink of suicide before you're willing to admit you're not perfect. I had to unlearn some pretty ingrained habits - but I guarantee you I'll never go there again.
The future is better than the past. Despite the crepehangers, romanticists, and anti-intellectuals, the world steadily grows better because the human mind, applying itself to environment, makes it better. With hands...with tools...with horse sense and science and engineering.
- Robert A. Heinlein

When I don’t understand, I have an unbearable itch to know why. - RAH


Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen.  - RAH

#9 Ro-Astarte

Ro-Astarte

    goddess of love and blowing things up

  • Islander
  • 3,842 posts

Posted 11 March 2004 - 10:13 PM

One of the things that astonished me was how quickly people rallied to help me once they really knew I needed help.

I'd been irrationally angry at my friends for leaving me alone. Then my mom and dad came to visit-clearly scared about my mental condition-and Mom reminded me that I cover very well what's going on inside.  I seemed to have it all under control when I felt completely out of control.

First call I made to ask for help, and just voice what was going one with me was really hard. Right up until the time I dialed the phone, I thought- "I can't do it. She'll think I'm useless."

She was so happy and relieved to hear from me I burst into tears right then.

Your friends and your loved ones WANT to help you. It's just sometimes hard to know how to help.

Ro

#10 Josh

Josh

    He stares...

  • Islander
  • 13,774 posts

Posted 11 March 2004 - 10:27 PM

I doubt that there are many things out there as devastating as depression.  A lot of people don't take it seriously and I think that they should. It destroys lives.  It not only hurts the depressed person but it causes damage to entire families and friendships.

I was committed involuntarily for a mental evaluation two nights ago for suicidal depression.  I know what it is like. I know what it can do.

The worst part about it is that you truly don't want to help yourself.  You either feel too ashamed for your feelings or you feel that nothing will ever get better so why bother?

It is a terrible illness.

Edited by Josh, 11 March 2004 - 10:27 PM.

"THE UNICORNS ARE NOT TO BE TRIFLED WITH!" - John Burke.

#11 the 'Hawk

the 'Hawk
  • Islander
  • 5,281 posts

Posted 11 March 2004 - 10:37 PM

The crazy thing about depression is the paradox.

Depression is very common. To the point where everyone you meet seems to be depressed. Which is, in and of itself, depressing.

And it becomes cyclical after a while. You don't want help because you don't think you deserve it. You don't know what you deserve, you just know what you don't. So you think yourself down, and think less of yourself. Which doesn't improve your expectations. After a while, everything seems like the first step to disappointment. And so you stop trying. Shutting down expectations makes you risk less, and thus you get less, which you blame on what you expected to happen, so you shut down further, get less, and blame yourself.

And so it begins.

Truth be told, I don't know the way back from that cycle. Every spin you take down, in theory, you have to undo. Without the joys of a multiple-undo button.

There's an old joke: Proof that Microsoft doesn't run the world is twofold--- first of all, it works for longer than four minutes at a stretch without an error message, and second of all, there's no handy undo button.

(Gracefully, if I may suggest a third, there's no talking paperclips asking you if you're writing a letter.)

There's only one way through life. Through. Not around, or over, or beside, or even under. Through. Once you're in it, you're in for it.

Doesn't mean you should look for a way out. Just through it.

There are options. There is help. And there is not a person living who isn't worth the effort.

Not because they need to be saved, or because they're just that special, or even simply because it's a human life and we are diminished by its untimely end.

But because there's no one who isn't possibly affected by the same thing.

:cool:
“Now is the hour, Riders of Rohan, oaths you have taken! Now, fulfil them all! To lord and land!”  
~ Eomer, LotR:RotK

#12 Ro-Astarte

Ro-Astarte

    goddess of love and blowing things up

  • Islander
  • 3,842 posts

Posted 12 March 2004 - 12:14 AM

Quote

The worst part about it is that you truly don't want to help yourself. You either feel too ashamed for your feelings or you feel that nothing will ever get better so why bother?

This is so clear a memory for me.

Once, when I was really down on myself (and well before I had an official diagnosis of depression) I was supposed to meet some friends.

I drove there, parked.  And couldn't get out of the car and walk less than 100 feet to where my friends were expecting me.  I knew they were there. I knew they were waiting for me.  And I knew I would feel better as soon as I went in and talked to them.

Yet, somehow, I did not have the strength to do it.  I turned around and went home without ever walking in the door.

Fortunately, I was able to leave a note on my friend L's car. I had parked right next to her.  I expected her to call me afterwards and be furious that I stood them up.

She was not. She was so kind, and so understanding. It still makes me teary to remember it.

Ro

#13 Rhea

Rhea

  • Islander
  • 16,433 posts

Posted 12 March 2004 - 10:49 PM

Josh, on Mar 11 2004, 08:25 PM, said:

I doubt that there are many things out there as devastating as depression.  A lot of people don't take it seriously and I think that they should. It destroys lives.  It not only hurts the depressed person but it causes damage to entire families and friendships.

I was committed involuntarily for a mental evaluation two nights ago for suicidal depression.  I know what it is like. I know what it can do.

The worst part about it is that you truly don't want to help yourself.  You either feel too ashamed for your feelings or you feel that nothing will ever get better so why bother?

It is a terrible illness.
{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{Josh}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}
The future is better than the past. Despite the crepehangers, romanticists, and anti-intellectuals, the world steadily grows better because the human mind, applying itself to environment, makes it better. With hands...with tools...with horse sense and science and engineering.
- Robert A. Heinlein

When I don’t understand, I have an unbearable itch to know why. - RAH


Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen.  - RAH

#14 G1223

G1223

    The Blunt Object.

  • Dead account
  • 16,164 posts

Posted 12 March 2004 - 11:10 PM

Josh I know that you and I were both lucky to have the sort of friends who jump in and do the interventions. I have said this a few times. One of the reasons Heropa Gets to do as much with me on these Cons is he was one of those who jumped in and got me help and let me know I was not alone.

The Help I recieved was voluntary and was mostly talking about what were the things depressing me and then just about life in general.  To put things in perspective is my guess. I was out patient and did not have medication. I do not know how to help anyone else short of stepping in and trying to help as I see help being needed.



Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Mental Health, Depression, 2004

0 user(s) are browsing this forum

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users