Friday, March 7, 2014

A day at a time

I had this saved as a draft to publish today, but Tim posted his ABC Wednesday, showing the other side of this issue, that I'll reblog after this part:

I'm reblogging Tim's post here because he gives an important perspective for those who, like him, suffer with depression. I've been following his struggles against the Black Dog since I started reading his blog a bit longer than a couple of years ago. When I fell in love with him and became his girlfriend, I naturally wanted to go deeper and learn everything I could about depression and everything that encompasses it - for me it's important to understand how this terrible illness affects his mind and soul, and how he deals with the world:

"As I write this, it is late enough Thursday night that it’s Friday morning. I had a long, dreary fucking day, the depression kicking my plan to be productive right in the crotch, and I napped quite a bit. I’m not getting enough writing done. I’m not exercising enough. I haven’t finished cleaning the Byrdcave.
But, that’s progress. If I’m not getting enoughwriting done, that implies I’m getting somewriting done. If I’m not exercising enough, that must mean I’m exercising at least some. And if I haven’t finished cleaning the Byrdcave, that would mean that I did start cleaning it. And all that is true, though it’s weak tea for a guy who is really trying to pick his life back up after it was stomped flat by the black dog of depression.
Anyway, lots of napping during the day leads inevitably to being wide awake when it’s so late that it’s early. And I’m feeling pretty good. I started playing God of War: Ascension, which got my blood moving, and now I’m listening to great rock ‘n’ roll, dancing like no one’s watching (I’m actually quite good at that), and singing like no one’s listening (not quite as good, though I won a singing contest in a bar in Spain one time, long ago). Mark Twain would be pqroud."
 This was written when he was feeling stronger, and you could see his wonderful soul shining so bright. To read the whole post, click here.

But these last days the awful Black Dog has been taking the best of Tim's days and nights, and he posted this poignant, heartbreaking article at his blog today:

"Do you understand suicide?
I do. I don’t want to do it, but I have it on my list of options. Worst case scenario sort of thing. This is because I have chronic, often debilitating depression, and it often makes me doubt I have the ability to maintain my life for its natural duration.
Lose the people I love, not able to take it? Suicide’s an option. Don’t sell enough books and fall into poverty? Suicide’s an option, better than living in a soggy box under a bridge. Fall into a permanent depressive funk in which I can’t even take care of myself day-to-day (which is what started to happen to me last year, which is why I re-entered therapy, got back on the meds, and had electroshock therapy for the second time in three years)? Suicide is always there.
It’s like the cyanide capsule hidden in my molar, ready to be crunched in dire circumstances.
Not a day passes that I don’t think about it, at least in passing. It’s a bloodsoaked thread woven through the fabric of my life, not dominant but always dripping. It’s been this way for years.
Do I think I’ll do it some day? No. Would I be surprised if I did? No.
So yeah, I understand suicide. It is dark and terrible and fucked up, but it can also be practical. Or at least seem so to a mind in pain.
I tell you that so that you know I’m talking to you from the darkness. It can be tough to tell most of the time, because I’m largely a low-key yet upbeat guy, forthright about my problems but not whiny or melancholy or gloomy to be around. But I live in the darkness of this disease, and I speak as something of an expert. And the thing I want to tell you is this:
Help them.
If you have someone in your life who suffers from depression:
Help them.
One of the hardest things to do is to ask for help. I will go days without doing the dishes, or taking out the trash, or going to get the mail, or showering. I’ll avoid the phone and not answer emails. I am utterly useless during those times, and I am mostly without hope. During times like this, I lose all my faith that I can do the things I want to do with my life. I think of the places I’ll never go, the people I’ll never get to hang out with, the books I will never be able to write, and I despair.
I hate asking for help. So I don’t. But I need it.
So, if you know someone with depression:
Help them.
I think there are many lives lost that may have been saved had the people who cared about the folks in pain actually found meaningful ways to be there for them. It can be a burden, yes. But if you care for them, you won’t think of it in those terms, or at least won’t let them know you feel that way. Help them get the professional assistance they need. Cook them a meal every week. Help them clean their home (even little things like taking out the damned trash can make a difference). Talk to them, show them you care about them, show them you have faith in them.
Help them.
You may just save their life."

This is the hard daily life for depressed people. It's a roller-coaster, when some days you may see the light at the end of the tunnel, and some days you simply can't feel the ground under your feet. I want to reinforce what he just said. If you truly love someone with depression, be there for them, even if it seems like your efforts and your presence are useless, if you think that your warmth and love will not help (sometimes I feel that way, especially being so far away from him most of the time, but I ignore it, because I believe it's not true): constant doses of love always help, and it's a welcome caress in their hurt souls. Be the caring, stable hand, their shelter, never give them up. Those we love are such wonderful, sweet and unique people to be with, no matter what they think about themselves when times are hard. We know better.

The Black Dog eventually goes to sleep for some time, and the ground can be firmly felt again under your loved ones' feet, and they will want to celebrate the good days with you - and you will want to be there to dance with them, until they need you to build that warm, loving nest again.

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