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Wednesday, May 10, 2006 

Depression is the word of the week

Our topics are always so coincidental.

One of my associates quit this week because her depression was interfering with her work. She just left one day last week and has not come back. I finally had to make the awkward phone call telling her that basically she no longer had a job. She has struggled with this problem for a while, and she explained to me that she doesn’t think she was a very good employee and that it wasn’t fair to put that burden upon me and the company. I feel for her. Sadly, she was correct. She wasn’t doing very well and was on the way to being let go anyway. She said that she has a doctor (a psychiatrist I think) whom she is working with. I hope everything turns out OK. She’s getting married in a few weeks.

Do we all suffer from depression? While I myself have very real episodes, I still think of depression as a dirty word. While I am as empathetic as they come, I still roll my eyes at the condition.

I spent the greater part of my teenaged years depressed. Really depressed. I had a lot of anxieties and hang-ups, but didn’t know how to deal with them. I didn’t know you COULD deal with them. Generalized anxiety disorder wasn’t popular then, and neither was Paxil, Zoloft, or Prozac.

My depression is cyclical. While the anxiety comes like clockwork (it is connected to monthly hormones), the depression cycle takes much longer. About 3 times a year I will stay in bed for two to three days because “I don’t feel well.” I will have a bad week with the in-bed time sandwiched in, and then I will slowly come out of the funk and not even remember what it feels like to be depressed. Isn’t that strange, that I can’t really remember what it’s like unless it’s happening?

Just yesterday, I was listening to the radio on the way to work and the guest had written a book about depression. He described his inability to get out of bed for weeks. I turned my head and only listened out of the corner of my eye because I have a hard time accepting how close that reality is for me sometimes.

Any resolutions? Perhaps. Depression is an awful, awful thing. You can’t suck it up or pray your way out of it. A lot of times medication is a good solution, sometimes the only solution for someone to lead a “normal” life.

But I have a fantastic life. I have a husband I LOVE, a nice house, a job I enjoy, family and friends, and a naturally sunny disposition. I have a hard time admitting that I have a little black rain cloud waiting in the wings.

Carrie Ann

When I was bishop, I was giving a good sister a temple recommend interview. When we got to that last catch-all question, she looked like she was going to cry. I coaxed her into talking. Her husband was going through a trial of his faith. He had been cheated out of a large sum of money by a “saint”. All her kids but one had gone inactive. The pain and heartache were too much for her. She said she could hardly get out of bed any more and the world seemed to be shrouded in a fog.

I told her that she was suffering from depression and that counseling and medication were doing wonders for me since I no longer had thoughts of suicide. Her jaw hit the floor. The bishop is supposed to be perfect; he’s not supposed to have problems. This good sister got counseling and medication and is hanging in there.

Depression is the common cold of mental illnesses. Our Stake President had a bishop, who is also a physician, speak about depression in the Saturday evening session of stake conference. The bishop used a brother in the stake and me as examples of people who fight depression and keep on trying.

Some days are still better than others. It doesn’t help that we’re short staffed at work. After ten years of walking in a haze, I feel like it is finally starting to dissipate. But then again, I felt that way several years ago and then my son died from leukemia. I keep an eye out of the next coming blow. Will I be able to feel joy in life again or will I have to hold out until I pass out of this life? I think that much of the malady is physically based, so that when I lay down this body, I can rest from depression. As long as I make it to the celestial kingdom, I could walk through this fog for the rest of my life. And who knows, I just may. It would be worth it to be with my wife and kids for eternity. Now that’s joy!

I wish you were my bishop, Floyd. Although he's a nice guy.

But reading about this woman made me think of something. She had a lot to be depressed about. I don't have any answers to this, but I'm curious about whether being depressed in this circumstance isn't normal, therefore not necessarily bad?

I think most of us are depressed half the time. I know very few people who aren't depressed. Honestly.

That bishop who spoke about you, did you know he was going to do that? Because I would have been seriously annoyed if somebody started talking about me like that without my permission.

After ten years of walking in a haze, I feel like it is finally starting to dissipate. But then again, I felt that way several years ago and then my son died from leukemia. I keep an eye out of the next coming blow.

Strange, how that lingers.

Mothers day especially, at least in our home.

Thanks for sharing this courageous post about an intimate topic, Carrie Ann.

Hat's off!

Wow. It is very interesting (and somewhat painful, personally) to read what it is like from the employer's point of view. I just got to where I could not cope, and stopped going in, to several jobs.

It just hurt too much to keep mentally whipping myself into doing every little thing that needed doing just to get up and ready in the morning, among other things.

Thanks for this post.

Wow, that was an amazing story, Floyd. For me, I worry that I'll never be consistent enough at anything required to go to the temple that I'll never get there. The stark fear that paralyzes me inside upon the threshold of the chapel right before sacrament meeting is an utter terror. Lately, when I do get there (twice this year, end of last year was about once every 4 weeks or so), it's having my husband come back during SS and pick me up for just Sacrament meeting. It's a start, I suppose. Small steps, it's all I can do just to do that. And I fail so much at even that . . . I despair of ever getting to the temple because of my illnesses, and that tears my heart and soul to shreds.

Woops, I kinda went on there, I'm sorry for a post that will inconvenience you to bother reading.

I had a vivid dream last night, that I was called by the First Presidency to be the person who assigns down to the stake conference level, of various authorities to go speak and research timely topics and recommend topics for them to speak on. I recommended right off the bat, mental illnesses, and judgement/don't judge, both in relation to mental illnesses and other things. I know there's no such real calling of course, but my dream invented this, lol!

Sara

My heart goes out to everyone that suffers with depression. I went through many years of depression, most of my life actually. In the early years I attempted to self self medicate by using various substances, some of them even having a temporary beneficial effect.
Later though the problem became much more severe and I had to resort to Prozac etc. These prescription antidepressants did a reasonable job of either suppressing or masking the condition, albeit with some side effects.
What has finally freed me from depression (I've been free for several years now) was when I finally surrendered and developed a personal relationship with Jesus as my Lord and God. He then relieved me of what I believe were the underlying causes of my depression; Anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, resentment, disppointment with life, and everything in it.
I understand that there may in many cases be underlying organic causes to depression and do not recommend arbitrarily stopping any prescribed medication. I do however suggest that taking your cares to the feet of the Lord in faith is a very good first step to take.

I love this blog. Please don't give up on it. We need new posts.

I've heard several comments about the relationship between mormons and depression. I don't like to prototype people, but Church can be boring a lot of times. Outsiders and children are often accurate in their observations and it is good to relate our feelings with the way we live. I personally had some depression problems (beginning stages I guess), it is very hard to handdle
Tommy

What's going on with Sarah's website????

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This Week's Topic:

  • The Sabbath Day

Various Authors

  • Monday:
    Kaycee opted out of Mormondom 4 years ago. She calls herself agnostic.
  • Tuesday:
    Sarah is not your average Gospel Doctrine Teacher.
  • Wednesday:
    Carrie Ann comes from pioneer stock, and lives in Provo, but is open minded and fair.
  • Thursday:
    Ned Flanders hasn't been to church in a while, but maintains an interest in all things Mormon.
  • Friday:
    John C. is an academic with a sense of humor and a testimony.
  • Saturday:
    JP's not going to church and feeling okay about it.

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