Depression – A ten-letter word

bandaidclownWhoops.

This was an inadvertent test of the system. Had this been a real emergency you probably wouldn’t have really noticed but vaguely wondered much later, “gee, I wonder what happened to that guy who was doing that thing with the eeg therapy deal…”

Anyway, in the rush of getting home, getting unpacked, catching up on doing stuff with my children, trying to re-organize the rest of my life, and various other challenges, I just didn’t get my new machine working till last night. [tech geeks – My neurotherapy system is designed for PC – I have a MacBook and needed to get Windows, install Bootcamp, system drivers, etc. Naturally everything was more difficult than it needed to be. Welcome to Windows…]

And it showed. Stopped doing neurotherapy with Sue about a week and a half ago.

Days 1-5 – Course, travel. All running too fast to feel much of anything except the rush of wind past my face.

Day 6 after neurotherapy stopped – still on fire – great list, hyper-organized, everything got done, super motivated, no time for blog but that’s ok.

Day 7 – little bit worse. List not as complete, things slipped off it to the next day – just didn’t get to blog

Day 8 – no list. totally scattered, got one or two things to get machine set up, hit a minor bump, got discouraged – felt like I didn’t have anything to contribute on the blog

Day 9 – tried to make list but couldn’t find pen. Felt really discouraged, questioned reason for doing all this in the first place, got totally down about something pretty minor, got really scared by that which was useful motivation to get the machine going…Got eeg going (yay)…finally did another neurotherapy session at 11 that night, which is really not optimum. Too scared by getting close to the cliff to blog.

Day 10 – Feel great today, writing this blog entry with no problem (notice how it didn’t happen before?), despite having the girls here. Fitting it in between activities and no problem keeping train of thought despite having to activity hop.

Are we noticing a trend?

Anyway, back on track now. This slippage makes me:

A. really convinced neurotherapy’s effects are real and tangible,

B. a bit worried about how long it lasts.

Neither of these is really new though, so…

Let’s talk about the big one.

Depression – Big awful awful word. For many, “you’ve got depression” is just slightly this side of “you have a social disease”. It can mean that you are a total failure and just too damn lazy to pull up your bootstraps and get on with the work of living.

But what if you just weren’t born with boots on? I speak from bitter personal experience when I say that many people have strappy, high-priced six inch stiletto brains. They sure look nice but see how far you get when the terrain gets a bit rocky. [and that’s MISTER Blahnik to you…]

So me, and a whole bunch of others, aren’t particularly lazy, or weak…just a bit tippy. Our brains don’t have a solid base from which to work. And let’s face it: life hits you sideways. Every single time. It would be easier if it were random, or even predictably mean. No…it waits until your mouth is full and your head thrown back before it hits you in the gut. Checking behind you? Wrecking ball…Stage left. Devised a carefully constructed fence with kevlar protection and proximity warning devices? Piano from the fifth floor window above you.

Monty Python once said “No one expects the spanish inquisition!” There’s truth to the fact that some things are so awful we cannot predict them because we cannot bear to look and see them coming. It’s fairly predictable that bad things happen. Life’s…kinda like that. The difference between the depressed and the non-depressed lies in the response to that smackdown. The depressed person feels crushed, unable to get back up, by the strength of the blow. The non-depressed takes the same hit in the same spot, shrugs it off and says “that all you got?” That’s not about bravery, or gumption or hutzpah. It’s about the flexibility of your brain in a stressful situation.

A motivated, flexible and un-depressed person can’t see any of that. So they tend to tell us to just pick ourselves up and keep at it. I know you mean well…it’s not helpful however. Almost nothing is, really. Sometimes you can coax out of depression. Sometimes life gets better while you have your head down. But you’ll drop right down the next time it gets bad.

What to do?

Find friends to help – As mentioned, sometimes this isn’t so helpful, because being fixed doesn’t really make you feel anything except more broken. What we are all looking for in the end is a bit of control in our lives. Being rescued from yourself doesn’t provide this. Sometimes this makes the bad things go away enough that you can get your head up tho – pluses and minuses. It’s just a band aid. Not a fix.

Drugs – SSRIs (prozac et al) will take the edge off, largely by making you not feel the bad things quite so much. I don’t really like this. At some level I think sadness is as fundamental a human right as joy. It would just be nice to be in control of it a little though, to have it not wreck you and leave you all messy for so long. To maybe just be sad, then pick yourself up and walk on when you feel like it. Man that would be great. Also they make me feel sluggish and not quick thinking. Some days that’s all I have, and giving it up is like trading your house for a new car.

Suicide – Although an effective way to prevent yourself from feeling anything at all, forever, this is a sucky option. Please don’t. It is possible to feel joy again. We just need to get your body and brain to cooperate.

Neurotherapy – Neurotherapy stretches the flexibility of your system so that you still feel everything (um…yay?) but it doesn’t wreck you. Leaves you able to take the punches, rock back a bit, regroup and move on…

And moving on, it’s time to take this energy and go play with my girls.

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