I thought that “every one feels this way”, until a few years ago, after twenty four hours of intensive testing, a psychiatrist and a psychologist told me that I was clinically and chronically depressed.
Certainly my life has been filled with periods of deep darkness and overwhelming sadness. They come and they go.
It’s been like that for about a month now, though I felt the approach of this darkness as early as last December.
The darkness does not come alone. With it come additional unwelcome guests.
A feeling that one’s life amounts to nothing
A belief that previous achievements and accomplishments have been worthless
A constant mental rehearsal of all one’s previous failures
A sense that one is a fraud
A desire to be alone, as “people are no damn good”, they’ll always let you down
A struggle to accomplish normal activities
An increased need/desire for sleep
A desire to go to sleep, and never wake up
Wanting to weep, but being unable to do so.
I’ve tried various antidotes
Alcohol was the worst, as it was in itself a depressant
Prayer - but this is not a helpful option when the very question of G-d is moot
Medication (I’ve been using Citalopram for four years, but sometimes it does not kick-in)
Talk therapy. This is the best provided the therapist listens more than she/he talks
Physical exercise - a very helpful antidote
At the moment I am eating very wisely, not snacking at all, and exercising daily. I probably need talk therapy, but it can be quite expensive.
I do know that depression comes as an uninvited guest, and in due course chooses to leave. This too shall pass.
Many years ago a very astute woman came to see me in my office in Pittsfield. She was facing many problems - none of her own making.
She began, and after a few minutes, I rushed into my “male mode”, and began to give her advice.
She drew herself up in her chair and said “Michael Povey, I did not come here for your advice. I can figure these situations out on my own. I came here because I wanted you to listen to me”.
Point well taken.
So I have written this with four hopes
First - that you do not give me advice
Second - that you do not say “I am praying for you” That’s not what I need
Third- that if any readers of this also endure depression you will know that you are not alone
Fourth - in the hope that you have “listened”, but that you do not feel the need to say anything
Just as long as you have heard me.