My Latest Battle With Depression

Some of you know that depression kicked my ass about 8 weeks ago. I just woke up one day and couldn’t get out of bed. If it wasn’t for my wife, I would definitely be giving Brian Wilson a run for his money. (For you youngsters, Brian stayed in bed for a full year). Also, I just felt like I wanted to die. Not kill myself, just allow myself to succumb to a massive coronary or something.

I ended up in a outpaitient program for 6 weeks. (initially, they told me it would be 3. Hence, I was twice as crazy as they thought I was). Anyway, it was one of the best experiences I have ever had in my life. What I thought would be a daily episode of Springer with crazy people beating the crap out of each other was just the opposite.

To my amazement, all of these people in tremendous pain, were so kind and generous it was overwhelming at first. They could so easily see others pain but could not tap into their own for some reason. This really resonated with me. However, as they shared their stories, I could see my own issues coming into much clearer view. I certainly was ashamed and embarrassed to be there, at first, but it may have been one of the best things to ever happen to me.

So, TL, does this story have a happy ending? Kind of. I have a great cast of loving and supportive friends and family. However, I do suffer from chronic depression and I don’t think it is something that is really “cured”. It’s a constant work in progress. My hope is, before I fall of a cliff again, is that I see the behaviors that led me to such a dark place. I can live with that. The common theme in therapy was, “If this is as good as life gets, I just don’t want to be here anymore”. I am hopeful it will get better but I also appreciate that a lot of work goes into that.

We just need 3 things to have a great life. Love ourselves, love others, and allow ourselves to be loved… all unconditionally. Pretty simple, eh? Of course the devil is in the details. I can tell you this. Beating on yourself relentlessly is exhausting. In a group setting, you can see the fatigue on all of our faces. Depression is a grind, it’s hard. It’s also real. As real as a broken arm. My hope is that, if you are depressed, you seek help. Don’t be afraid or ashamed. You deserve to be whole. We all do. TL

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10 Responses to My Latest Battle With Depression

  1. JillsyGirl Studio says:

    I think we all deal with depression somewhere along the line. I do have my days and it comes out in anxiety. So glad to hear that your “camp days” did you well. And just for the record…50 ain’t that bad, TL, although it does tend to make us think of our mortality more than in our more youthful years. I think the baby boomer generation has a more difficult time with “aging” than our parents generation. Just my analysis. Thanks for sharing this!

    • tannerleah says:

      J-Girl – As I get older I think of the line, “I am old but still a child”. Sure, I’m sexy as hell for 50 but it is wearing on me. If people could only love me for my mind instead of my body. *sigh* Thanks for always being a good listener.

  2. Dahling,
    Thank you so much for sharing this. We tend to talk about depression in such hushed tones, as if it is this horrible stigma. And, it’s really a common occurrence.
    I wish that I had something pithy to say, but all I can say is that I think you’re a great guy. Brave. Scathingly brilliant and an excellent writer.
    hugs-Walker

    • tannerleah says:

      Says the superior brave, scathingly brilliant, excellent writer. If only our fan clubs weren’t so mutually exclusive. I really do hate the way all mental illness is portrayed in society. No wonder people refuse to seek help. Thanks for the hugs but watch the hands next time.

  3. Cathy says:

    My heart goes out to you, Tanner. I have lived with depression for nearly 20 years now. Just over 15 years ago I had a major meltdown and have never been the same since. Then, nearly two years ago, the death of my beloved dog set me on a major downward spiral; I was back to seeing my psychiatrist every other week to the tune of $200 per hr (un-reimbursed by ins, but worth it). I am now doing quite a bit better, but still protect myself by avoiding those situations which I know will exacerbate the stress and sadness, which means, basically, cutting myself off from all but my immediate family. Dog knows there’s enough stress there (LOL), but heck, what can I say, I love them and they love me and, when it comes down to it, that’s all there is, right? I’ve been on anti-depressants for 20 years, have tried going off of them a couple of times, but realize that I will be on them for the rest of my life, which I can live with, as the alternative is too horrific to contemplate. My depression came on within six weeks of suffering a major strep infection (ears and throat). Prior to that, I had always thought people suffering from depression just needed a change in attitude. Ha! Well, the joke sure was on me. Thereafter, I began calling myself “The Poster Child for Depression” as, if it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. Depression is NOT a personal short-coming or failure, it is a very real malady that can strike anyone at any time in their life. So I salute you in being upfront about your battle, we need to help take away the stigma of mental illness. Hang in there, you are not alone. I send you my empathy and caring..

    • tannerleah says:

      Cathy – That was simply beautiful. I have come to meet so many people with similar issues hiding in plain site because no one wants to get involved and acknowledge their pain. I suppose it’s because your pain is my pain and who needs that? I wish I could do more to help others but, as you know, we are handcuffed in many ways by ourselves. In any case, I thank you for being here and sharing your relatable story. Here’s to all of our continued journeys…

  4. elizabeth3hersh says:

    I would like to echo Walker in “thank you for sharing” your experience. I hope you found it cathartic and empowering to share/divulge/own this dark event that seemed to have seized and possessed you quite out of the blue. So happy to hear of the restorative support you received from family/friends/colleagues and for the valuable insight gained via therapy. The greatest fringe benefit I get from my study of cosmology is perspective. The universe and it’s wonders fill me with awe and I occasionally use that awe to leverage joy and life affirmation with events evoking sheer and utter despondency. I think I rarely get depressed because I am so full of piss-and-vinegar. I honestly believe my ‘anger management’ issues keeps my mood in check (of course, I often have to deal with my vein bulging, squinty-eyed, ballistic mode). I guess we all have something. Humor is a wonderful outlet for any kind of pain. And that, you do exceptionally well Mr. Tannerleah! Looking forward to more posts!

    P.S. Interesting post on the (questionable) efficacy of anti-depressants:

    http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/02/05/newsweek-do-antidepressants-work-for-many-people-yes/

    • tannerleah says:

      Thank you, Liz. I respect your fascination with live. I think it is healthy and likely does get you through some tougher times. (Along with the girls, of course). As much as I hate depression, I hate ignorance and shame even more. Are you hearing me religion? I don’t like being depressed but I can’t live with being a hypocrite and liar. (Well, more than just a little sometimes).

      Maybe writing will come back to me but I am not trying to force it just yet.

  5. GP says:

    Sorry to hear about your bout with depression but glad to see you back on the blog. I think it’s true that often with great wit and humor there is an underlying sadness. Hope you have better days ahead!

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