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Saturday, December 28, 2013

We All Have A Secret - Here Is Mine

   
Those who read my short story last week will see the metaphorical reasons for why I put this picture here.

A few months ago I wrote a blog about an issue that I had developed with alcohol in the past and how I overcame that issue.  I still get emails concerning that particular piece and it remains one of the most popular blogs I have ever written, but I held off on the remainder of the story because I have always been apprehensive about where it would leave one's mind to make false assumptions about my character.  Some people have told me that it is stupid for me to tell the world about my struggles and battles and, with that should employ a more stringent filter when it comes to writing about myself.  The thing is, I do have a filter and I do try my hardest to keep anyone else in my life out of the subject matter of the more personal posts.   I tell you these stories about my life because of the responses I get from people I don't know.  Until you open yourself up and let some people in a bit, you have no idea who else takes solace in knowing they are not alone in a fight which is similar to your own.  Until a complete stranger confides in you and shares a similar story after doing a Google search and finding someone they can identify with through an experience posted online, you will never understand.  What am I talking about?  Hardly anyone knows about this, not even my parents, but they read these, so they're about to find out.  It's time I make mention of it.
  
 In 2009, I went to the doctor because something didn't feel right with me.  My daily life had become unreasonably difficult to deal with even though nothing in particular had provoked me to feel such a way.   I assumed I had some sort of virus which was making me nervous and worn out all the time as my motivation to do most things was also beginning to lag.  Going from living as a person of moderate energy to feeling as a useless and on-edge lump didn't sit well with me at all, but after some tests, I was found to be physically healthy.  I couldn't make any sense of it at that point and my PCP sent me to a specialist I didn't want to see who ended up giving me a diagnosis I didn't accept.  Two weeks later, I went back for a second opinion from a different doctor and she confirmed the same thing which I finally had to absorb that day - I have clinical depression.
  
 I never believed depression was a real thing.  As far as I was concerned, depression was an excuse made up by people who wanted to blame their problems on a condition and they could just snap out of it if they actually cared enough to try.  After the first opinion, weeks of research, and concluding with the second opinion, I realized just how wrong my ignorant assessment really was.  If you haven't experienced it, chances are you will never understand what the results and effects actually are.  Telling someone to go get help or express their feelings only gets them so far when they live with it on a daily basis because as anyone who carries this with them knows, it really isn't that simple.
   
During my last year in Seminary I didn't retain much but I did gain something valuable from my psychology professor.  After class one day, she and I talked about my diagnosis and I showed her the prescription I was written for a certain drug to fight my issue.  A prescription I had never filled.  Anyone who knows me is probably aware that I don't touch drugs, legal or not, and even over the counter medications are pushing it for me, so I was going to fight whatever I could to keep that prescription unfilled.  She and I talked that day, through email, as well as after class each week and doing so eventually helped me figure out the steps I could take to regulate my depression without being medicated.  Just like anything else, the method isn't foolproof, but I have brought it as near to perfection as I ever will at this point.  A good estimation on my end would be that I am completely stable ninety-nine percent of the time over the span of a year with that one percent breakdown popping up at some point, all at once. 
  
 The funny thing about all of this is how my perceptions of certain issues have changed after going through them.  I saw having a drinking problem as something to just get over and only trashy, irresponsible people had such a thing happen to them - until I developed a drinking problem of my own.  Depression was something which was a myth and only emo kids and lazy adults cried wolf about a fake disease as a means of gaining sympathy - until I figured out I had the issue myself.  I hate the "walk a mile in their shoes" analogy, but that's the best imagery I can come up with to support what I now see as someone who has been through those situations.  The thing is, I never complained and I never told anyone about either of my problems when they were at their worst because I assumed if I would keep my mouth shut, they would just eventually subside on their own.  
They don't.
   
Everyone fights something everyday.  I fought alcohol for a while, but now I don't fight it at all because I don't miss drinking, nor does being around it bother me in the slightest.  Depression, though?  I live that every single day, but I can fight it off entirely the vast majority of the time.  People say I'm too positive or the things I write about, post on Facebook, or tell people in person can't possibly be genuine because nobody actually thinks in such a way, but I promise, it's all real.  All of that is a part of my coping mechanism and my self-regulated therapy.  When I tell other people the value I see in them or make a well-meaning gesture towards someone, it helps me, even though most people don't appreciate those instances.  Trying and knowing I made an effort is what makes the difference to me; for every one positive impact I make with someone, there are at least five misses without gratitude in return, but I really don't care anymore.  That is how I stay "normal".

Why did I say this?
Why right now?


   As I mentioned before, ninety-nine percent of the time I can keep myself stable, but over the past day and even as I type this, I am in my one percent of being broken for no reason.  This is the point in time where I start to question things far too much and when I feel alone and need somebody because I feel scared and alone and can't shake the feeling, but I'm laying in my bed, writing to clear my mind and hoping I will wake up tomorrow (when you are reading this now) in a much better state, but I won't know for sure until then. 

I want to help people and I want them to have someone they can relate to, so maybe someone out there will read this and find it comforting that they are not alone.  Maybe someone who doesn't understand will finally be able to make sense of it and not leave someone who needs them in the dark to fight by themselves.
Why?
Because I get it now.

Maybe this post will get lost in the blogosphere and nobody will read it because it is too long.
Sometimes you have to take a chance and just be real to everyone, on the same level, because what good is it to have a story if you keep it to yourself?

Grace and Peace,
-Drew

 -Add me.  Stalk me.  Tweet me.  I really don't mind.-
Twitter:  @JDrewSilvers
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5 comments:

  1. nice post drew - hope you're feeling better today - happy new year !

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  2. Came over here from Jalopnik. I suffer from clinical depression too. Was diagnosed with it in July of 2010. In September of 2010 I had a motorcycle accident which left me with a broken leg, and I had no medical insurance. A month later my work contract wasn't renewed. I had savings, which I thought I could live off for the 6 months or so while my leg healed. I couldn't get another job, and lost my home in Aug 2011. 2012 and 2013 was when I sunk into the depths, wholesale. Lots of late nights thinking about ways to end it. My kids (I have sole custody) knew something was wrong, but didn't know how to help. I was lucky in having a girlfriend, and other friends, who stood by me. Things are slowly looking up now, and I hope they get better, because that is all I have, hope. I hope you win your fight against depression, as I hope to win mine.

    Regards

    MK

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the message. It's nice to identify with people on the good or the bad end of the climb. I'm happy you're still here and fighting instead of taking the wrong way out and I hope you keep improving. I'm a person who understands what you're going through, so if you want to talk to someone who doesn't know you personally, which really can help, don't be a stranger and shoot me an email. I'll listen to whatever you have to say and give you input if you ask for it. drewcoustic@gmail.com

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  3. No, you're definitely not alone. Funny how I randomly come across this, at this very point in my life. Coincidence? Probably, but helpful nonetheless. Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. I'm happy you got something out of it. Shoot me an email anytime if you want. Like I said, I get it and I'll listen if that's what you need. Hang in there. drewcoustic@gmail.com

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