Sarah vs. Evil Overlord Depression

I don’t remember exactly when I first started suffering from depression. It was probably around junior high.

Back then, depression would waltz in and out of my life. It would stick around for a few days or weeks, then it would leave, and it would forget to call, and good riddance!

When I started dating my abusive ex-boyfriend at age 16, depression decided to crash on the futon for a few weeks. Those weeks turned into months…

…and years.

The first two years involved many a prayer to “vending machine Jesus.” You know–insert prayer, receive blessings. But it seemed like either my prayers were too wrinkled to be accepted, or my blessings were getting stuck in the dispenser.

Eventually, my Baptist school girl logic came to the conclusion that, “God must freaking hate me.” That type of thinking drove me straight into the open arms of self-injury. 

In college, I stopped believing in”vending machine Jesus” when I met real Jesus. When I prayed to real Jesus, he answered my prayers by sticking Bible passages like 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 in my head. That really annoyed me. Sometimes real Jesus seemed like a real jerk to me.

But he loved me more than any vending machine ever could, and so I followed him.

Still, depression lingered, playing World of Warcraft in the basement of my mind.

So I switched my focus. My philosophy became, “Since Jesus isn’t a vending machine, and it doesn’t look like he’s going to fix this problem, I just need to get over it.”

Image via counter-force.com

At this point, I imagine depression letting out one of those super-villain laughs and saying (in an Invader ZiM voice for some reason), “Puny human! You really think you can defeat ME?”

But I had a case of good ol’ under-dog syndrome, and was certain that I was some kind of unlikely hero that, armed only with courage and maybe some wise advice from a friendly Muppet, could beat the evil over-lord, Depression

I did better than one might expect. I put up a good fight. I even got the upper hand now and then. But about a year ago, depression dealt dealt me a pretty tough blow and left me for dead.

Broken and utterly defeated.

The past eight years of my life, since depression first showed up on my doorstep, have been a struggle. But I can’t say the past year has been a struggle because I barely have the energy to get out of bed, let alone fight off an evil overlord.

But yesterday, I finally admitted that I wasn’t an unlikely hero in a sci-fi movie. I finally admitted that I am a human. A human with an illness that needs treatment. A human that cannot defeat depression through will-power anymore than a cancer patient can remove tumors using positive thinking.

I finally realized, as Allie Brosh said in a fantastic post that she wrote yesterday, “Trying to use will-power to overcome the apathetic sort of sadness that accompanies depression is like a person with no arms trying to punch themselves until their hands grow back…”

So, I went to the doctor.  I asked for help, and I didn’t get pity or judgment in return.

I got solutions.

I’m sure my fight with depression is far from over. But for the first time in years, I remember what hope feels like.

It feels good.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1451889918 Elizabeth Ana Hardy

    Good for you! I’ll be praying for you and your doctor to find a good plan of action. :)

    • http://moonchild11.wordpress.com moonchild11

      Thank you! I’m going to start taking Zoloft and hopefully that will help me enough so that I can start going to counseling again without getting too anxious about it!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1451889918 Elizabeth Ana Hardy

        Good. :)

      • Kris

        I don’t want to discourage you at all! I just needed to let you know that Zoloft caused me to gain weight. I was so “bad off” at the time that I honestly didn’t care. Unfortunately, I gained 2-3 lbs every couple of weeks. By the time I stopped Zoloft I had gained….50 lbs. Yikes! I know that non-depressed people would say, “Why didn’t you just switch meds after the first 15 lbs or so, for gosh sakes?” Well, those of us who battle depression know the answer…I was suffering the first truly debilitating episode of my life. The Zoloft helped. I took it and stayed in bed. I have not gotten the weight off, after over 5 years. The recurrent depressive episodes have made consistent exercise nearly impossible. The obesity makes me so angry. At myself. At family, At care providers; shouldn’t they have noticed? But, I choose to forgive us all and move forward. I have given up wheat (and read the label; wheat is in everything, especially prepared foods and sauces! Like jars of gravy and cans of soup.) I also am going easy on the dairy and sugar (my 2 depression favorites!) I have lost 3 lbs. Well, it’s a start. Oh, how I wish you the best! YOU GO GIRL! You are strong and beautiful. Good for you.

        P.S. Counseling is such an ally. Even when you have to drag yourself…I recommend that you never miss it!

    • connie

      is there real help for depression I;ve had it most of my life as far as I can remember. I hylucinate I smell things I can’t describe they come and go. it’s scary. anyone any suggestions? my name is connie thank u

  • http://mosaicsynapse.blogspot.com/ Pam

    This is such a great description of depression. Thanks, Sarah.

    And keep going — you know I’m pulling for you.

    • http://moonchild11.wordpress.com moonchild11

      Thanks for the support!

  • http://www.gatebeautiful.ca Bekka

    Depression is such an unwelcome guest… I’m glad that you fought for as long as you did, and that you recognized when it was time to bring in reinforcements.

    Thank you for sharing your journey.

    • http://moonchild11.wordpress.com moonchild11

      yes! reinforcements! I hope they don’t let me down.

  • http://www.travismamone.net Travis Mamone

    That’s great! I’m still trying to figure out what to do with my depression.

    • http://moonchild11.wordpress.com moonchild11

      Thanks! I hope you find a plan of action that works for you!

  • http://faithandfood.morizot.net/ Scott Morizot

    I knew the symptoms of depression. When I began to suffer from it, my first reaction was: This is nuts! Things are going better for me than they have virtually my whole life. And now I’m depressed?!? (Well, my earliest memory is being thrown against a refrigerator and having my left femur snap. So take that with a grain of salt.) So I went several years try to will myself out of depression. It didn’t work. Medication had some other undesirable side effects, but it broke that grip.

    I’m not on medication anymore. Turns out my depression was caused by the double whammy of undiagnosed sleep apnea and undiagnosed celiac disease. But I know the distortion depression introduces. And it can’t be dispelled even when you know you have no reason to be depressed, much less when you do.

  • Jacqueline

    Hello Connie. I’ve been depressed for years and also “sort of” have hallucinations that are more like dizzy spells and light headedness that cause me to feel really “out there,” and unable to concentrate or think clearly at all which is caused by stress, anxiety, unhappiness, lonliness, hormonal fluctuations and general body weakness that all seems to come along right after particularly bad bouts of all of the above and then I end up completely flattened and unable to even get out of bed. I also have smell issues and I think you should ask yourself questions like, how old am I and how could hormones be affecting me? I believe you should also check your blood pressure as low blood pressure can cause these symptoms too but not too many health practitioners seem to understand the life of a person with low blood pressure is not always as good as many seem to believe it is as high blood pressure takes the spotlight in health. When dealing with depression it is important to isolate each issue you feel in your body as many times after stress, anxiety, tension, sadness and despair our body becomes seriously depleted of vital nutrients and minerals which then lead to bodily symptoms that frighten and confuse us even more until we end up feeling like we are just a swirling, dark mass of confusion and unhappiness and pain. I’ve found that once I look at each pain, or problem all by itself I am then more able to cope with them all on the whole instead of feeling utterly overwhelmed by a myriad of issue after issue after issue piled one on top of the other until you feel like you have no idea where to even start to help yourself at all and this just compounds the terribleness of it all.

    I recently discovered a very good website that discusses the effects of hormonal imbalance at various stages of a womans life on the sense of smell and was so overjoyed to discover that I was not dying second by second entirely from depression/unhappiness which is what I usually tend to do first instead of calming my tired self and taking one thing at a time. When I get really unhappy I notice that my neck glands are up, my eyes burn, my skin is irritated, shooting pains shoot up my legs, dull aches are also felt in my legs, I get hayfever which is just earth shatteringly taxing on my entire body. I thought I was just dying slowly from depression and unhappiness but I’ve isolated each one and have solved many of these issues. For example, I realized that the (cheap) shoes I was wearing were having a REALLY bad affect on my posture which then caused my leg and knee joints to suffer and hurt. I’ve changed shoes now and the pain that was there getting worse everyday is healing now, THANK GOD. And after many, many years of wandering around in the dark about the hayfever I’ve isolated 3 main causes; mould spores, clothes washing detergent (or any other similar cleaning chemical) and dust mites so now I can avoid all of those and reduce the occurrences of the hayfever, THANK GOD. So my message to you is; isolate one thing at a time, deal with one thing at a time, be kind and gentle and loving to yourself coz not many others are going to be, and rest your body and mind and heart and soul when you really need to. Just lie down for half an hour in a quiet place. Don’t push yourself to collapse and when you are overwhelmed just say this prayer to God over and over again until you are no longer thinking about your problems, your unhappiness or your body pains, “Dear God, please full me with your love, light and life. Dear God please fill me with your love light and life,” over and over while you imagine God is the biggest, brightest warm white light imaginable and the light emanating from the divine source of everything is filling your body, flowing through every skin cell into your bones, your heart, your head, everywhere until Gods light has totally filled your entire being, then you look at the light and see it, feel it is love flowing through you renewing your own life force within.
    That’s the only way I’ve survived this life on this earth, is by doing this little prayer, over and over again, especially whenever I was really badly confused and depressed. It works everytime. God never lets me down when I ask for these things. Dear God please fill me with your love, life and light. Then with this prayer God brings an added bonus – PEACE – even for just a while.

  • eden_restored4all

    To Jacqueline:
    I couldn’t have put it better myself. It’s good to know that there are others who realise the significance of proper diet and lifestyle in relation to mental health. I worked in the health service for 17 years and I know how destructive some drugs can be. Even though they help in acute situations, their long term use is more destructive than restorative to the human body. The main objective of drug companies is to make money, not to cure sickness.

  • Kris

    Connie:

    There is a LOT of help for you. I pray you have some kind of insurance or can pay cash. If so, open the Yellow Pages, pick a Psychiatrist, pick up the phone and make an appt. with him/her. You have to find out if it’s Depression only, Bi-Polar (mix of Depression and Mania), or another mental illness. I understand your fear!!! I am sure everyone here understands it, very well. I have changes in my taste buds (not smell) and I have hallucinated, like you. The first step is to see a real medical expert. You might be anxious as can be, but you will be SO relieved you went. The doctor might be able to diagnose your disorder that 1st visit. Mine did (and it was 9.5 yrs ago.) I would think yours will too. Think of the relief of simply knowing…it helps to know that it is a treatable condition, that prolly millions also deal with it, and that you can do a LOT to combat it and maybe not even experience the hallucinations or weird smells anymore, via meds. God bless you! I am pulling for you. I know we all are. I will pray for you. Just take the first step…the good ol’ Yellow Pages (or Google, of course!) Love to you!!!


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