flagrantly violating copyright for the sake of the brain
moxiegirl pointed out this Glob article from a few days ago. This gentleman, in his 80s, is a regular Globe correspondent. His wife died a year or so ago after a long battle with Alzheimer's. He writes an amazingly articulate and contextual account of what it's like to live with depression and attempt to treat it. He explains it well enough, for those who've never really experienced or understood it, to hopefully give them a glimpse into what goes on in these chemically-imbalanced brains.
Depression's darkness comes and goes without warning By Donald M. Murray, Globe Correspondent | October 24, 2006
And then on a sunny day, having lunch with new friends and old, just after saying I was happier than I have ever been, I step on an elephant trap and tumble down into the blackness of despair, my arms and legs wildly reaching out in the hope of finding something to slow my fall.
I play the faker game for the rest of the lunch, make myself appear to listen, force a laugh when the others laugh, nod as if I understand, gather the cloak of silence around me and smile.
Of course, I know my sudden melancholy is irrational. That's the definition of depression: irrational sadness. We all have good reason to be sad, but depression is far beyond sadness.
I will never forget the day 10 years ago when I was 72. I was reading on our porch that had windows on three sides. And then I was leaning over studying my shoe laces as if they contained eternal truth.
The sun darkened, the ceiling lowered, and I was in a land I had never visited.
I had always been optimistic, the glass brimming over. Even in the terrible months of mourning after we lost our 20-year-old daughter Lee, I had never felt anything like this.
I went immediately to a psychiatrist who made the wrong diagnosis but gave me the right pill. It was miraculous. I timed it. Ninety seconds and the darkness disappeared.
My three sessions with him were a Woody Allen movie. He was the patient, I was the doctor. Then I found Dr. Mary Wilson and when she no longer practiced here, Dr. Ken Cohen. I feel they literally have saved my life -- again and again -- as my brain responded differently to my changing health and my ever - changing medications.
Naturally I feel guilty. I should be able to snap out of it, pick myself up by the bootstraps (a pretty picture, that), and soldier on without my daily pills.
I look to Sally Cohen and Rick Robbins, who have found an unexpected happiness. It doesn't help today, but it will. I look to other neighbor mentors who have been here in this darkness and moved on to light. They will help. Tomorrow or the day after.
Those we live with often do not understand our unpredictable withdrawal. Minnie Mae never understood and felt I was a wimp to go to a psychiatrist.
Can I tell when depression is going to visit? No. I'm vulnerable when I wake up, which I'm told is unusual, and in late afternoon, which is typical.
Each night I plan the next day's activities so I can force myself into action the next morning even if it takes me an hour or more to dress.
Ever Mr. Pollyanna, I tell myself that depression reminds me of the good life I have constructed. Without dark there would be no light, without sadness no joy, without silence no conversation.
I doze and wake with a funny feeling. Perhaps it is -- can I trust it? -- happiness.