Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Clinical Depression & Psychotherapy



Have I ever mentioned that I love the Ramones?

This is a learning moment. As I have been writing over the last year or so, I have begun to think again about the past and how it is once more restructuring itself. This is only because more and more information becomes available. It is also because more and more, relationships undergo changes, and because it is easier to actually look at the past without all of the anxiety and emotional hangovers that were always attached to my visions of the past.

I have had many bouts of "depression", or what I now know is clearly what they call "clinical depression". It was only after my last episode back in 2003 that I finally began to look back and actually see when I had specific bouts. Surprisingly, when I saw my 1st psychiatrist when I was 20, I was at the tail end of a cycle. What surprised me was that I could actually pinpoint how long it took me to get out of the depression - three years. I shortcircuited a number of them, but nevertheless, they were very specific. When my psychotherapist sent me to the doctor in 2003, for the first time I finally agreed to think about an "anti-depressant". In the 24 hours that I waited to see my doctor, I was calm enough to think about the past and when she asked me if this had ever happened before, I could say, not only "yes, but when she suggested Paxil, I said, "why not?" - if I didn't have to spend 3 years climbing out the hellhole that I was in, I'd give it a try - better 3 months than 3 years.

Serotonin reuploaders are just fine with me. To me, it is the equivalent of getting B12 shots, taking iron pills, or getting blood transfusions. I had always refused to take any kind of anti-depressant (and thank god for that), and thus had to work my way out of the depressions with great, great difficulty. The causes were clear (see previous blogs). The problem is that, if one has inherited the genetic predisposition for serotonin imbalance when under extreme stress, then, the clinical depression sets in and down the rabbit hole we go. As I can attest to, it is possible to get the serotonin working properly again over a lengthy period of time with a good therapist, etc. However, to never have to enter that hell again, is one of the blessings of science. There was always the fear that one day, I would not be able to climb out of the hole and would die.

For someone who wants to live forever, the idea of willfully losing my life is scary beyond belief. For example, I have to know what is going to happen in Dollhouse. I want to see my great grandchildren; I haven't gone to India or Nepal or Tibet (actually anywhere in the Indian subcontinent); I still need to see the pyramids; and I want to live in Japan for a while. I also want to see if they every manage to create transporters for real - space travel - there is soooooooooooo much and I will probably not get to live that long - but let me die one day in my sleep. So in the end, thank science for serotonin reuploaders.

To try and explain clinical depression is difficult (but see the blogs below). It is not just "being depressed" and "not knowing where to turn". There is a lot of truth that comes out of the psyche; and there is no control over the pain and helplessness and hopelessness that one feels - and it is constant. I can feel it, even now and I know that it is not what most people think depression is. It is a place that I never want to go to again.

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