A First Encounter With Depression
It was all about five years ago when Carl first came to recognize that he was experiencing panic attacks and depression. He had been to more than 10 doctors and still had not succeeded in shifting his state – They each offered him a variety of medications such as Zoloft, Prozac, Effexor, and others, but none of them seemed to work. For Carl it was painful to describe his experience of depression with others who had never had the experience, and life became a living nightmare. Carl’s first encounter with depression was not with himself but with a classmate. She was the girl next-door who he would sometimes help with math problems but rarely spoke with in casual social settings, so he didn’t know much about her personal life. However, he learned a great deal more when she killed herself and read the newspaper obituary about how she lost her 4-year battle with depression with an act of suicide.
The next time that he encountered depression was when he experienced the state in his own mind. He and his mother had become homeless, were living on food stamps, and began selling their used appliances in order to buy 1-dollar burritos at the local Taco Bell. He slept poorly, avoided school, and found himself unable to function at work, describing himself as a walking corpse with a constant background chatter of negative thoughts that impacted his self-esteem.
Visiting the Doctor
One of the most important things for him was when he went to the doctor’s office for a visit. Carl’s mental and emotional state was through the floor as he found himself unable to take a flight of 10-stairs and instead took the handicapped elevator and blocked a man in a wheelchair from having priority access – He felt that he simply didn’t care about others any more. Just before his appointment began he was contemplating how upset he was with needing to pay a physician to treat what he considered to be a serious disability, because he was out of cash and out of work. In a state of anger he saw a sad-looking man walk out of the Doctor’s office carrying a box of Cymbalta antidepressants in hand and felt the urge to grab the man’s pills to throw them out of the window out of spite, but he didn’t quite know where these feelings came from.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
The psychiatrist was impartial and unemotional when they first met, which aggravated him, but he scanned through the routine paperwork that Carl had filled-out and recommended a course of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), where Carl would learn to shape his end his negative thoughts and replace them with more accurate thoughts.
Carl recognized that this illness can seriously disrupt people’s lives, and he suggests that people recognize depression before it’s too late while urging others that suicide is not the answer. He is not certain as to why people experience a stigma associated with this condition, and he believes that speaking about one’s experience is a critical component of moving out of this painful state and into states of balance and well-being. He believes that he can and will recover and return to become the person that he was prior to the onset of these depressive states, and he is motivated to break through the depression due to the young girl he remembers from school. Any time that he thinks about suicide as an option, he remembers the young girl in class who he knew so little about – In fact, he is driven to find a solution because of his reflective compassion for that person who could have been saved.
The subject of this article is referred to as “Carl” for the sake of anonymity. http://www.experienceproject.com/stories/Am-Apart-Of-The-Depression-Epidemic/771657
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