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For Jerrold depression felt like a “living death” – That although he was alive, he felt like a walking-corpse, and joy always seemed out-of-reach. His experience of depression included a constant reminiscing about the painful events that happened in the past as well as dark thoughts about the present and future, which stirred his feelings of self-pity, anguish, lethargy, and despair. Jerrold felt that in these situations, he always needed the people around him to provide him with support and motivation, but he also felt that his dependence on others worsened his condition.
When Jerrold was a young man in High School, he sought-out the kinds of people who had access to drugs and alcohol and who would accept him without judgment. He recognized that drugs and alcohol would create a shift in his emotional state that would assist him with experiencing instant strength and confidence, where he says that “I found my first love in drugs [. . .] I could get almost anything and loved what they did for me. They gave me instant confidence they made me feel good for the first time in my life.” And why not, he thinks – “Why else do you think anyone would seek out these drugs that give someone instant confidence. Isn't that something that we should have anyways?”
Which Path to Choose?
He managed to get through school and eventually found himself working with the U.S. Airforce, but that didn’t seem quite right for him, and he tried to take a small-time sales job, which he didn’t take too far as a career. The drug-use continued, and he eventually found that his patterns of behavior needed to change - His father was a successful physician, so he reached out to him for help, and he was admitted into a full-service psychiatric treatment center. During that time he found himself craving anything that would change his state, where cigarettes and even antihistamines, an allergy medication, could help him to feel something different, which is something that he was constantly craving - A feeling of something different.
However, he was also able to regularly met with therapists and took antidepressant medications while experiencing the highly structured life of a psychiatric treatment community, and the one thing that seemed to shift his perspective was an encounter with a friend who exposed him to the power of art and music, which helped him to open his mind and connect with his heart. “It was interesting being around all the crazy people. Some of them were amazing artists. It was like being in elementary school.“ Although he felt that he had perhaps reached a stage in his life where he had screwed everything up through accumulating debts and his other actions, he recognized that a shift in his attitude was the one thing that he could control. In the end, it was he who chose to pick himself up by the boot-straps and help himself. After a period of 26 months in the treatment center, he changed his treatment to out-patient, left, and began to turn his life around.
Since moving forward in a positive way and establishing a sense of independence for himself, he believes that everybody needs to communicate honestly and openly in order to lift the collective depression that afflicts humankind - Social connection, engagement, and honest, authentic connection seem to be key for Jerrold as he explains that “We really need to have people around us that love us. We have to let them in and tell the truth about our position in life.”
- Anonymous Contributor
The name of the subject of this article is referred to as "Jerrold" for the sake of anonymity, and the original first-person story may be found at the following link: