Thursday, October 06, 2005

Depression I


Warning: What follows is a rather personal and emotional post. Read at your own risk.

First, I want to thank those of you who left words of support and encouragement to my last post. While a small message may seem insignificant, it is something tangible one can hang a bit of hope on.

As I have mentioned before, I have been getting acupuncture treatments since late August. I never really mentioned what lead me to get acupuncture in the first place. Some of you may have guessed that it had to do with the tension and stress that I often complain about in this space. You would be partially correct. I do tend to stress too much for my own good and I carry that tension in my back and shoulders. Massage has proven helpful in the short run, but it seems to be treating the symptoms and not the cause. So I decided to see if this alternative form would help address this problem.

My real motivation, however, was my attempt to battle a beast that has plagued me for most of my life: depression. And a horrid beast it is. It lives deep inside of you, haunting your thoughts and emotions without you realizing it. I have tried confronting it directly, ignoring it, trying to marginalize it – all without much success. It is a monster that can lie quietly for extended period of times, lulling you into a sense of complacency. When you least expect it, though, it ambushes you.

What does this beast look like? It is hard to say, for it evolves, often camouflaging itself so that you can’t readily identify it or blending itself into other concerns and emotions. Currently, my feelings are of intense sadness, hopelessness, lack of self-worth, and feeling overwhelmed. I have had episodes of crying and withdrawal. I have not made any plans for harming myself, and right now I would doubt that I would. Death, however, feels like an escape and I even have had dreams of dying. So far, my depression has not interfered with my teaching other than a lack of preparation and enthusiasm. It has, however, distracted me from my writing and research. Worst of all, it has affected the interaction I have with Sara and this disturbs me a great deal.

I have written a history of my struggles with depression. I still have not decided whether I want to post it or not. It is rather personal and I am not sure whether I want it floating “out there”. My condition is something I have tried to hide, even from myself, so airing out might be difficult for me. This post is a beginning.

Yesterday and today have brought about a more optimistic outlook as I take one day at a time and try to take the small steps in a positive direction. I still have a long way to go, though. As for the acupuncture, it has worked well for the physical conditions I was looking to treat. However, I have felt the feeling of depression increase since I began. The practitioner said that this might happen as the negative energy that I have been carrying around begins to lift. At this point I will continue with the treatments, but I do feel that I need to address my issues with a more traditional (from a medical perspective) methods as well.

I have decided that I will try to write more about this process and my thoughts as I proceed with this struggle. Again, I may post these or not. I am still not sure. Whatever I decide to do, I will, however, keep you informed as to my general progress.

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