4/14/2008

Depression

Depression is an illness that strikes 1 in 10 Americans at least once in their lifetime. Also, baby boomers, such as myself, are more apt to suffer from depression than young adults, a major shift in depression age distribution, according to WebMD. Also according to WebMD.com, women, Native Americans, widowed, separated, or divorced men and women suffer from depression. I can identify with the divorced men mentioned in this report.

After my divorce, I went into a period where I really didn't want to get out of bed in the morning. I saw there was nothing to look forward to each day. Inasmuch as my life changed dramatically with marriage, my life changed far more with my divorce. I was neglecting my personal hygiene, I was rejecting friends and family and for the first time I can recall, I questioned my faith in God. During this 6-9 month period when I basically felt sorry for myself, I gained weight, got into arguments with friends and strangers over basically stupid, silly things. I also was suffering from anxiety attacks. I know this is strange, but whenever I was caught up in traffic (as is the case quite often in Mobile, AL these days) I got this incredibly strong urge to go do #2. I seriously thought I was going to crap all over myself in the car and got lightheaded, dizzy. This happened repeatedly until I finally broke down and went to see my family doctor.

My doctor diagnosed me as suffering from depression and panic/anxiety attacks. Well, I already knew that. He wanted me to see a psychiatrist to get properly diagnosed and prescribed treatment. I flat out refused. I didn't see myself as having a mental problem. He set me up with an appointment with the psychiatrist. My doctor told me it was up to me if I wanted to start getting help for my problem. It was totally up to me. I went home and cried for a long time...a very long time.

I think that "cry out" was me hitting rock bottom. I needed to do that and I knew afterward that I had to keep that appointment with the psychiatrist. Quite reluctantly, I made it to his office. I was extremely apprehensive about this meeting. I didn't know what he was going to do. For the first time in my life, I did not feel in control of my identity. I was afraid this man was going to tell me things I didn't want to hear about myself. I decided to walk out when the receptionist called me back to his office.

To make it simple, the appointment couldn't have gone better. He was very professional. But, not detached in the way so many in the medical profession are these days. He set me up for group therapy for six weeks, two nights a week, something I never thought I would be brave enough to do. But, I did it and along with taking Lexapro, I was able to beat my depression. It was like someone had lifted a veil from me. I no longer need group therapy or take Lexapro. I also had some spiritual counseling that helped me overcome this illness greatly.

If you think you may be suffering from depression, don't hesitate to consult your family doctor. Speak with your pastor or a friend or family member you trust. The main thing, get help. There are people that care about you, people you don't even realize.

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