National Depression Awareness Month – Day 2

October 2, 2012

[Day 1]

It took a lot of guts to call Military One Source (in 2008) and schedule my first appointment with a counselor. The stigma of needing help almost kept me from it. But I called, and I went to my first appointment…

It was awful. The counselor spent most of the time asking me irrelevant questions about the Army or my husband. She seemed overwhelmed by my problems and that didn’t inspire confidence. At the end of the session, she told me to read a certain book before coming to my next appointment.

I bought the book. I read it quickly. I hated it. I don’t remember the title or author or why I disliked it so much. I think I disagreed with the theology or the flippant use of scripture. Joel said that seminary had turned me into a pop Christian book snob. Maybe so.

The whole experience just left me feeling even more hopeless.

A few weeks later, Military One Source called to ask how the appointment went. I told them I didn’t like it and wasn’t going back. The compassionate woman on the phone explained that if it was a bad match they would send me to someone else. I let her make another appointment.

The next session was with a psychologist. She was professional, intelligent and understood the importance of my faith, ministry etc. It was a good fit.

After talking for an hour, she diagnosed me with Dysthymic Disorder: Persistent Mild Depression. I had never heard of Dysthymia. Being an obsessive researcher, I went straight home and right to Google. As soon as I read about it, I realized that was probably the easiest diagnosis she had made in a long time.

“According to the DSM’s definition of dysthymia, it is a serious state of chronic depression, which persists for at least 2 years; it is less acute and severe than major depressive disorder.[3] As dysthymia is a chronic disorder, sufferers may experience symptoms for many years before it is diagnosed, if diagnosis occurs at all. As a result, they may believe that depression is a part of their character, so they may not even discuss their symptoms with doctors, family members, or friends.” – Wikipedia

That last sentence made a lot of sense. I had been depressed for so long, (since childhood) it just seemed like part of my personality… Wow! That is depressing…

(Blogging with my clumsy iThumbs.)

One Response to “National Depression Awareness Month – Day 2”

  1. Frank Shipe Says:

    Hi. I loved your blog. Let me just lay this on you about depression. John Steinbeck’s view was that his periods of depression were metabolic and there was nothing he could do about it except just go on with life until it was over. I’d had periods of depression in which I wasted a good deal of time and energy worrying and obsessing about being depressed, to no good end. Steinbeck’s view, however, made such sense to me when I read it that I adopted the same perspective. It worked beautifully. Later in life I had two periods of the very worst *clinical* depression–that awful state in which one is numb and dark and, worse than feeling sad, is incapable of feeling any emotion whatsoever. One lasted more than a year, the other about six months. I took the same pragmatic view during both of these episodes and simply resolved to “keep on truckin'” till they were over. And, eventually, they *were* over..
    I don’t know that any of that will be helpful to you, but it’s a good, functional approach that worked for me.
    It may be that Winston Churchill used somewhat the same strategy. He was subject to frequent bouts of depression and would greet each by saying, “Well, the black dog is back.”
    I wish you the best.

    Frank


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