I realize this is one of those jump-the-shark sort of posts. When I write openly about how deep and how permanent my depression is, I imagine it both repels and confounds people. This is certainly not the first time I have written about depression. I’ll pour out the dregs of my soul, I’ll follow-up with some pictures of my cats, and then I won’t mention depression for another two months. The difference this time is that I don’t intend for this to be a post made in isolation. I feel the need to write about depression in an ongoing manner. Why? I don’t know if I can adequately answer the question of why I feel compelled to write in a public blog about what would be, to most, intensely private thoughts. I am not expecting answers. I am not expecting support. I just need to write in this manner because I don’t know what else to do. Writing things down was a coping strategy for me for many years, and now, like I’ve said in here a dozen times before, it’s just not therapeutic to write things down such that they exist in a vacuum.
Everyone knows I’m the guy with the kidney disease, the guy who’s on dialysis. And, sure, anyone who knows me knows I get depressed. Maybe everyone who reads this realizes that I get depressed a lot. There is probably an assumption that a large part of my depression is due to the physical problems I have had to deal with these last few years. A few months ago, I went so far as to claim that most or all of my depression was due to the pain and fatigue that my PKD caused. I wanted to emphasize this point, but I think I may have exaggerated in some sort of attempt to make my depression more excusable and relatable.
The unfortunate truth is that I was depressed long before I ever received my PKD diagnosis and felt the discomfort and weightiness of enlarged, diseased kidneys. People are more comfortable hearing about others’ physical ailments’ than they are depression. A physical condition can gain you sympathy. It’s easy to hear of someone’s cancer and anthropomorphize the illness as some evil, foreign entity that was uninvited and needs to be battled. Depression? That’s something that people need to either take a pill for or speak to a professional about to learn better coping skills. It’s sad and regrettable that someone has depression, but one should be able to get over it. Just get help…but please don’t bring it up at dinner…no one wants to hear about it.
So, to summarize, here are the several reasons why I’ve been reluctant to tackle depression as a consistent topic in this blog:
1. Despite my best efforts, my full name is associated with this blog, according to simple Google searches I’ve done. I really wish people hadn’t linked to “David S’s blog”, but they have, and this can’t every be undone. As a result, any future employer who cares to do a thorough internet search can uncover this blog, and, some day, I may need a job more desperately than I need this blog. However, it is already too late, so I’m just not going to worry about this.
2. This is probably the most uncomfortable topic I could write about, in terms of the awkwardness it instills in readers. My ego doesn’t like to think that people will stop reading. I really shouldn’t care.
3. There’s the potential for inappropriate comments, just like there is when writing about any topic. But I’ll take these comments more personally. I am not sure that there is any appropriate advice about lifelong depression that can be squeezed into a blog comment.
4. I’ll dissuade people from commenting, but then I’ll take it badly when no one has commented after a certain period of blogging about this. I am just being completely honest. I think it is coming across as if I don’t trust people to comment on a sensitive subject. This is true; I don’t.
5. This blog will become even more of a consistent downer. On one hand, that sounds like a great reason to tone things down. On the other hand, I wonder, “So what?”
6. If the transplant centers ever decide that I’m just too depressed, they’ll make me inactive on their lists. This would, in turn, lead to a truly hopeless predicament.
There’s no doubt that in order to have a chance of a life that is joyful and fulfilling, I will need a kidney. However, if I were to receive a kidney tomorrow, I’d still be suffering from chronic treatment-resistant depression.
What happens when your depression literally never goes away? What may have been irrational thoughts of failure and self-loathing and pessimism years ago wind up being legitimized by concrete negative experiences that came to be, in part, because of the existing depression. It’s a continuous downward spiral. Any progress is surpassed by the brutality of time. The desperation to overcome it all as soon as possible makes it impossible to embrace any coping strategy that encourages “small steps”.
I am at a point where the passage of time has left me with what appears to be an impossible amount of garbage to dig myself out of. The sheer weight of it is almost too much bear. I bear it only because…well, it’s actually difficult to say why. I just do. I have no intention of succumbing to the alternative. But to simply endure is a pathetic, meager goal that gives me no satisfaction when I manage to meet it from day to day and week to week.
Some harsh truth:
I am never ok.
I don’t know what ok is. When was the last time I was truly happy? I honestly don’t remember. There have been the briefest flashes of what might have been joy. I can cobble together, from those moments, and from what my heart can imagine, a notion of what a joyful life would feel like. Perhaps that is what sustains me, the slightest chance that I’ll know that feeling as reality some day. To not endure is to have no chance of this.
I am always hurting.
You have no idea. And even if you do, what are you supposed to do about it? Really, you can’t do anything. You need to preserve your own sanity. Hell, if you’re still reading this, you ought to stop.
I am trying so hard…you probably can’t tell…
I actually am trying, frantically, every day, to dig myself out. I have tried everything I have felt I have been capable of. I am aware of what I have not tried, of what I am not capable of. Of course, if I am ever to get better, this is clearly not true. If I am ever to get better, all of the pain and frustration will seem so puzzling. This is one reason that I have journaled and blogged for 22 years, as some sort of proof that, at the time, I truly did not know any better than to exist as I did.
I do not mean for this to be the definitive guide to my depression. I sense I am trying too hard to make this digestible when I know some people will never understand it. Then again, I’m barely even trying to explain how it feels to be depressed in the moment. I know I actually do have plenty of past entries about that, and I’m sure I’ll have some in the future. The point in writing now is to try to allow myself the freedom to acknowledge that depression is not some minor element of a life that has its share of stresses. It is a fundamental, inescapable component of my being.
Comments disabled because there’s no need to comment. Really, no one should even have read all the way down to here.