Most of my friends know that I've had a lifelong battle with depression and anxiety. I don't mean that I get a little sad or that occasionally I don't want to get out of bed. I've never really wanted to get out of bed in the morning, but that's another issue altogether.
Of the two problems, the depression is usually, but not always, worse. Depression is a crippling disease. It is also the sort of disease that isn't taken seriously. Well intentioned friends and family members told me to "snap out of it," "stop feeling sorry for myself", and my personal favorite, "just don't think about it." Anxiety really isn't taken seriously. Everybody worries. Everybody has fears. Not everybody has an anxiety disorder. Those who don't, have trouble understanding what happens to people like me. It is just "crazy."
Therein lies the stigma of having a mental problem. Yes, I know half the commercials on television are cute depictions of how drugs can help. In the real world, people still distrust those with mental illnesses. One of my nephews is quite upfront with his opinion. He refers to me as his Crazy Aunt Gwen.
There are things that can make life better. Drugs help, most of the time, but there is no cure.
What I learned from living with this illness was not to talk about what was going on inside my head. The problem with that approach is that it falls into the same category as not talking about being gay. Unless we talk about it, the stigma, the injustice, and misunderstanding continues. Pretending only makes life harder. Not being able to talk also makes it harder for those who do understand and want to help. I am sure that one of the great frustrations of Sarah's life is not being able to get me to talk when I am in the middle of an attack. I don't know how much of my inability to talk is the illness and how much of it stems from my experiences with therapy.
Some people find therapy helps. Both Sarah and her mother have had good results from therapy. Many of the people I know also believe in therapy. Me, not so much. My experiences on that front have been anything but helpful. In the 70's I had the worst sort of therapist. In the 80's I was misdiagnosed and put on drugs that nearly wrecked my life. My family doctor figured out what was happening and thankfully told me to stop taking those medications. I stayed away from psychiatrist after that, but did try therapy again some years later. It was not pretty.
Nothing about this illness is pretty. I really wish I could "just snap out of it." Wouldn't that be great?
Saturday, October 12, 2013
The shallow waters of the Gulf or Mexico might not seem like the edge of the world, but in my mind any place where earth meets sea is the edge. I can go no further. Never mind that boats and explorers have ventured out on much rougher seas. They had to work with others, build ships, find others willing to risk falling off the edge of the earth.
From the shore, alone and unaided, they saw the horizon. They knew humans had had reached the edge of the world.
When the most adventurous ventured beyond the edge they were uncertain. Some places resisted exploration. There the maps were marked as "here there be monsters."
Perhaps, there are monsters out in those peaceful waters. Perhaps, we humans took our monsters with us when we ventured out beyond the edge. There have been enough horror films about dangers of the deep to fuel many nightmares. There are still unexplored depths where exotic creatures remain undiscovered.
Here on the edge, we look to the horizon and wonder. We feel the awe of vastness. We wade the shallow waters at the edge. Brave souls venture out beyond the horizon. Unlike our ancestors, today's explorer no longer believes the world is flat. We won't fall off the edge. Will we?
"Here there be monsters." Perhaps, my writing friends should be thinking about what monsters lurk in the depths. Mystery and Horror, LLC loves exploring topics like this. "Here there be Monsters" would make an excellent anthology of our eternal human quest to explore what lies beyond the edge of the world. What monsters await? Are they creatures of the deep or did we bring them along for the ride?
Think about it.
Posted by Gwen Mayo at 7:11 AM
Tuesday, October 01, 2013
HaHaHorror or tune in to 6 Foot Plus for the Monster Matt Minute. They bill the latter as either the worst or best minute of the show.