Category Archives: Mental health

First, the bad news

The Bad news is…

Things are far from being perfect.

The Good news is…

Things are far from being a disaster.

I saw this post this evening, on a website that I frequent. The particular form is something of a support group for people with depression and other mental disorders, within a sub-culture that I identify with. Considering that I am at a place in life that is “far from being perfect” it was great to be reminded that “things are far from being a disaster” even though we are flying really close to the deck.

Things are really pretty hard right now. But, we’ve got enough to squeak by (more or less) and everybody that can work has work, even if the pay is, well, appallingly small. I’m in school for a new field that has growth opportunity, and moderately good income. I just have to finish the next 18 months or so of education to get the BA, then a job in the field. 

One step at a time.

It’s a good day

Yesterday (Well, the day  before, at this point… I’m writing this after midnight) was a good day. I slept well, got up feeling rested, drank a few cups of tea (forgot to make coffee) and water, had a shower and a shave, and went to work. I got in and felt generally happy, regardless of the fact that I’m in retail. Have I mentioned that the support from the management where I work is really great?

I performed my duties diligently and well, and even got ahead of the curve at a few points. I left work feeling good, even though I was (As always) physically tired. My feet didn’t even hurt that much when I got into the car!

All in all, it was a very fine day on Thursday.  Friday was nearly as good.

When I got home on Friday night, I had a message from one of my professors (Research, Analysis, Writing) indicating that the thesis statement that I’ve been working with (with limited success) has finally found an exciting form!  Emergency management professionals can save money, improve communication with the public, and gather real-time intelligence by adopting social media as part of their communication plans.


The evenings are hard (depression sucks)

I’ve previously come to terms with my clinical depression in general. Sure, some days are good and some days are not, but generally I make it out alright.

Since I lost my job, though, the evenings have gotten harder. I can keep busy during the day with tasks around the house and running the kids around some, but after dinner is done and everybody is chilling, I get weighed down. The job loss really changed my self-perception.

For the past 15 years, I have been the major provider and bread-winner for the family. For the past two years, I’ve been working on school work in the evenings, as well, but that took a hiatus when I finished my AA in psychology back at the beginning of March. My next program (BA in emergency and disaster management) doesn’t kick off until the first week in May, so I’ll have had almost two full months off of school.

The evenings bring on prime-time TV, which is mostly uninspiring for me. We watch the national news, with a side dish of local, if I’m lucky and the timing is right. But, right now, I don’t really know what to do with myself when the TV shows that I am not interested in come on. No school to work on. Not much to be done around the house, and the gaming PC is time-shared. My game time starts at 10 PM so I’m left with four or five hours that I just kind of… Blargh.

It used to be that I would go up to the bedroom and use my computer to watch something on cable that I liked (EyeTV FTW!) but Kristen had me move my computer downstairs and put it on my “work” desk now that I am not working there. There’s no cable drop near here, so I can’t watch cable in this room. Now, I understand and intellectually agree that this is better for me, over-all, since I’ll be in the family milieu and not sequestered off alone.

Now, granted, since we’re Xfinity and HBO subscribers, I have access to a limited amount of video online. I’m not interested in most of the offerings, though. I may have to take a trip to the library for a card and start depending on *gasp* … Books.

Depression sometimes makes it hard to concentrate enough to read, though.  Maybe audio books? That might have some potential (I’m looking at YOU,!)

Have reachable goals

Somewhere along the line, I learned something that I haven’t put into practice before today: When the world seems impossible, give yourself something easily achievable to accomplish for the day.

Today started feeling like a big stopping block. I’ve got to wait for a bunch of things to sort themselves out, like hearing back from the company to know for certain if I’m out on my ass.  I’ve got to wait for my financial aid to get fine-tuned (final disbursement) in order to get my diploma and transcripts released.  I’ve got a bunch of job applications in across the city that I can’t do anything about.

So, since I was feeling overwhelmed, I decided that m y goal for today was to get in the shower and have a nice shave. If you know anything about depression, you know that personal care can be one of those things that gets ignored, and I want to do everything that I can in order to stay out of THAT bottomless pit.

So, I took a shower and washed my hair. I got out my shaving stuff and had a nice shave with Coates 1847 Tea tree and Rosemary shave cream and Pinaud/Clubman musk aftershave. I’m waiting for my mustache to grow out some more so that I can wax it into a handlebar again, which I had a month or so back. I shaved that so I looked good for the cruise with SWMBO a couple of weeks ago.

Anyway, not my most ambitious day, but I accomplished something that took some effort on my part.



Sometimes the words don’t come

Neo: No mouth

Sometimes the words don't come...

One of the problems with mental health issues is that sometimes various symptoms cause a drastic change in personality features.  Take “poverty of speech” for example.

Once upon a time, I was a regular chatty CathyMy wife and I would drive and talk for hours (of course, the driving was when gas was a lot cheaper) about everything under the Sun.  We’d even talk about nothing in particular. That all changed when I came down with major depression.

I just, more or less, stopped talking.  I recall her once asking why I didn’t talk with her like I used to anymore, and the only answer that I could give is that “I don’t have much to say” which was honestly the case.  Where we would once drive through the Morton Arboretum and talk away for hours about anything and everything, I no longer had thoughts to back up conversation.

Notice that I said that the thoughts aren’t there.  That’s one of the possible symptoms of severe depression. The thoughts aren’t there, and the words don’t come. It is even hard to explain that there’s nothin’ in my noggin, especially since I had previously been such a thinker and talker. Even putting this down in words has taken me almost a full day to get together.

I wish it were different. In many ways, I’m not the same person that Kristen married back in 1998, thanks to the depression. I know that she misses the way that I used to be because of some offhand comments that she’s made over the years.  Recently, she commended that I “don’t talk to [her] like [I] used to” which is true.Believe me, I wish I did.  I miss being the man I was back then (mostly). But sometimes it seems like she resents the changes. I don’t blame her, she didn’t ask for me to change, but I did.

It’s not fair. I do my best. But I don’t feel that it comes across enough. 🙁



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