I can be an ass

Depression has ruled a major part of my life. I would estimate that I have spent half of my adult life struggling with depression, anxiety, social phobias, and various other problems that are often cloaked under the umbrella of “depression”.

While I have seen therapists and doctors, there always seems to be symptoms and maladaptive coping skills left over that emerge when I am least expecting them. The medication that I take has helped to minimize their appearance; it has even allowed me to lead a somewhat normal life, but when those maladaptive traits do reveal themselves, they are more likely to blindside me than at any time in the past.

I call those times when maladaptive traits present themselves to be a mind crash. I mentally fall back into a defensive stance and lash out at those that are around me in an attempt to protect myself.

That’s right. I essentially appear to be a complete ass. For no reason that the person can tell, I suddenly become someone that they wish had stayed at work instead of coming home. I am no longer the type of person that they want to be around; for that matter, I am no longer the kind of person that I want to be around either.

I don’t currently have a solution. All I can do is identify the problem. But this is one of the larger things that I still want to change about myself.

May 1 2016 Shorts

The following is a set of links and comments to things I find interesting that are not long enough to merit their own post.

P.S. Happy May Day!

Topics include:

  • Expect a untraditional vice presidential running mate for Trump
  • Two factions of the Republican party?
  • Psychopaths and Sociopaths

Continue reading May 1 2016 Shorts

Suicide is NOT the answer

My thoughts are scattered tonight at hearing the news that one of my friends has committed suicide. I saw him three times a week, sometimes more, and never knew that he was leading such a desperate life that he would even consider suicide as a possible solution to his problems.

He was a friend of mind from work. Granted, we never spent time away from work socializing, but we did visit quite often at work as friends. When I would see him (and we would both have the time) I would seek him out just to visit about life.

It is absolutely horrible to realize that I was so close to someone that was struggling to cope with life, yet I never realized it. I read stories about people that have struggled with life to the point where they lost their will to live and thought that I might have been able to do something if only I had been closer. That doesn’t work this time. I had the desire, the ability to listen to any trauma that he was dealing with, and the availability to do something to help; but I never even knew that he was in trouble. It feels like standing on the deck of a cruise ship next to a life preserver and never realizing that someone is drowning directly below you. Not only would it have been simple to cast the life preserver to the person in distress, it would have been something I would have gladly done even if it was uncomfortable or difficult. Yet he died within easy reach of help and I never knew that he was in trouble.

I’m not going to sit here and blow smoke up your ass about how depression should be surmounted. Depression – being an invisible killer – is often worse than more obvious problems to deal with. If you have a broken leg, people will offer to help if they even think that you need assistance. Many (most?) people will hold a door open for someone in a wheelchair. We teach each other the signs of heat exhaustion and keep an eye on our coworkers to make sure that they don’t over do it. Strangers pull over to the side of the road regardless of how busy their day is when someone in an ambulance needs access to a hospital, and we don’t even know what happened to them.

But depression is silent. Depression is invisible. Depression is poison that wilts your will to live from the inside. Depression isolates you from the people that want to help you, then it lies to you and tells you that you are alone.

Depression is not a weakness. Depression is not a lack of will power. Depression is not a character flaw.

I don’t know the demons that my friend silently battled. I never saw the stumble that momentarily gave the demon the upper hand. All that I know is that my friend battled his demon into submission over the course of his life until he lost one particular battle on one particular day. That was all it took. If he would have made it through the night to fight again the next day, I feel sure he would have regained his footing and continued to keep the demon at bay.

It is too easy for depression to win the suicide battle. All it has to do is win one time: one little battle, one dreary day, one moment of weakness and depression could end your life.

Depression takes no prisoners. Depression offers no quarter. Depression has no mercy.

Please – for the love of God – call out for help if you need it. Call out for help if you think you might need it. Call out for help if you are afraid. Call out for help until you get it. Don’t give depression a chance to win. Not even once.

What’s in a name? Borderline Personality Disorder

Those of us that have been diagnosed with some sort of mental illness know all too well that the name of the illness has a dramatic effect on us. It is both assuring as well as frightening. The name blends into our self identity. It becomes a part of us whether we want it to or not. Because of this, it is important that the name not add to either the trauma or the stigma that of the sufferer.

Borderline Personality Disorder was a term coined in the 1930s. While it supposedly had some kind of descriptive meaning at the time, that meaning seems to have been consigned to the dustbin of history. In truth, I wouldn’t have known that there was any descriptiveness to the name – much less what it was describing – if I hadn’t read it myself. Yet the image that the name conjures can serve to add to the trauma.

As an exercise, take a moment to reflect on what the name might indicate about the person.

While I don’t know what you imagined, it probably isn’t flattering; and most likely, it isn’t helpful in understanding what the person is dealing with.

Because the name can actually add to the ostracism that the person is already dealing with, not only is the name unhelpful, it can actually be hurtful. This seems to be exactly the argument that Jayashri Kulkarni is arguing in her article entitled “Borderline personality disorder is a hurtful label for real suffering – time we changed it.”

Read the article. Give it a chance; if not for you, then for someone you know or love. Consider what it would be like to have this title attached to you. Imagine if you had to inherit something so potentially cruel from society with no way to defend yourself from it. Imagine if it was in your medical records for every doctor to see, every nurse to read, every hospital to judge you by.

Yes, I agree with Jayashri Kulkarni that the name needs changed. In this day and age, there is no reason for anyone to carry the disparaging name of a diagnosis – especially if the diagnosis only adds to the negativity under which the person is already suffering.