Depression vs. Me: The Battle Continues

Depression is kicking my butt.

Not really anything new, perhaps. My journey hasn’t been smooth or flat. Many hills, several mountains. Some travel has been on solid pavement, some has been on gravel road with deep ruts. Occasionally there have been huge boulders in my path that I tried to move and eventually had to move around. I have run into plenty of dead-ends as well.

The depression never has claimed total victory. I’m still here. I can’t say I’ve ever been able to declare a clear triumph, either. The best I have managed some days is, well, managing.

That’s the case now. I’m managing to live life – somewhat passably. I have some concerns, though. Frankly, I spend most of every day feeling like I’m on the edge of a really bad place. I don’t feel at all suicidal during this episode, but I do constantly have an intuition that I am about to undergo a genuine mental breakdown.

I wish I knew what that actually means.

Why am I writing about this? Ah, why do I write about anything? I share my thoughts and experiences in hopes of fostering awareness, understanding and compassion. Not for myself. I am blessed to have people in my life who understand and support. I know that not everyone who lives with depression, anxiety or any other mental illness is as fortunate.

I have a headache, from the moment I wake up until I close my eyes begging God to let sleep come quickly. That rarely happens. Last night, for instance, I know I was still awake two hours after I turned out the lamp on my nightstand. When I finally did wake up to the alarm clock, I couldn’t get out of bed. I finally summoned the strength about two hours later. It doesn’t sound like much, but that was a monumental task that took every bit of my energy.

Then, I spent the rest of the day yawning. Wide. Even though I was really busy at work, I never felt fully engaged, always with a bit of distracted attention. Alas, that’s the daily pattern.

I’m not eating well, sometimes too much and other times not enough. Heavy on fast food and candy and cookies, as my body seems to crave sugar and my will not strong enough to pass it up.

In addition to the headache, I have a noticeable, ever-present soreness in my arms and hands. I lose the ability to concentrate for more than about 15 minutes at a time in the early afternoon, and I never truly regain any improvement until the next day. That makes work projects a challenge; just getting through each successive hour at my job takes all sorts of willpower (that I don’t have) and physical stamina (that also is lacking). That makes it tough to study for a major exam I have for work in April. That makes it difficult to write – and with fewer than a dozen pieces of writing for this website in March, it’s clear I have fallen short.

I am weak. I feel like I’m letting people down.

I am decidedly antisocial; I simply don’t feel like talking. Last week was Holy Week, and I enjoyed every moment I spent at church. There were a lot of such moments. Easter joy? My heart and soul were busting with joy – and I still feel it. In moments of solitude and private prayer, I am overwhelmed by God’s love and presence. He seems to be filling my mind and spirit with all sorts of insight.

Despite that, prayer is difficult right now. Once I get started – by opening my prayer book, taking out my rosary, getting myself quiet, addressing God in whatever way my spirit chooses – I’m fine. God takes over. But getting started is exhausting.

Even in the eyes of God, I feel like my self-esteem is buried deep somewhere. I have extremely heightened sensitivity and fear; I am hyper-concerned about what others think about me – wife and children, dad and sisters, friends and work colleagues, readers of my blog and, yes, I’m irrationally concerned about how even God regards me these days.

I continue to take my medication. I will see my therapist next week. I use my light box at work in hopes of returning to some positive sleep pattern. I will try to eat properly. I remain dedicated to my life of prayer.

And I hope that at some point soon, I can start kicking back at the depression.

 

 

Posted in Confronting Depression Tagged with: ,
6 comments on “Depression vs. Me: The Battle Continues
  1. Milio Balossi says:

    your continually in my prayers Mike, your wife Donna and your whole family,
    God Bless you all.

    Milio

  2. Jane Metzner says:

    Hello Mike,
    I wish you didn’t have to go through your misery. I wish I didn’t have to go through mine – similar to yours. I wish my “Achilles heel” or “thorn in my side” or just plain sickness, was anything else rather than depression or any mental disorder. But it is.
    Like you, I take medication and see psychiatrists and therapist. All of it definitely helps me but it doesn’t remove the sickness.
    Maybe not like you, I feel shame about my depression. But lots less shame since I have been reading your articles for the last few years. So you can be content in knowing that you are helping others like me.
    When I first read the title of this article “Depression vs Me: The Battle Continues”, my first reaction was “not another article about depression”. My second reaction was to read it immediately to find how it would help me.
    Thank you for writing yet another article about depression. Please don’t stop.
    Jane Metzner

  3. Mary peragine says:

    Thanks for yr honesty . I can reply relate to your inability to vet out of bed. I feel so lazy and guilty about it. You made me feel that I should be kinder to myself do you ever feel that the world is just too sad and wonder how you can face it but know god is at your side even when u don’t feel it? Just wondering!
    Thanks again
    Mary

  4. Julie boschert says:

    I admire your bold honesty. Know we pray for you and for all who live with depression. I think it was St. Therese (I think) who offered her sins as flowers at the feet of Jesus. I have an image of you offering every moment of suffering as flowers at Jesus’ feet. It must hurt terribly, but look at how Jesus loves his bouquet! Blessings.

  5. Mike Jarecki says:

    Have you considered a complete physical exam, maybe even Mayo Clinic style? We know that mental ilness can cause physical symptoms but why not find out if something else is going on?

  6. Julie Davenport says:

    This side of our brain chemistry ebbs and flows. When this passes, we know with out any certain doubt how valuable our lives are. The last scenes in “It’s A Wonderful Life” depict it well. I have not read your blog in a while as I’ve tried to dodge any affiliation with “depression” or self admittance of mental illness. And now that I’m getting in touch with your writings, it makes me mad that you are not feeling as good as you did when I last read. You are a hero of this stuff, no matter what, because of your heart. A very, very big, honest and true heart that gives us a rock of assurance in times of need. I ask God to be with you, deeply, give you a sense of relief in any way and a complete knowing that you will be feeling better. May God get you through the storm, the clouds will pass and you will regain all of you again.

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Mike & Donna Eisenbath



Offering HOPE for the journey...