In the past, “depression” has been a word that I’ve resented. Whenever someone suggested that I may be experiencing it, I have sarcastically pointed out that circumstances might have a lot to do with the way that I react to things. Though when I was in my twenties, I worked in a Psych hospital and have seen first hand the way that certain treatments have meant night and day for some patients who were diagnosed. In the early 80s I was invited to observe ECT treatments (Electric Shock Treatments) by a doctor who took me under his wing. In this case, the patient was a woman well into her seventies, who was almost catatonic, and lacked any emotional affect. I’d been the one to transcribe his orders and was very curious about this procedure he’d ordered. This particular patient had once been a well known actress in Europe, whose husband brought in a portfolio of her, back in her glory. It was hard to picture this woman, now just a tired looking old lady, as that once beautiful actress in the photos he shared.
I arrived at 6AM on the scheduled day of the procedure as directed by my doctor friend. The nurses seemed a little annoyed when I told them I was there to observe. That was until the doctor arrived and treated me like his special audience. He explained everything he was doing. As the patient was put under general anesthesia. They put something in her mouth and proceeded to shock her twice. It took all of a few seconds. I have no idea if they still do this procedure, because I was told, once someone has it done, it has to be repeated every few years. Kind of like a recharge. But I must say that I have never seen such a transformation! In just a few days, she was this vivacious older version of that woman in the portfolio her husband had shared.
Where once she was barely sitting up in a wheelchair, She was going out on the outings we organized to the local mall, dressed to the Nines, in high heels and full make-up! It was astounding and nothing short of a miracle! I wish they could bottle and sell what happened to her. I’ve never forgotten it.
So you see, when someone talks about depression, I’ve seen it first hand. In my mind, “depression” is an an organic condition that basically has you sleeping all day and not interacting or engaging in life. A condition that needs Electric Shock Treatments or at the very least meds. I on the other hand, get up everyday, do what needs to be done, clean house, work in the yard, engage with others, laugh at the appropriate times, you get the picture.
The only thing is, as I write this I realize, I don’t wake up happy everyday like my husband does. Though I engage when I have to with the people and friends in my life, I force myself to do a lot of things. And I have to wonder, maybe being depressed is not just being catatonic. Maybe it is also the fact that I have to force myself to just do those normal things. And maybe when you lock a door so you can cry on the other side, and when you take a breath and a sob catches in-between, and when it is just hard to find the joy anymore…. that could be depression.
Recently I’ve shared that I really have the need to have God speak to me the way I’ve been reading about. I have been reading Karen Kinbsbury books and I find myself yearning for the same voice the characters in her books hear. More than I ever have before and so I asked God to speak to me and a voice inside my head said, “Read my WORD.” And it has changed me.
Recently, A few of my sweet friends have taken my challenge to read Psalm 91 with me daily, for a month. So everyday I am reading the chapter and I have to say that it is “kinda like a recharge.” Though circumstances are still the same. I’ve realized, I’ve noticed the highs a little more than fixating on the lows. It’s funny how so much of the Bible seems to relate to the times we are going through today. Decade after decade, we fail HIM. Decade after decade, Century after century, He comes when we call. It’s just so amazing to me that I am just realizing it now. Please join me and read Psalms 91 this month. Anyone who reads this is invited to join us. I promise…. It really is kinda like a recharge!
13 thoughts on “Kinda Like A Recharge”
There are all sorts of different levels of depression. There is the kind where you are visibly and really sad — because your pet died or a close friend died or something else like that has happened. That is, typically, temporary. I’ll call it situational depression. Then there is the kind that I think i’ve had most of my life (and maybe you too), it is the feeling brought about a generalized dissatisfaction with your life. It’s not that you can’t be happy at times with this form of depression, but it is something you struggle with at times. This kind of depression is more present than situational depression and it can affect how you live your life over a longer-term. I’ll call it long-term depression. And then there is what you describe — organic depression, or chemical depression — brought about by some malfunction in the wiring or chemistry of one’s brain.
The challenge is in not letting your situational or long-term depression morph into organic or chemical depression. It’s a lifelong struggle for those of us who are challenged by the feelings of dissatisfaction and frustration that leave us less than happy with our lives.
Oh Mark, YOU nailed it! Right on the head! There was something comfortable in your words…
“maybe you too” it felt kind of okay if I was feeling the same things as my friend Mark. Silly I guess. But I really have grown to admire your wisdom. (I mean I didn’t vote for Trump mainly because I valued your opinion. LOL)It is more than situational and I’ve struggled with admitting that. It has been more present than just something evident gone wrong in the day. As you stated so perfectly, “a general dissatisfaction with how my life has turned out.” As you know, I live in the past and I struggle with that. Even my worst days in my twenties, dysfunctional relationships, one bedroom apartments, and hand me down furniture and my little fiat that needed a water jug to make it up the grapevine, has all been romanticized in my head. But I think it was more the unknown, which I really miss. The having life right in front of me still not knowing who my kids would be, where I’d live, who I’d marry. Basically what I’d be when I grew up. And every year, the mystery seemed to fade as my life fell into place by my good and bad choices. And sure there were deaths, a divorce, illnesses, miscarriages, etc… but I survived. Thankfully, I have my faith. (I know we differ on that one, but I still pray for you, that someday God speaks to you in a way you can’t ignore.) Smile… But I don’t wake up happy every morning. Sometimes I am just irritated about everything. I wasn’t like that in my twenties or even in my thirties. I think as my life’s direction (due to my own choices) became clear. I was just angry at myself for not following my dream. I mean I voted differently for the first time, this year because I researched and thought for myself for once. Depression? Or just realizing the ton of mistakes I’ve made?
Anywaaay, sorry I missed this. It really resonated with me today! Thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings and respond. It meant a lot.
It’s interesting, you mention living in the past. I have spent most of mmy life living both in the past and in the future. When I was a kid, my dad kept warning me about wishing my life away — meaning, to stop looking forward and wishing for the things I wanted. I still do that. But, I also live with a lot of regrets in my head. Regrets about things I didn’t do, decisions I made that could have been better, and the consequences of those decisions on my life today and my hopes for the future.
I retired a year ago. I needed, desperately needed, to leave the job I held for the last 15 years. Just way too much stress that was driving my depression. I’m now back to working part-time (because I need to, my pension is not sufficient to cover current living expenses), but I had almost a year of not having to work, and I was able to experience a life of living in the moment. I think that’s the critical thing for people like you and I. To find a path to a life where we can let go of our regrets about the past and the wishes for the future. And just live for today.
Unfortunately, now that I’m working again, I’m kind of back to the regrets and wishes stage. I really want to get to the point where I don’t have to do this kine of work anymore, and I can spend my day doing the things I want to do, the things that fill my emotional well, that give me satisfaction and allow me to breath.
Keep moving forward.
You need to write a book! This is good stuff! The comment: “I’m kind of back to the regrets and wishes stage” is epic! And I soooo GET it! And this! >>> To find a path to a life where we can let go of our regrets about the past and the wishes for the future. And just live for today.<<<< Epic!!!!!
I too, have lived in the past and the future. And now I struggle to not feel that the future is not that big of a mystery! I think that it hit me in my forties and that is when the depression or whatever you want to call it set in. IF only we could figure out how to live in the now and bottle it!
My biggest worry about the future is that I won’t have enough time.
After our conversation, I was reading Ecclesiastes and the first couple chapters are depressing but in the end that book gives us hope. I think as in life too…. You already have the answer. I’ve noticed lately that if I am having a good time. In that moment, I’ve been recognizing it and trying to say it out loud. Whether it is just announcing it to myself or whoever is around. LOL. They may think I’m crazy but I don’t care. I think WE need to notice when we are genuinely happy. That saying about smelling the flowers is just in the simple act of being able to be grateful for small acts. We all go through horrendous times and happy times. Sometimes its just noticing that nothing horrible is happening to us and being grateful. 🙂 At least I’m trying to… As far as time…. At 19 I could have died a few times… I’m still here…. I SOOO GET it though… For the last two decades I’ve kind of wasted the time I’ve been given because my “wishes” didn’t happen fast enough. So all we can do is start where we are and take the todays one at a time.
You mention simple acts. I have a really good friend who has struggled with the pandemic and how it has changed her work life, her family life, and her own personality. I keep telling her to look for glimmers. In other words, small, simple things that we can enjoy and feel good about. She remains stuck in a frustration built around all the changes and big things that she is missing. I get it, but I think there is value in recognizing “simple acts” and small pleasures. It’s just difficult to do that at times. For the 11 months I wasn’t working, I missed a lot of the things I was planning on doing because the pandemic took those things away, but, on the other hand, I enjoyed the simplicity of a smaller life.
I absolutely love that! Not that your friend is stuck, but your twist on things! It is a comforting tool. I’m surprised that she missed it. At least I am blessed to be able to see your wisdom in your advice. I really have just landed in the place of understanding the meaning of the metaphor… “Take time to smell the flowers.” Never before have I really understood it more! It really has been a switch for all of us “non essentials” It is weird to think that we were in LA for my daughter’s birthday March 15th, almost a year ago, we were going to take them out. She wouldn’t let us even come see her to just throw her gift out the window to her in fear of giving us the virus because her husband worked on City Walk with a lot of tourists and she worked as an Esthetician (touching people’s faces!) I was down there for a show for my art business and it all was supposed to work out. But we respected her wishes and didn’t stop. Never did we ever think that the delay would be more than a few months. Or that we’d miss Thanksgiving and Christmas as well. But we have some very close family friends who have died and so we recognize the importance of taking it seriously. One friend’s family gathered for the holidays, and their whole family got it and her husband just passed away a month ago from it. Crazy SAD!! AND that this all fell during a political time that tore friendships and families apart didn’t help! So if your friend was following both, I can imagine she might just be overwhelmed with that, not to mention fear of the unknown and financial hardships. But to stop and appreciate the small stuff is a blessing. It’s funny, my own life has had a bit of an upheaval with my in-laws moving in. At first, I was un-budging about my feelings regarding the move, which I felt was not clearly communicated to me. And then on top of Covid and my mother in law breaking her ankle. What more?! I asked. But it all hit me when I shared with a good friend that I hadn’t talked to for a while because she had Covid! I told her about the broken ankle and she asked… “Oh no! Are you OKAY?!!” At that point I had to laugh at myself. My mother in law broke her leg and she asked me if “I” was okay. When she realized how funny that question was, we both practically fell on the floor laughing! A moment I was not proud of, realizing I’d been making everything about me for a while. Having admitted that to myself, I do have to say that my mother in law and I have had some pretty great talks lately and believe me, if you’d asked me a year ago if I thought I’d have a softer heart about the whole situation… I’d have laughed out loud. So keep working on your friend. I mean, if you can grab those little moments and appreciate them, you’re only going to get blessed. Right?
This friend is somebody I’ve had some of the best, deepest conversations with. We’ve talked about everything in the years we’ve known each other. And this whole situation for the last year has been something we haven’t been able to talk about. I’m not sure why, but it has locked her up so much that she can barely express what she is feeling — except deep frustration at what her life has become over this year. I’m trying not to be pushy and letting her come to me as needed, but I worry about her. It’s difficult to do.
Regarding your mother-in-law, my mom had some health issues develo at the beginning of 2020. It has thrust me into her life more than I have ever been … so I totally get the validity of somebody asking you how you are doing, even though it was your MIL who hurt her ankle.. Totally get it.
I love that you always GET IT!!!!
Powerful Di. I actually don’t have a Bible in the house so went online to find Psalm 91. I can understand how it can lift you up my friend. Many blessings to you on this journey out of the darkness into light.
That makes me so happy you took the time to look it up! You have always touched my soul & taught me so much. I’m blessed to call you my friend. ♥️
” depression…the silent killer, it eats you from the inside out”
Robin Willians suffered for many years, as he used his comedy to hide behind.