Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Elephant In The Living Room...

I suppose there's no use trying to pussy-foot around or try to "hide" from you the rather large ELEPHANT that has been lurking in the CHEESE living room, right? After all, I wouldn't want to insult your intelligence with vague references of the 2,000 pound pachyderm that appears to be sitting on my lap these days.

I'm talking about my "mood", or more importantly that "D" word...D-pression. And, although I would not go so far as to classify my mood as clinically depressed (situationally, yes...clinically, no), it HAS been fairly subnormal these past few weeks. And try as I might to maintain a "cheerful" disposition here on CHEESE, my mood has been weighing heavily on my writing...after all, I DO have a rather large elephant pushing its feet upon my chest! LOL

Working in the Mental Health Field (as I do) lends its own set of mores on how we, as psychiatric workers, deal with our own feelings/moods/emotions. Generally speaking, we are probably one of the more DYSFUNCTIONAL groups of people because our custom and "norm" is to NOT talk about these things as they pertain to us as individuals...pretty F-ed up, right? Sort of how police officers rarely discuss being "afraid"...they don't talk about fear because they are FACED with fearful situations day in and day out.

In my field of business, I am also faced with depression and a wide array of mental illnesses EVERY, single day...and, but for the grace of God go I, that I DON'T also suffer from one or more of the disorders I deal with (at least not routinely and on a chronic basis...let me clarify THAT statement! LOL).

But depression HAS been something I have had to face and deal with a few times in my life...serious, debilitating depression. I have always chosen the "better living through chemistry" (medications) and psychotherapy approach. These two approaches, in combination, have helped during these periods in my life and the episodes have always passed...eventually...not quickly enough for my liking USUALLY...but eventually.

I have alluded to several recent stressors in my life of late here on CHEESE...situational crises of which I am not at liberty to discuss due to the nature of their content (work-related mostly). These "emotional/mental" issues have been triggering all sorts of physical responses in my body...mainly, an exacerbation of chronic MS symptoms. Not relapse material necessarily, but a heightening of symptoms that have become chronic in nature over the years.

And when these type of situational life crises occur, it becomes a game of "Which came first? The chicken or the egg?" Did my MOOD cause this exacerbation and then, has this exacerbation caused my MOOD to worsen? It's a guessing game, of which I never have an exact answer...each one plays upon the my mood worsens, my body reacts. And as my body reacts and becomes more dysfunctional, my mood worsens.

With Multiple Sclerosis, I have found this cyclic mind/body connection to be overwhelming at times. So much so, that I find myself sinking into a state of inertia...I become paralyzed (not literally, thank goodness!) with little ability to respond positively to even the most mundane aspect of my daily life. My physical and mental fatigue over takes me, my emotional dysregulation (fancy term for MSer's inability to regulate their emotions...thought you'd like me using the term, Bubbie! E.D. LOL) becomes even less controllable and I cry or feel rageful at the drop of a hat, my sleep becomes nil, my body pain becomes predominant, weakness, muscle spasticity, and visual disturbances become exemplified, and my over all sense of my life feels as if it has been flushed down the Universal Toilet.

I share this with all y'all here on CHEESE because I believe, 1) It is important to be honest, and 2) It is also important to have a sense you are not AND you. I am considered an "expert" in my field regarding psychiatric symptomology and behavioral analysis/prediction and yet, I too, at times experience the very disturbances of psyche as some of my patients...the very disturbances YOU talk about on your own blogs or in emails to me! I become a classic case of "teacher becomes student".

So, we can ALL now point our finger at the elephant who's been tromping around in the CHEESE living room, identify it, call it by name, and try to move it back to the zoo where it belongs...before it breaks any of my expensive virtual furniture here on this blog. LOL I will continue to make my feeble attempts at humorous posts here, but please understand little in my life FEELS funny right now...except for the idea I might be able to do the "I'm pinching your head" Kids In The Hall approach with my "elephant" and shrink it down to a manageable size!!! (Ask MDMHVONPA...he'll know what I'm referencing here...oddly...sigh)...


Joan said...

It IS nice to know that I'm not alone in this.
I've had depression as a constant companion since high school. Over the years, we (psychologists and I) realized that it gets worse when my fatigue gets bad. Then the depression gets bad, which leads to more depression. Ad naseum.
It is a constant struggle.
I recently decided to get off my medication, though, in an attempt to stop pumping my body with so many prescriptions. I will start to slowly wean myself in the next few months. I'm doing this with a complete awareness and hope that things stay stable.
Again, I thank you for writing about this!

Peej said...

I have to thank you for acknowledging that there is more than one kind of depression. It's so logical and rational for people who are in pain or who have had their lives ripped asunder to suffer from situational depression IMO. No pills or head shrinking required for this one since once you feel better the depression lessens or goes away all by itself. Simple....

I'm just so tired of being told that every depressed person, regardless of the reason behind it, NEEDS MEDS! IMO, they couldn't be more wrong.

Hope you start feeling like your old self again soon! We miss your sarcasm. lol!


Sara said...

Hope it helps now that it's off your chest, sending sunshine & a hug your way from semi-sunny L'town, xx

Bubbie said...

Thanks for sharing Ms.Cheese. I tend to disguise my elephants with paint and drapery and call it an interior accessory, until of course the dung piles up and really stinks the place up. What comes first, who's on first, I dunno. Take care of yourself, all the rest is just stupid shit.

harkoo said...

I hope you have a lengthy bloc of time off coming up soon so you can rest-you are physically exhausted as well as depressed. I forget sometimes that you even have MS, you are able to keep up such a busy life. Thanks for letting us know you are having a hard time right now-just worry about taking care of yourself for now. You're in my heart.



Good luck with the med stop...sometimes it's important to "try our bodies out" at different times in our lives...especially since our hormones and chemicals all change with age. What worked or didn't work at one stage in our life may have a completely different response in another.

And are NOT alone...




Actually, there are many "types" and levels of the term "depression"...which is actually an over used AND over rated word in American vocabulary! True clinical depression (like all other psychiatric *disorders*) must meet certain criteria before it can be labeled as such...and thus, my friend, was the birth of the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual which is the psychiatric bible. LOL




Isn't sending sunshine from London almost like sending ice from hell?!? I didn't know the two coexisted together. LMAO




The MAJORITY is just stoopid shit really...I just sometimes get caught up in trying to create pretty clay-like pots out of the dung! LOL




I forget sometimes I have MS, too! Until it reminds me...then I can't remember what it feels like/felt like NOT to have MS. Kind of like child birth I suppose. LOL

Thanks for the well-wishes...


Have myelin? said...

I've had my head in a butt and didn't know you were going thru a depression as well. I'm on Celexa and I look at it no differently than receiving assistance for my hearing with aids or eyes with glasses.

But each to their own poison, LOL! Some can fight the "beast" better than others but when overcomed with too many soldiers (thyroid problems, MS, etc.) one has to know when to lose a battle in order to win the bar. Ya know?



So true, my true. Picking battles saves a whole lot of heart ache and pain. I prefer ones that I at least have a rat's ass chance in winning! LOL