Monday, October 24, 2011

And then the world turns grey

UPDATE: within days of writing this post, I began feeling better. If you are suffering in silence, please reach out to someone. It makes a world of difference. You are not alone.

It is interesting that in first-person writings about depression, the colours black and grey play a large role. Don't you think?

Colour, especially bright colour, must tap into something in our limbic system to which we respond spontaneously. Think of how the Wizard of Oz movie switched from black-and-white to colour when Dorothy landed in the magical land of Oz.

Katie Sokoler, a talented street artist and photographer from New York, uses her blog to express the kind of joy that colour brings. It is the exact opposite of depressed.
From Katie Sokoler's blog, Color Me Katie
Way back in the mid-1990s, I wrote an article for the Medical Post about my experience of antidepressants. It was one of the very first articles I had published. This was before the internet was "a thing." But here we are, fifteen years later, and my article* is out there, never to be drawn back in. Although this is potentially problematic when I'm looking for employment, I do stand by what I wrote back then: I made a conscious decision to live, and I am grateful that there are medications available to help me do that.

I'm referring to that article now because of this line that I wrote so long ago:
A year ago, my world was tinted tan and gray, my body a hideous cage from which I sought release. Since then I have found the freedom which was at the heart of my search. I am free of despair, free of the constant companion of self-hatred.
I've come a long way since then, but one of the unfortunate things I've learned is that, for me, that monochrome world of hopelessness is really never far away. This reality is exhausting. It is like building a house on a constantly eroding shoreline.

This fall has seen some very rainy days, literally and metaphorically. I'm doing the right things  (taking my meds, talking to my loved ones, getting out in the fresh air [I know! Me?]), but it feels like I'm losing ground. The shadow voices call to ... stop fighting it. To rest, to sleep. I know those seductive siren voices too well.

I want to leave you with assurances that I will never hurt myself, that I would never do that to my children, to my husband, but the reality is that the fucked-up chemicals in my brain have a mind of their own. (Pun intended.)

If I had cancer, I would ask unabashedly for your prayers. If I needed a kidney or bone marrow, I would send out a clarion call. For the sake of all the others out there who have been too ashamed to speak out when their disease was invisible, when the illness was mental, I will do so now: please pray for me. Specifically, pray for:
  • A good psychiatrist covered by OHIP
  • A quick turnaround
  • Good meds
Tonight, I choose to set my mind on this:
Whatever is true
whatever is honorable
whatever is right
whatever is pure
whatever is lovely
whatever is of good repute
if there is any excellence
and if anything worthy of praise
dwell on these things.
                             ~Philippians 4:8
I'm going to head on over to Pinterest, where there is no end of uplifting things, including this.
Now, in the words of Martha Stewart, isn't that a "good thing"?

* I have no idea why they consider me a New York Voice, and I have never given permission for electronic publication of this article. Furthermore, my name is unusual enough that if anyone took half an effort to find me, he or she would succeed.

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