Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Depression is a Bitch

It has become painfully obvious to me over the past month that I am struggling with depression. This is not a completely new development in that I have dealt with this off and on for the past two years or so. Over the past couple of months, though, it has become much worse. Enough so that it is interfering with my life. I have moments where I feel I am crashing hard and I don't know if I'll recover. If I don't do something, I fear I will.

To that end, I am going on a retreat. Alone. My friend, Jeromy, told me about a place in Minnesota, Pacem in Terris. It is a Catholic retreat where one can go to "get away from it all." There is no electricity or plumbing. A basket of bread and fruit is provided daily. You are alone with your thoughts. I'm taking a notebook, some pens, and my camera; that's it. I'll be gone from Sunday until Thursday.

I can't wait.

I seem to have a natural inclination toward melancholy, but it wasn't a big deal until I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Since then it has been an ongoing issue. I don't get depressed over the fact that I have MS, but the MS does affect my brain and one of the side-effects (a fairly common one) is depression. It is without a doubt the worst side-effect I have had to deal with. Even the constant fatigue is not as bad. Of course I have not yet had any physical debilitations, but I have a hard time imagining even those to be as bad as the depression.

Everything going on in my life over the past year has not made things any easier, either. I fought for custody of my daughters and won which I am eternally grateful for, but it also means that I now have to be a dad full-time instead of one day a week. I love it, but it's not easy. My daughters came out of a very negative environment and so on top of the normal parenting challenges I am trying to help them overcome their issues from their previous home. Also at home has been a lot of chaos due to...well, due to a number of issues. I've been trying to do school. It seems like I've been going forever and I'm so close to finishing my degree, but it feels so far away. At work, my job duties have nearly doubled since December. And, of course, dealing with my health and the discovery that I have two incurable autoimmune diseases does little to help matters.

So, I've had a lot on my plate and really no respite from it. Lately I honestly haven't really cared about much of anything and things in my life - school, my relationship with my family and friends, work - have all suffered for it. I don't expect this trip to be a cure all, but it will be an important step. I need to get away from everything for a few days, to have time to think, refocus, and clear my head. When I come back, I expect to have the will and the energy to re-tackle my life head on and get to where I want to go.

I also promise to start blogging more. Writing is hard when you're depressed.


Darcy said...

Good luck Shane! Recognizing it and deciding to do something about it is half the battle. As a fellow depression sufferer, I will keep you in my prayers, and just know that you are not alone in the battle. It has a way of coming up and biting you in the ass just when you have control of it, doesn't it. Have a safe journey!

Kamela Raines said...

Shane I do hope your retreat helps open up some sunshine in your life! In regard to the depression though - dont expect to come back fully charged and ready to go... recovery from depression is more of a journey than an event. I have had issues off and on with depression and its difficult to say the least - I always say im reallyyy good at faking it and then hoping at some point I actually believe im as happy as everyone sees me....in a way thats fairly positive thinking I'd say :) In anycase shane - let me know if you need an ear, an honest opinion, a helping hand or a bitch slap ---- im good accross the board for any of the above hun. Your gonna be ok - it just takes time, prayer, good meds, and support and I'd say you have all of it!

Captain Noble said...

Thanks for the kinds words everyone. I really appreciate it.

Yes, Kamela, I don't expect this little excursion to be a miracle, just a little something to give me a jump start and put me back on the right path. It won't be easy, but I think it's right I need right now.