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.

The Sixth-Grade Demographic

Judging by comments to this post, I'm guessing that my daughter, Erica, is attempting to garner a larger audience for me. I'm touched really, but I don't think she realizes that much of what I write on here is not suitable for kids (or anyone with taste).

Hmmmm...it makes me wonder, though? Could a blog be used as a teaching tool for children? What would it be like? Would it be one author with comments? Could kids post entries? Hmmmm...