Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The depressive episodes shorten

My depressions usually last for months or weeks, and in the past it's been years. Earlier this year I had a depression that lasted for six weeks, but since then I've had two episodes that were much shorter: a week at the end of March, and one day this past weekend.

Does a shorter cycle mean my medication is taking effect? My psychiatrist adjusted it a few months ago. I've never gone down and then back to normal so frequently. But if this is how it gradually disappears, so be it!

My Depression Meetup is going strong on Monday nights in Rogers Park. It helps me a lot and I'm grateful for the friends I've made there. Building a true friendship takes time, but I think I'm on my way with a couple of people in the group. It's extremely valuable to be friends with people who also struggle with depression. When I tell them my symptoms are back they aren't as likely to give advice or rush to help (although sometimes they do, to my annoyance). My depressive friends also don't feel guilty that they can't make my depression go away. They usually understand that telling someone I'm depressed isn't asking for help per se. It's just reaching out for support and someone to listen. When I'm in depression, mostly what I need is to just know they're there. 

Also, my friends and acquaintances who actively manage depression don't get tired of me saying I'm depressed, as people without depression can. I'm very glad I started that Meetup.

I wish I could say that sitting in the Meetup always makes me feel better, but sometimes I sit there feeling angry that so many of us suffer this way. It's so unfair, especially since mental illness doesn't get the support and attention that physical illnesses get. We can't be cured, so I want to wave my arm and wipe us all out to end our pain. But we're just a tiny group of strugglers. The world is full of people in pain with mental illness. It feels like an overwhelming nightmare.

I'm not depressed today. My symptoms are gone for now. But I still feel the unfairness of people having to live with these handicaps. All I can do is keep plugging along, and if I can help someone else just for a few minutes, so much the better. And that's really all there is.

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