This is something that bothered me badly. Everyone said I had to fight the depression, fight the anxiety, fight the steady, then marked decline in my thinking and memory. I’d BEEN FIGHTING those for SOOOOO Long. But my fighting wasn’t working anymore. Over twenty years of medication, lights. diet, everything the doctors suggested and I was spiraling down all over again.
Decades ago I had a Break. In came the medication and therapy – discovered I had Double Depression. Talk about a sick joke, huh? Double? Really? It meant that I had lived with a low grade depression my entire life – I had no concept of what it was to just be happy, apart from any specific occurrence. No one just wakes up happy, right? I distinctly distrusted those who pretended that they did. Dysthymia is what they call that low grade stuff. Then when I had a Major Depressive Episode, that added another depth of nastiness.
It took a year and a lot of work but I pulled out of the worst of it. Got to work like a normal person again, confront life in all it’s technicolor grandeur. My niece turned into my nieces and a nephew and I focused on being the best aunt on the planet. And I”m not bad at it, from what they tell me now. The oldest is 23, the youngest 8. Yeah. Talk to my brother about that one.
But almost a year ago I felt the Darkness encroaching and nothing helped it. Then I started forgetting things, just nouns at first. This bothered me to no end, as I have always had an expansive vocabulary. But they said it was hormones and would resolve. Only it didn’t. Then it got hard to concentrate. Then I started forgetting random stuff, then lots of stuff. Sooo much forgotten stuff I didn’t realize I was forgetting anymore.
The Break happened, as it so often does, when an event occurred that mimicked earlier traumas. I’m certain the people involved had no intention of causing such a drastic reaction. But in a matter of a few minutes EVERYTHING changed. And I could no longer function. That started an entirely new round of doctor visits and psych referrals and medicines and therapy. Everyone acted like what they chipped in to the mix was what would “fix” me, and in a matter of weeks I’d be good as new. Only I wasn’t.
Therapy didn’t seem to help much beyond giving me a non-judgmental ear to help me look at things from a different perspective. But I was going to find a way through and I knew that meant dealing with the hazy memories that came more and more often, and the crying, shaking reactions to racy things posted on the net or in groups I was involved with, things that had never bothered me before.
It was basically just my own stubbornness that allowed the greatest progress. I knew from researching a character in a novel I had in progress that the only way to to survive was going to be to walk THROUGH whatever my mind had shut out. I stopped fighting the memories. Actually started journaling about anything that I could remember. Talking with my mother had revealed an enormous blank spot in my memories. About 2 to 3 years of my childhood were simply not there. I had moved memories from other times into those years. And things I should have remembered I had no sense of. Now, I can remember back to some of age 2, so the black hole was disturbing.
Then it surfaced – childhood sexual abuse. First with one then by a group. I was dumbfounded. Other therapists had questioned, because of my persistent weight problems, but I’d always insisted I just loved food. There was no hint of memories, nothing. Till about a year and a half ago. They had started slowly and faint, but once I opened the floodgates it was a deluge. And I was left sitting on my bed trying to figure out how I was going to go on from there.
I did go on. And I found tools that helped me begin healing. I’ll talk about more of those as I go along. But there ARE TOOLS. Tools we can find and use outside of all the doctors and medicine. Tools that have not only let me begin healing but given me a life that is sooo much better there aren”t even words. Now, my life looks NOTHING like it did before. I’ve had to accept drastic changes and they still annoy me more often than I would like. But there is a way to a better life. There is HOPE.