Friday, June 04, 2010


Depression is a cancer. It takes everything out of you and sucks you dry. Like cancer, even though you are the one fighting for your life there are so many people that are affected by it. I wish I could internalize my depression like I'm assuming others can, wearing a poker face and working normally, functioning normally until they go somewhere in private and just crash. When I'm on an upswing, I can do anything. My last job was so far-fetched that I actually called the HR recruiter and said, "would I be someone you would consider for this job?", and surprisingly I got it. Everyone I knew doubted I would last because it was a 50-hour workweek and very stressful situations. I wanted to prove them all wrong. After a lengthy training, I was told by my training manager that I was one of the best she ever trained. I wore it like a badge going into my location.

I was the smiling, happy boss. I was the boss that took away your stress so you could have a good shift, or talked an angry customer out of his anger. I lived for my job. I was happy to get up every day and go to work. I had the energy of ten men. In private, I was starting a new and exciting relationship, and my happiness carried over into my job. I was a great manager. I wanted to learn everything so I could be supermanager, but my boss was telling me one day at a time. It annoyed me. I knew I could take on big projects and keep focused on the day-to-day aspects of the job. A year in and I was still doing well. My relationship had progressed into an upcoming wedding, and I was doing great. I think. I kept telling myself that.

When there would be an un-salvageable customer situation, I blamed myself. When I had to be the bad boss and give it to one of my employees, I would stumble around for words in the conversation for fear that they wouldn't like me anymore. When the other managers would bring up an idea that I didn't like, or talk about an employee that wasn't a good one in my opinion, I would get MAD. I was running around with a ball of stress in my belly. When I came home most nights I would go straight to bed. I couldn't hide my emotions at work. If I was sick, I wanted to go home right away. If I got hurt by a comment, I would lock myself in the manager's office and cry my eyes out. When I was angry or depressed, it was written all over my face. I hated it. I wanted everyone to see happy Hed all the time.

I finally cracked three months into my new marriage. I was so depressed I almost quit on a whim. My boss and her boss sat me down and told me I needed help. I went on temporary disability for five weeks. The first three weeks I couldn't get out of bed. I went to the doctor three times that month and a psychiatrist to try and fix myself with medication. When I came back from "vacation", I was back to my old self and better than ever. I heard comments from my employees that I was doing great, and it fed me. I took on mini-projects at work and at home, enrolling in college on the side. All was right with the world for a while, but the cancer came back and slowly spread.

I woke up one day and couldn't go to work. I didn't have the energy. I drove all the way to work then promptly left. My boss texted me that if I didn't come back right then and there, there would be severe consequences. So I quit. I quit. I quit my dream job. I quit my job that my husband and I relied on to live. I quit my work family, just cut them off without warning or notice. I quit my boss, who had been invaluable in my growth and demeanor as a manager. I rationalized my decision, and a few weeks later I ended up dropping out of school because I was about three weeks behind. I started up a new job with half the pay of my previous one and was doing well. I missed a lot of work, made a lot of excuses and lies to stay at home until one day I couldn't get out of bed for it. Or anything else.

I thought, like all of my other depressive episodes, in a month or so I would get better. But it didn't happen. Two months passed. Three. Four. I am now typing this at over six months in. I fought at first, going to doctors once a month to tweak my medication, to extend my disability a few weeks longer. I got fired without anyone notifying me at my new job. I found out by calling their corporate HQ while checking on my health benefits. I lost our beautiful house, the house my then-fiancé and I moved into together, and became husband and wife in. I can't imagine starting a new job, meeting new people, being happy. I stopped fighting. I died the day I couldn't get out of bed.

Like cancer, you hope that somewhere in the arsenal of medicine and therapies there is a cure for depression. You hope you will recover. I haven't yet. All those times my depression went into remission without treatment have come back to haunt me. I hurt every day, and the people around me watch me waste away.


Rox said...

Sweetie, as long as you see it in front of you, you have not given up. I see you fighting and I salute you for swimming uphill through molasses.

And its so hard when talk therapy is what really works but your insurance doesn't stretch that far. I am so thrilled you are writing. That is such a gift. Never stop. I love you. Auntie

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