When Blue Becomes Black Redux

In yesterday's post we talked a little about how it feels to suffer from clinical depression. The content was written nearly a year ago as we pondered our position one day. We wrote it as an exercise in getting some of our perceptions down on paper for our therapist and as a way of helping people understand what the illness is like from an up close and personal vantage point. We were neither deeply afflicted when we wrote it or when we posted it yesterday.

Many of you commented on the post and offered plenty of much-appreciated support. We're always a little surprised by that because it comes from people who have never met us and who only know us through what they read. We think that gives their support a power that makes it especially precious.

Even though the Poobah appreciates you more than he can say, you should also know that yours is not the only support we get. Mrs. Poobah, the Poobette, the Omnipotent Dad, and even the Omnipotent Pooch all provide unending support and understanding. We also have quite a good therapist and a well-trained psychiatrist who handles the medication end of things. Without this devoted team, grappling with the devil would be so much harder than it already is.

We've suffered for many years and eventually went into therapy about 15 years ago. About five years ago we made the difficult decision to begin taking medication. Over the years our condition has waxed and waned - sometimes because of external events, other times because the internal wiring got all floopy. It ranges from the very difficult to the minor annoyance level and we try to take them all in stride.

Our recent post about being a human requiring "will" is partially a result of those personal cycles. As the pattern of our life and illness became clear, we developed the willpower theory. We thought of all the times we were in bad shape and wondered why we didn't go deeply and permanently off the deep end. After all, we knew plenty of people who had, including many related directly to us.

We've always been functional, even when our mood is as black as black can get. We go to work. We play with the dog. We do odd jobs around the house. We live our life. Sometimes we just do it with significantly less enthusiasm than a non-sufferer.

Thankfully, we've never reached that stage when we've lost ourself completely. We did this because we had the will not to. We never considered collapsing in a heap a viable option. While we sometimes don't have a lot of "hope" in the sense that many people have it, we have a belief that things will eventually improve and invariably they do. We also accept that sometimes they get bad again and invariably they do that too.

Embracing this concept has been difficult, but we've made our peace with it. We appreciate the times when we feel better and we work hard at staying there. When things aren't so bright, we try to squeeze some sort of useful experience from it. We might learn a new coping mechanism. We may use the depressive's essentially pessimistic view to identify something we can change as we get better. We've learned that there is some good to be had in the struggle and while we wish we didn't have to do it, we're also intensely aware that is part of the fabric of our life.

The thing I've learned from blogging is that there are people out there who care about us, even we they don't have to. It isn't your "job" to protect us and help us, yet you do it anyway. And that, dear and supportive readers, is the biggest lesson I've learned lately. You are, quite simply, magnificent.

Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Tuesday, January 31, 2006

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