Friday, August 21, 2009

What's Wrong?

I adore and love my boyfriend "I". He is one of the most interesting, funniest, warmest, sweetest and sexiest men I have ever known. I am at a loss in one area though. I feel really confused when the topic of my mood disorder comes up. It is as though he is in complete denial that I am depressed.

He "knows" I am depressed. We met at an art clubhouse for people with severe and persistent mental illnesses. That is one of the criteria for joining this particular art program. We both have mental illnesses. We have talked about how important it is for us to support and care for each other both when we are well and when we are ill.

"I"'s perspective on mental illness has been extremely complicated by his father committing suicide when he was a child. It becomes even more complex when you learn his father was a psychiatrist.

This is how the conversation that confounds me goes:

I: How are you.
Me: I am not feeling well.
I: Why not?
Me: I am depressed.
I: What are you depressed about?
Me: I don't know. No reason. I just feel intensely depressed. It never seems to be about anything. It just comes upon me for no reason.

This conversation may seem innocuous, but the fact that I have to tell him I am depressed, and that he wonders why I am not feeling well, and what I am depressed about...over and over and over...makes me feel really misunderstood.

I have tried to explain my symptoms to him; my suicidal ideation, my severely low mood, the fatigue, the amotivation, the anxiety etc. He sees me cry, and unable to clean, or cook, or do much of anything, but he keeps telling me I am not depressed and/or asking me why I am depressed. Having all these symptoms is depressing. How can he not understand that.

I have to admit that I hold back when I tell him how depressed I am. He is still traumatized by his Dad's suicide. I do not want to trigger him by talking openly about my suicidal ideation; especially because I ideate about hanging myself over and over throughout the day, everyday. His father hung himself.

While I do not relay the vivid details, I do express that I am desperate, that I want to go in for ECT, and that I cannot manage this illness much longer. He sees that I see Dr. X each week. For some reason he thinks I do not need to see a psychiatrist. He says I am not sick.

I think he sees me as being funny, supportive, loving and functioning maybe on a level above many who have the same symptoms I do. Maybe what he sees and experiences does not match what I feel, or what I tell him I feel. Maybe his experience of his own depression is different. Maybe this suggests to him I am not as depressed as I think I am.

He is so wrong. I am so depressed I feel like I might not survive if something doesn't change very soon.

What's wrong?
  • I have to take so much medicine, just to still feel this bad...a Mood Stabilizer,an antidepressant, sleep medication(another antidepressant), thyroid medication, and a stimulant)
  • I cannot stay out of bed I am so exhausted.
  • I can't eat properly both because I cannot walk, or drive three blocks to the grocery store to buy decent, healthy food, and because I have enough energy and motivation to eat Cheetos and cereal...that's it.
  • I feel sick inside all the time...physically sick, like I can barely move, am nauseous and I feel blah.
  • I want to crawl into a fetal position and pray my life will end
  • I see ways to kill myself everywhere I go: a car crash, pills, a bus running me over, being hit by a car as I cross the street, falling from a bridge, drowning in the ocean etc...
  • I feel dissociated much of the time; detached, depersonalized.
  • I feel desperately isolated, alone, lonely. I feel so alone through this. It is impossible for anyone to understand what this feels like. There is no one who understands the level of depression I feel.

I want to kill myself, I want to die, I don't want to live if this is what my life will be like...that is what is wrong.


Handsome B. Wonderful said...

Sometimes I wonder if we'd all be better living together in some "commune" type place. Buy a bunch of land up in the mountains somewhere and each person gets a cabin with a minimum distance between cabins for the recluses like myself.

Then maybe we can live in some peace and harmony amongst others that understand us. Then again, we might all kill make each others' illnesses worse lol.

Harriet said...

I wonder if he's not getting it because of his own mental illness, or because of meds he is taking (when I took meds I didn't "feel" as much, you know, and probably wasn't as empathetic as I usually am). Or maybe he is in denial, about himself and/or about you. Or like you said, you seem so normal, that how can you possibly be depressed? Oh, I know the feeling of putting up a happy front. Or maybe he sees what he wants to see.

In any case, if what you need is for your boyfriend to understand you and to validate how you feel, then that is what you deserve.

EJ said...

Hi Aqua,

I keep wanting to write something here, but I don't know what to say...except that I wish that you felt better right now and I hope that you feel some relief soon. I wish that you did not feel so alone...

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Rach said...

Hey Aqua,

I've been sitting her with my browser window open for the last little while trying to figure out what to write...

I think we all have a different understanding of "depression"... I'm sure it's very difficult for your BF to understand exactly what YOUR depression is like if his is something completely different.