Saturday, September 19, 2009

I Wish My Family Members Cared Enough to Become Informed

Please do not treat me like I am not trying hard enough, or if only I tried harder all would fall into place. Severe and Chronic Major Depression is not like that...not for me anyways.

Me: "Sister I need help. I don't know what to do anymore. I am so tired all the time. You know how people with cancer or hepatitis feel so tired they can't do anything? I feel like that. Exhausted. I am scared. I have suicidal thoughts all the time. I am so sick I want to give up. I won't because I love you and our family so much, but I can't handle this anymore. I need help."

Sister: "You are not sick. You do not have cancer, or hepatitis, or any other illness. All you need to do is get doing things. Get busy. Go kayaking, go for a walk, do your art."

Me: "I have an illness that makes it hard to do things most times. I have no energy. I am sick."

Sis: "You are not sick, you don't have an illness. You are depressed."

etc., etc.

I am lost. I really am sick. Last week I asked my sisters to call me every couple days, just to let me know they love me and care about me, I felt it would help me stay here. I felt really proud of myself for asking for help. Once again though, I reached out for help and have been pushed away.

I am so depressed I am having a hard time functioning. No one sees it. Not the Art clubhouse, where I have tried to explain I need some concessions during this time; not my family...who are telling me not to phone.

On some level my boyfriend is there for me and I really appreciate his being there, but I brought up the fact that I wanted to go to the hospital for ECT and he flipped out; saying if I went to the hospital I would be abandoning him.

I tried to explain that my going to the hospital was nothing about abandoning him, and everything about taking care of myself. He said:, "Don't turn this around." (as though I am abandoning him, but just excusing it by saying I am helping myself???? I don't get it.

He constantly denies I am depressed, or that I have anything to be depressed about. The latter may be true, but from my perspective it seems I am depressed...even if most others in my life don't think so. I really get confused with his attitude, given he has a mental illness and is depressed himself.

I feel so intensely frustrated that those closest to me are telling me I do not feel, or look like I am, depressed. I feel like screaming I am so frustrated. I know I must annoy others...but imagine what I feel like, never getting well....nothing ever working.

I do have a couple people who are very supportive. My friend E is a saint. I feel blessed that she continues to listen to me and be by my side. Same with Dr. X. My boyfriend too, despite his denial of my depression, stays by me and holds me when I need to be held. I have met a new friend to...A and she is so sweet. I hope I can be the friend all these people need when they need a friend.

You might think it was a blessing for others to believe you capable of big things, but sometimes, when a person like me is extremely ill it is hard for others to see such a "strong" person needs help.

Please, if a family member has a mental illness, and is struggling, please take the time to educate yourself about what your family member is struggling with. I feel abandoned and dismissed by my family. I love them so much, yet given I have struggled for years and years, have lost my job, and have basically lost my interest in life...I feel pretty hurt that they have not taken any time, or effort to educate themselves about how these mental illnesses impact the people who have them.

I feel like they do not love me enough to even spend an afternoon at a depression information session, or to read about what it is like to live with severe and treatment resistant depression, or even to come over to my place and go see Dr. X with me. I feel really alone when it comes to my family. So alone I cannot even express it in words...


Hannah said...

I feel so sad reading this post, it's such a shame that your family are being so dismissive of your illness. It is a terrible feeling when family and loved ones turn their backs. I can really sympathise. Sometimes it can be really hard to see someone close to you suffer and I think this can then manifest itself as denial. I'm sure your family love you deep down but perhaps they are scared or unsure of how to help, perhaps they feel they aren't the right people to be helping you.
I think your boyfriend is consumed by his own illness at the moment which is why he doesn't want you to leave him and go to hospital - he sees it as an abandonment most likely because he is in need of a lot of support right now - but he must realise that your health is important too, and if you need treatment then he has to be supportive and allow you the freedom to pursue it.
It does sound like you have some great friends though that will help you through the tough times, don't give up because there will always be people that care for you. Remember you have a lot of online support here too.
Biggest Hugs

Hann xx

Friend of the Bear said...

Hi Aqua.

I think Hannah is right about denial. But also maybe your family's behaviour towards you is part of the reason for your illness in the first place? Their lack of ability to see beyond their own needs and to truly see you is indeed something very depressing. But their reactions are about them and not a reflection on your worth as a human being.

I think maybe your boyfriend denies your depression because he needs you to be the well one and support him. This is tough on you. I had that problem with The Bear. He couldn't see beyond his own troubles.

Even if these people are not able to see you as you really are it doesn't invalidate your experience of life. They are constantly telling you things aren't as you feel they are. This can lead to a further feeling of disassociation so I hope you are not led to doubt yourself.

You also have to remember that unless they have suffered severe long term depression themselves it is almost impossible for them to imagine how it feels.

Looking on the positive side, your family are trying to gee you up with their suggestions and your boyfriend really needs you and gives you hugs. And you have a couple of friends and Dr X who do hear what you say and understand you.

And of course all of us here on the web who believe what you write and want to know what you're thinking about and how you're feeling.

Best wishes,
Bearfriend xx

Boopsy said...

My sister says Mom doesn't believe I have bipolar disorder. I'm convinced that she doesn't want to believe because she might feel responsible and therefore feel guilty about her decisions as a single mother. The truth is that both sides of my family are riddled with addiction and mental illness, so it's really not her fault. She won't understand that however.

You'd think that parents could be more supportive of the beings they brought into the world, but I think emotions get in the way.

Annie said...

Aqua, I am so sorry you are not supported by your family. I can relate and believe that unless you have had clinical depression you can't really understand. I also feel that people are afraid of it so they minimize it and even run from it. I hope it helps for you to have support from blogging friends.
Peace, Annie

Friend of the Bear said...

Hi Aqua. I just gave you an Honest Scrap Award because I think you are very brave in your honesty on this blog.

See my blog for details.

Best wishes,
Bearfriend xx

catatonickid said...

i'm so sorry they don't understand. it hurts and it's so unfair and it makes the exhausted even more exhausting.

but no matter what they don't get, you do have an illness and you are doing all you possibly can to heal, with or without them. i wish they were with you though.


Lola Snow said...

Are you out there Aqua? Hope you are safe, I know you are posting from the library but I hope your silence is only indicative of opportunity, not of suffering. Thinking of you,

Lola x

Rach said...

Hope you're doingok... haven't seen any action on your blog in a little while. I hope you're getting the help, love and support that you deserve.

lostinamaze said...

I just want to let you know that I am thinking of you.