Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Hollow

This post will not be eloquent, or elegant. I seem to have lost my ability to write. That is why I have not been posting. I have lost my voice. I cannot seem to "create" anymore, whether it be painting, drawing or writing, my creative self, my artistic spirit seems quite literally to have disappeared.

I am not sure why. I am still severely depressed (and getting worse...again), so I know that affects me, but even when severely depressed I usually am at least a bit creative. Since I had ECT last year, and/or since I began taking Lithium I have lost both my creativity, and have been having great difficulty with my memory.

Anyways, I was just thinking about what to talk about in therapy. It seems like I get to therapy and I have no idea what to say...sort of like not writing here, or not being able to create. I feel like I can't express myself the way I need to. So I was just thinking about what is most important for me to deal with and I made a list.

1. For the last year I have had extreme memory problems. I get lost in my own city, confused when trying to navigate, even in places I am extremely familiar with. I forget appointments, stand up friends, can't remember what I just read, have huge holes in my long term and short term memory and feel so frustrated and stupid I want to scream. Dr. X tells me it is "pseudo-dementia", that if it were real I would not know I was having these difficulties. This idea enrages me. This "fake" dementia...is adding to the already huge ruins of my life.

I feel angry, because my memory problems are REAL. This problem is severely affecting my life. It is also making me feel even more depressed and anxious, I feel stupid and slow. People look at me strangely, judge me, and are annoyed I can't remember things. It is getting worse.

2. My constant negative thoughts, racing and going around and around and around incessantly all day. It is to the point that the only thing I look forward to is taking my sleeping medication so I can stop the thoughts.

3. I am angry with myself for loosing track and control of my life. I Intellectually i think I understand I have a mental illness, but on some, deeper, more important level I think I am in denial that an illness has made me this way. I feel like I did this to myself for some reason. I let myself get off track. If I really tried harder I could get better. If I really wanted it I could change.

4. I am so sick of feeling sick all the time. So tired of how fatigued I feel every single day. I feel so fatigued that I don't want to do anything. I literally have to FORCE myself to do the smallest of tasks. I am so sick of it being so much of an effort to do simple things.

5. "Compartmentalizing"...I feel like I am not a consistent person/being. I feel like I change to be whoever I think people need me to be. It is exhausting. I have no idea WHO I am.

6. I want to die...This seems to be the only consistent thought I have. I know I have talked about having suicidal thoughts before, but I feel intensely uncomfortable discussing the details and the depths to which these thoughts engulf me. I feel like the thoughts (an therefore myself) will be seen as childish, or attention seeking, or that they will be dismissed. I feel ashamed for having the thoughts, but I need someone to tell them to.

7. "I feel hollow", Sylvia path said this in the movie "Sylvia", then went on to explain she felt like she was a shell and there was a huge emptiness within. I feel exactly like that, It is even worse since ECT/and or Lithium. My creative spirit, my desire, my abilities, my being has disappeared.

It feels like dying is the only way all these problems will disappear. I see no way out.

48 comments:

DOT said...

Well, obviously you haven't lost your ability to write.

Your post is as good a description of an individual's interior topography as I have read.

Second, I can identify with some of the symptoms described, though not to the extremes you are currently struggling with, and hope that the act of writing this piece has helped you.

Small steps, small acts, when I can summon the energy, help me. (Of course the energy bit is usually the problem.)

Rach said...

I also can really identify with much of what you write, Aqua.
Like DOT said, small steps, small acts.
One day at a time.

Anonymous said...

It sounds so sad but it's actually worse than sad, isn't it? We single- handedly destroy and sabotage ourselves and any relationship that would place the tiniest commitment on us. I have searched on google trying to find a way to simply disappear in order to eliminate any obligation on myself and towards those I love. I had a popular decorating blog which I closed because I could not bare the "happy" comments when I posted something I made; yet would get more depressed when'll one commented. I spend my days in bed thanks to benedryl and nyquil. Those drugs seem to take away the pain since I can sleep thru it now. I am going to follow your blog in the hope that you might discover a place to go-- like a home for broken toys.

Finding Monsters said...

I'm so drawn to your clear and concise issues that you're having, I run into the same either one at a time or all at once.

Feeling 50% right now, but after seeing your post I see there are kindred spirits, which I believe will ultimately help me (us?) heal.

I've just this evening started my blog and feel encouraged to not leave it by the wayside.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I hate the negative thoughts too. To fight back, Feeling Good, Feeling Better by David Burns is a good book to digest, bit by bit though. His exercises force me to realize that the negative thoughts and stories I tell myself are lies, all of them. I'm still working on acceptance of that fact. After years of depression and defaulting to negative thinking, it's impossible for me to remember the truths I realize unless I write them down. I have started to take a notebook with me to therapy so that I can write down what I learn about myself there and afterward. Otherwise, I forget. Therapy is too expensive and my mental health is too fragile to keep forgetting.

I think about wanting to be dead, but not killing myself. I think that difference is what keeps me going. If I do think about killing myself, what I'm really wanting is simply for someone to want to rescue me. My family ignores me during my times of greatest despair because they don't want it to be so. I absorb it it when I'm down but when I'm feeling better, I'm flat out angry for having been abandoned during a time of personal desperation.

I think hug therapy sounds nice. At least the idea of sounds better than all the other therapies we put ourselves through.

robla1 said...

hey aqua,

just found your blog as am dealing with benzo withdrawal hypomania. so leaving you a post may be a part of that, but just want to give you a 'hey, you're not alone' and a smile. and now back to sunday night. ugh.

Rach said...

Aqua, how you doing?

Kelley said...

I feel exactly the same way. I was wondering if the fatigue is part of your depression? Because I am constantly tired and in pain all over my body. I've been tested alot and the drs have yet to find anything physically wrong with me :(

Anonymous said...

Kelley - I have body aches and am tired all of the time too. I just quit Cymbalta (2-3 weeks) and I have been wondering if stopping the medication has triggered something that now makes everything hurt.

Thank you for giving people a place to openly discuss their experiences. This doesn't really help when people say it to me but here goes, you are not alone. I have 1 through 7 on the list and a I have a few more numbers to add to that list.

What has helped is baby steps to overcoming the current terror(s), and watching What About Bob and honey badger videos.

Anonymous said...

Hope you are feeling better--I've enjoyed reading your blog. I hope we hear from you soon.

Elisabetta Reist said...

You really have not lost your ability to write. Every sentence is clear, every thought is clear. Your voice is not lost. I think your ability to express yourself is a great help. Just recognize it as such. You can be grateful for this gift. Feeling grateful is the beginning of feeling better
in all senses. You may think that this is not easy.Take little steps in this direction. Every day, whenever you think of it. You will see that even small steps add to better health.

Lisa the college student said...

I really like your honesty in your posts. My dad had ECT about 10 yrs. ago and his memory got worse after he had it. His memory got a little bit better after a few months but never went back to what it was before the ECT. So no it is not in your head and don't let a doctor tell you any differently.
Also, I like to paint and draw like you seem to. For a couple of years I didn't have the urge to create anything and couldn't think of any ideas. Then I started to do more abstract art and thought about how depression had affected my life. I put my thoughts on a piece of paper or canvas the best that I could. I don't paint or draw as much as I did before I got depression but ever since I started doing more abstract art it has become easier to pick up a pencil or paint brush. Maybe try artistically small and try to branch off from that. Also, I very much enjoyed your blog post and believe you will write the same as you formerly did one day. It just takes time. I am just a college student but have had depression for 5 yrs. I hope my comment helps you out at least a little bit.

My Black Fog said...

Hi
I just stubled upon your blog. Sorry to hear your struggling right now. I suffer with depression too and have a blog
http://jacquierose.wordpress.com/
I have found a lovely community on here and have made some great friends.
I see you've stopped writing at the moment. I can only hope to say i will bookmark your blog and hope to see you writing on it again soon

Melanie said...

I have been blog hopping and landed here.

Reading your blog (and recently starting my own) have brought to the surface many buried feeling.

I have spent far too many years in my short life depressed and anxious.

After 4 years of horrible depression I finally feel like I am on the other side (for now).

I just want you to know that there is HOPE. There is ALWAYS HOPE.

Life wont always be this way. It will get better. Just don't give up fighting. DON'T EVER give up fighting. You are worth it.

Depression Treatment Center said...

Depression is a complex and painful condition. The feelings of despair and hopelessness can and often do create forgetfulness and a lack of creative thinking. It feels as though you are at a complete "stop" as a person. I work with people with depression and find that alternate therapies such as meditation, yoga, and art therapy coupled with traditional modalities can give relief to many.

Kim said...

Thank you for describing in exact detail how I've felt for years. I literally drag myself through each day and I long for bed and sleep because that is the only time there is any peace and quiet inside my head. I will say that even through these feelings, I have survived the urge to kill myself. Sometimes you have to just get through the next minute, the next hour. Please remember that YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH, EXACTLY AS YOU ARE RIGHT NOW. That is how I get through. I've been admitted to the hospital for my issues before...and my roommate in the hospital had ECT treatments. She came back from the first not remembering if she liked chicken for lunch, if she even ever had chicken before in her life. I'm praying for you.

canada freebies said...

Great article. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I wrote a poem, "I Am An Afterthought" and decided to google the phrase to see if anyone else out there in the vast world of the internet had felt the way I did... Turns out you have, Aqua. I read through the majority of your posts and it's a relief that many of the feelings I've been experiencing are written here. It's comforting to know that many others in this world suffer, much like I do. It makes me wonder when you will continue to write. I have bookmarked your site and hope that sometime soon you will return the world of blogging to provide comfort to myself and others. Obviously, you have impacted many - from February to August 2011, there are 17 responses to your own blog post, "Hollow". You have a following.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if you'll read this but I just found your blog linked from health.com and I will be thinking of you. I'm 22 and also suffer from MDD and to read your writing it felt like you were writing for me. Your posts impact more people thank you know I'm sure.

Mental Health Speciaist said...

Depression and other mental anguishes can cause a huge hole in a person's social life. It's great that you can write as fluently as you do! Remember that you always have many resources online available to call for therapy whenever you need it.

My Voice said...

I have only been on medication and in therapy for depression for 5 months and I can connect with some of the things you've said, although I would say I have mild-moderate depression. However, I'm thinking I'll be battling it for the rest of my life.

Some days are better than others right?, My hope is that when you wake up in the morning, that you try and hope that this day will be an okay day. Maybe a little sticky note on the mirror?

Deep breaths, one day a a time.

Anonymous said...

I know very much how you feel, I went through a very short but very scary period of Depression, I can relate to something you said about feeling like your a shell with nothing inside. There was a moment in my life (the worse moment in my entire life)where I felt like that - I was afraid to speak because I thought nothing would come out! However, I don't know if you'd be receptive to religion I know it's a touchy subject, especially christianity, but I listened to some free podcasts by Andrew Wommack - the 'God Wants You Well' series - he can be a bit blunt but it's what I needed at the time. I appreciate that it may not be your cup of tea, but you wouldn't believe how much it helped me. It took a while for all that he says to work in my life, but it did! I still have moments of fear, but I can control them now and most of the time I just feel content in life. I'm not a religios fanatic evangelising to the world, hope it doesn't come across that way, but the fact is: it 'cured' me. You just have to remember - you will feel better again!

halfwaybetweenthegutter said...

I've been reading your blog for a little while, and although I don't really have anything constructive to say, I do want to just extend a hand.

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Nurse and Hospital Stories said...

"It feels like dying is the only way all these problems will disappear. I see no way out."

That's not a healthy thought, eh. Dying is for those people who have done already the things that they wanted to do in their lifetime. Do you think, you have live your life to the fullest already, to think of dying, eh? Remember that many people are fighting to survive, yet there you are seeing death as a solution to your problem. It's not actually, eh. Have hope, fight and live.

Cheers,
Peny@What Nurses Could Do to Co-Workers in Preventing Workplace Violence

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Me myself and I, that's all I got in the end. said...

You have no idea how much I relate to what you said. I'm having major memory problems as well. Sometimes I forget that I took my meds right after taking them! The important thing is, you're not alone- you
do want to get better, you're just running on pharmaceutical interven
tion and it manipulates our
entir
+e
br
ain chemistry. In a sense-
we become robots and lab rats, void of the perception that what we feel is real.

Anonymous said...

I hope your lack of posts just means you are getting help. :(

Mike Brown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Guerrowolf said...

my heart goes out to you. thank you for sharing your frustration. i hope you keep posting because i want to keep coming back. this is the first blue blog i have ever read. mainly cause i have been scared that i may drive myself further into my own issues, i am scared of my not good enough feelings. afraid of not understanding... embracing my ignorance is bliss. only there is no such thing. i am worried all the time. constantly fighting. maybe thats why we are so tired... cause we are struggling so often. maybe its not weakness i am feeling but rather a good fatigue. i want to be better. better for me and then better for the rest.
thank you and thank you very much for posting XO

F said...

I am you. it's so clear now.

Ebony Rose said...

I could relate on so many levels to the issues you shared.It seems each day is a repeat of the next -my moods hitting a peak and then a deep valley where the thought of suicide seems like the only answer. And yet as a Christian I know that it isn't the answer, which in turn makes me feel even worse. I feel stuck and I find myself hating myself for it. Is it my lack of willpower that inhibits the creation of positive thoughts in my brain? I want my mood to improve and stay that way.

Sarah said...

I just stumbled upon your post and I have to say that if this writing is your worst I can't wait to go back and read what else you have written. I hope you are feeling better and that eventually you can get back to writing. It's important to all of us that suffer from depression, to know that we are not the only ones who are going through these issues.

Thank You

Anonymous said...

Try the beautiful Buddhist chant 'Nam Myoho Renge Kyo' to see the beauty in your life. You can go to www.sgi-usa.org to learn more. Hope this helps.

Perotheus said...

Today is June 14, 2012. Reading your posts, my heart aches for you. I wonder if you are still hanging in there, and hoping that you are - I wonder if you are doing OKAY.

I often have thought that border along the lines of yours -- but I think yours are much, much more severe in the respect that you have put much more thought into it and actually made various PLANS. This worries me, (and I do not even know you in person).

I do hope that you are still alive, and I hope that things have started looking up for you.

If you ever see me online (AIM, GTALK), I am open to providing some time to /listen/ (which would be via text, but listen nonetheless).

I am sorry you are having a hard time, and sorry it has lasted as long as it has. I am sorry that your pdoc has not been able to provide you with whatever it is you need. I am sorry that your husband apparently feels lost (although I think he truly does want to help -- I just think that many many people do now know HOW to help a person in your situation).

As I said, I hope things have started to look brighter for you. I hope that you have stuck it out and are still around. WIth the right friends lending unbiased ear, you can get through some pretty heavy problems.

My best to you...

Tim said...

Your post is so touching and it reminds me of my sister's severe depression about four years ago. This was the most difficult and testing times of our lives. I remember that she had gotten to a point of neglecting her own sanitation and health. We had to explain simple things the same way we do for children. There were stupid neighbors/relatives who mockingly told her she was already mad. By God's grace and by our cordial support she came out of her depression completely. Now she is a mother of two and working for a living. You seem to be doing much better than she did and i am sure you will go through this difficult moment in your life. You have specifically written a perfect article for us. I know it is not easy but you can do it with the support of the people who love you and God. My heart goes out to you and i believe in you. Thanks.

Kathryn White said...

I am suffering from depression, too. Just be kind to yourself - I have to take my own advice. But please don't be too hard on yourself. Just please be patient with yourself. If these things are happening - love yourself and take care of yourself more in order to cope. Big hug.

Ana Maria Saad said...

I am a suicide survivor that today thanks depression for having taught me so much!
I gave a talk at TED about it!
http://talentsearch.ted.com/video/Ana-Maria-Saad-My-story-of-ment;TEDSao-Paulo
Hope you enjoy it and spread, as together we can help to save lives!
great blog you have!

Sam said...

Hey! Pleased to have found your blog via the health-whatever-it-was top 18 depression blogs list. I too have severe unipolar depression (melancholic), currently in the nowhere land between really freaking sick and remission.

I wanted to echo what a previous commenter said, which is that ECT is known for causing memory deficits of mild to severe frequency. I wonder if, perhaps, your therapist is an excellent therapist but they do not have the medical knowledge/familiarity with ECT? In any case, you might like to look into something called "Cognitive Remediation Therapy". It's a targeted form of therapy which helps retrain your brain and recover/find alternate ways of dealing with memory deficits. I haven't had it, but it looks like it might be really useful. It's being used for schizophrenia (negative symptoms), cognitive problems in depression, eating disorders, traumatic brain injury and dementia, to name just a few. If you do a google scholar search you'll find stacks of studies about it if you're up to reading them.

I wish you all the best in your continued recovery and I look forward to reading further posts when you are less than too depressed. ;-)

tracy.rose@healthline.com said...

Hi,

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Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Warm Regards,
Tracy

Rahul Agarwal said...

I can feel what you are going through. It's a though task trying to stay afloat when everything seems lost and there is no hope. And what's more frustrating is people don't understand what we are going through. If I may I would like to make a suggestion, you can try Vipassana meditation if you have a center near where you live or you can go for Mindfulness based stress reduction program by Jon Kabat Zinn, it helped me a lot. God Bless you and if you have any enquiry you can mail me at rahulagarwal2015@gmail.com

tracy.rose@healthline.com said...

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Tracy

Anonymous said...

Electroshock therapy causes brain damage and has no proven medical benefits. It should be illegal in my opinion. Please don't beat yourself up about feeling symptoms, memory loss is very common and some people lose the ability to care for themselves after having their brains destroyed by ECT. It is not just 'in your head' at all. Please do not trust any doctors who recommend this, there are other ways to get help. I sincerely hope you find better treatment.

tracy.rose@healthline.com said...

Hi,

Healthline recently kicked off its second annual "Best Health Blog of 2012" contest & our editors have nominated Vicarious Therapy. You can find your blog at http://www.healthline.com/health/best-health-blogs-contest by searching or sorting.

We encourage you to promote the contest amongst your readers & friends. The blog with the most votes on February 15, 2013 at 11:59 pm will win $1000, 2nd place wins $100 and 3rd place nabs $50.

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Please let me know if you have any questions.

Warm Regards,

Tracy

Overload said...

Hi Aqua

Sorry but I cannot help, or offer advice, or say anything constructive. I can only tell you that I am there too. I cannot say mine is worse than yours. It is the same. The same worries and concerns and perceivedly petty grievances. I really hope you continue with your blog.

Susan Lexuan said...


emotion health has its hour, and those who pay attention know what i'm saying.

So, hang in there, better time shall come around. :)

Anonymous said...

I have family members who struggle with depression and have seen first hand what it can do to an individuals life. If you are interested I recently wrote a blog about the problem of depression, and how exercising might help treat the symptoms. I would love for you to read the blog at http://dev.isucomm.iastate.edu/thegreenroom/tfinn/
and let me know what you think.

Taylor Finn
tefinn@iastate.edu
The Green Room at Iowa State University

The Hannant Family said...

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Hope you will just look at it as it has given me the chance to be the mother and wife I have always wanted to be.