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Suicide is Painless

This is not an easy blog post to write. I have started over multiple times as the subject is not one that people want to hear about. It’s one that many feels belong in the shadows, that the problem is all in someone’s head. The fact is, it is in their head. Their emotions are all over the place from any form of issues which includes, and not limited to, the short list below:

  • Grief
  • Fear
  • Anger
  • Shame

The four simple emotions I listed above can lead to some of the most dangerous results in a person with DEPRESSION.  You will find that as I continue this I will be putting DEPRESSION in all capital letters, for the simple reason I want to draw attention to the word. I want people to realize how deadly it is not just to the person, but those around them.

You see contrary to a song that was popularized by a Movie and a TV Show, Suicide is NOT Painless. It impacts so many people in a person’s personal circle, but also those outside that circle. You see at one time many professionals thought the sphere of impact from suicide was on average six people. I have begun seeing new studies that say that the impact is much larger and I really do believe that is the case.

There are tons of arguments on what may be going on when someone commits suicide. They can be called selfish, heartless, loners, and even (by some) losers. The fact is that they let those emotions get to them and decided that was their way to end the pain. I will never attempt to get into the mind of someone who committed suicide as they all had their own personal reasoning’s.  All I can do is keep living and find a way to deal with those emotions.

Now I understand not all who commit suicide are doing it due simply from some behavioral issues, but some have diseases, mental or physical that causes them to feel that is the way out. Again, I will not attempt to get into their heads.

The fact is that many who do commit suicide are often deeply DEPRESSED and were unable, or unwilling to search out help.

I put a lot of the rise of DEPRESSION and suicide on our modern culture. We correspond over electronic devices without actually talking. A small pixel filled image, emoji, cannot take the place for a real smile, a real frown, or more importantly real tears. There are those who have gotten so used to this type of communication they cannot carry out a simple conversation if they had to.

We then add in the fact that many are told to hide their emotions. Keep them hidden do not share with each other.  If there is a problem, it’s probably all in their head. We adults can be just as horrible because who wishes to admit a child, a loved one, someone they care about has a problem. Very few as it can seem like it’s a reflection back on them for being such a horrible person. I got to say that’s bull crap.

You see, I’m going to get into my own past personal dark space here. I first and thankful for the help my parents was willing to get me. If not for them, and even my future, fiancé/wife, I may not be here to write this post. I can even say thank you to the great psychiatrist’s, and counselors I saw during this struggle.

You see I was in college, away from home for the first real time for a prolonged period. As I was away I was surely missing my family, and although a few hours away by car, they were away. This was also a period before computers where everywhere and texting was actually costly. I lost not one, not two but three dear family members within a year, and a couple just months apart. I started to struggle with my grades, fell into a deep DEPRESSION and at one point had a knife in my hand by the bathroom sink of an apartment I was living in. I looked at myself in the mirror, did not recognize the face looking back at me and realized, WHAT THE FUCK AM I DOING!

So I ended up flunking out of college for a term. I was able to get some help during that period off and it was due highly to my parents pushing me to get that help. I got back into college and even attended therapy sessions while in school. I was put on medications, I took them, and I beat it. I beat the DEPRESSION and I’ve done all I can to keep that specter in the back of my mind.  I know it tries to emerge at times and really tried when Multiple Sclerosis came calling. I, however, have really changed the way I view my life and will NOT let DEPRESSION take me down that rabbit hole again.

What I learned out of that experience is that the male myth of not showing emotions is bull. Men can certainly show emotion and talk about their emotions. If someone sees you as weak, then they are truly the weak ones for not being able to handle the truth and who you are. We have to find ways to get a circle of people who care for us, and do not let petty disagreements come in the way of true friendships.

I now go back to that song, Suicide is Painless. I surely disagree with that title as it may be to the person committing the act, but those left behind it is a pain that may never go away. The pain of being a survivor, wonder what happened, blaming first the individual, and then maybe turn it back on themselves helps no one. What can really help is to stop and be there for those fighting DEPRESSION so it does not lead to suicide. This may mean you have to admit your own failure, but isn’t that worth saving someone’s life?

I’m going to end with that open question and hopefully my own story, and this article is found to be helpful.  I have a list of Helpful links below and I do want to add a caveat on one of those links. The link on Suicide Risk Factors and Civil Liabilities is from a law firm in California that reached out to me about collaborating on a link share. I am being honest as it took time to think on if I wanted to do it, but considering the topic I felt it was worth it. If they can help get my blog post out, and I can help them then why not.

Also, I own no rights to the song, “Suicide is Painless” is written by Johnny Mandel (music) and Mike Altman (lyrics).

Useful Links

 

Two Final notes

  1. The image above is owned by me. Anyone wishing to use the image should reach out to me as it is a photo I took during a trip to Upper Michigan.
  2. I am not a counselor or phsycologist. I do not claim to be one, and suggest people use the above links for help. If you wish to know more about my struggle you can reach me by email on my About me Page.
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Posted by on July 26, 2018 in Personal

 

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My Answers to 5 Frequent Questions on Multiple Sclerosis

I’m one of those people who is not afraid to take time to talk to someone about the beast that is now part of my life. The beast is nothing that is seen upon my body. You do not see a creature hiding behind me, on my shoulders or hugging my leg. Granted at times it does feel like it is hugging both legs and even my arms. The beast is called Multiple Sclerosis.

I have blogged in the past about it and it is something I do plan on continuing to post new blog posts on in the future. I made it easy for people to find my older posts with a category titled Multiple Sclerosis.

This post is going to go into what I consider the five most frequent questions I get when I tell people I have MS. I will warn readers that I use humor, sarcasm and at same time I can be serious. You will find that within this posting and hopefully it opens your eyes to what some, not all may go thru with MS. I know from my point of view this is what I go thru. You are as always welcome to share this post if you so wish.

  1. What is Multiple Sclerosis?

I always am tempted to go with the medical explanation of how immune system will attack the Myelin around nerve cells, and blah blah blah. I can just picture the glass eyed look of how I could lose someone going into that so I often explain it in this way.

“MS is like your computer, brain, giving orders to your body telling it how to do everything from breathing to walking. It controls so much of our body and many of those orders go thru the nerves. Sadly MS is like when somehow, and unknown, those commands don’t fully work. It causes all types of computer issues when you get a virus, and MS can cause all types of problems with the body. Sadly it’s not a virus it’s something science hasn’t figured out yet.”

  1. Did they give you a time frame on life?

This one gets me to laugh a bit. I say that as really there is no expectation on when you’ll die due to MS, if it is even the cause of your death. I mean if you think on it the moment we are born we start by taking a big breath into this world. Every single breath after that first one could be our last.

So, we have to stop worrying about when it may end but instead worry how we spend that time. Do we worry about things we cannot control? Do we let a disease dictate our life expectancy? I say NO, as for me it’s a ride and I hope to enjoy it, stay within the law, and hopefully leave a mark of positivity. If I’m remembered for anything I just want it to be that I cared, I listened and I tried to help if I could.

  1. Do I get depressed, or was I depressed?

You know, I think those I first told about the diagnosis where more depressed, and unsure what to do then I was. To me it was a part of life, and I was not going to let it change who I was on the inside. This comes from a battle of depression in my early college years. I learned so much about myself and add in psychology course I took I learned to let things go. Sure I can get upset at times, who doesn’t. The main difference is I at least have learned what to do to overcome.

The biggest thing about depression, in my opinion, is not to run from someone looking to talk. Do not judge them, the best thing we can do is just listen. Let them express their emotions, the suffering that has put them in that bad place. Let them give you hints on how you may be able to help instead of just saying they need to do this or that. The biggest step for someone with Depression is the fact they talked about it.

  1. What are some of the symptoms of MS?

This is one that is hard to answer. You see we have heard that life is like a box of chocolates as we never know what we’ll get. MS, to me, is a chocolate store. I say that as there are various versions of the disease and each has its own symptoms that can impact a person totally different then the next person.

Me I had severe nerve pain and muscle pain in my arms and legs. My arms would suddenly start contracting in on themselves and was very painful. I got to a doctor and after many tests the diagnosis came back. I still have some of the common issues that come with MS.

  • I get pain at times in both my arms and legs.
    • Some refer to this as the MS Hug as you get a sense someone is hugging you deeply and won’t let go.
    • I also get a tingle feeling in the arms and legs.
  • Fatigue is the worst one to me. You get tired and really you can’t fight it.
    • I think of it as if you stayed up for over 24 hours and body is demanding sleep. No matter how much caffeine you may take to stay awake the fatigue is going to claim you.
  • Vision Issues
    • I have had a small loss of vision within in my left eye. I can see out of it but imagine looking thru a piece of paper with tons of little holes punched in it. There will be spots you can’t see and that’s my left eye.
  • Concentration Issues
    • This doesn’t happen all the time, or too often. I believe this is why I am one who enjoys the challenge of multitasking. It helps me bounce from project to project and back again. It can be a pain though and when it’s bad, well that’s what a “To Do” list is for.
  • Others
    • There are a few other things like I’ll get some numbness in my right leg/foot at times. It’s nothing to major but it does happen from time to time.
    • Emotions can be impacted as I have found I tear up while watching a movie for no reason. It maybe something I’ve seen for years but boom it happens.
    • Bowels, well I won’t go too much into this one as don’t want people running away going…..”EWWWW”. I’ll just say that when I have to go to the bathroom, sometimes it’s important I get there. Thankfully I have not had to buy a lot of new underwear or pants. HA HA
  1. Anything I can do to help?

I do like this question but I got to say it’s the hardest to answer.

  • I mean those who ask I’d love to tell them sure, take this thing from me. However, I know they cannot and to be honest would not wish it on them.
  • I’d like to go sure, got some money I can have? I mean before I got good insurance bills hit hard. Those I have joked with about that will say set up a Go Fund Me page or something. I just can’t do that, I think it’s my pride and well I keep finding a way to make sure bills, and mortgage are covered. Granted got to say at times…….well…..yeah. (Insert a smile here ha ha)
  • What can they really do most is do not feel sorry for me. I try to lead by example. I do not want someone feeling sorry as its life. As I mentioned before I am still taking a new breath and my time has not come. We live in a world of challenges and do not let the petty and stupid guide your life. Agree to disagree and continue being a friend. Agree to know what topics may be off topic and leave them out of conversation. Most of all understand I never been one to really put myself out there. In truth this blog is my way to do that, and I know I’ve lost many of friends in my life due to this part of myself.

I’ll add that MS is like many other diseases in the world. It does not matter who you are, where you are from it will impact people of all kinds. Some are more than willing to talk about MS, and others treat it like depression and hide the diagnosis. I personally do not care how one deals with the diagnosis as long as they DO NOT GIVE UP.  I’ll end this very long post with the one quote I often say to people.

“I may have Multiple Sclerosis but is DOES NOT HAVE ME!”

Helpful Links:

**Please note all copyrights/Trademarks are owned by their appropriate person, company. I make no claims.

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2018 in Multiple Sclerosis

 

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Please Not Now! Then When? (Opinion)

I will say that this is an opinion piece and really if any of my posts get really shared, I’d hope this would be the one. I say that as I do not take anything away from the many Reviews, short stories, or personal MS posts I have written. I say that about this post as I hope it creates some dialogue with in a family.

I’m going to start but stating that we as a society must stop and look around. Things such as information pass between people at lightning fast speeds. Individuals are always in a hurry to get from place to place faster than they need. Parents do all they can for their children even if they themselves have busy work days. It’s like people feel they got to do so much in a single day and at the same speed that information passes between people electronically.

To me this is causing a major issue with society. We are to easily forgetting what it’s like to really just sit down and talk to each other. This actually seems to making the world a somewhat colder place regardless if it’s intentional or not. If we stop and think on it, it may explain the rise of some mental disease and depression. Now why do I come to that conclusion you ask?

I first stop and think on how boys, and even men, have been for so long they need to hide their emotions. They must keep their sorrows to themselves and really NEVER cry. They, heck we, are made to feel that it is a weakness if we do share those thoughts that trouble us. We then look for other ways to release that emotion.  It can be through creative means, writing, art, music or other items. It could be through playing sports, or games to release some of the pain that may be felt. Some are fortunate and realize they need help and go to a doctor and often are prescribed medication as a way to make them feel better. There is of course the dark-side factors such as using illegal drugs to number the senses, acting out and hurting others.

Now, the title of this comes into this post at this time. I can recall, and have observed, people trying to talk to a parent, friend or family member about their emotions. It’s sad, but often a response received is, “Not Now”. You got to wonder how many times it will take to hear those two simple words that a young man just keeps it all in. Is the parent, loved one, family member just afraid of hearing those emotions put into words? Are they afraid that what may be said points some of the potential blame for what they are holding in back at that person? I mean these feelings can be compounded into adult hood, and even begin to drive a wedge into families. At the same time a family may find they really do not know each other after all, because they just couldn’t find the time in a busy day to stop, and listen.

Instead we find that many are walking around like drones. Their face staring at a small cell phone screen, reading a message from maybe the person next to them.  At home how many family members use a phone to text someone just in the other room?  How often is an emoji utilized over an actual face to face conversation to show emotions? I cannot say if this happens but seeing the state and how often a family is in a restaurant with members staring at a phone over having a conversation is scary.

So my question becomes, then when will people realize it’s time to stop and listen? The age doesn’t matter when the listening begins, as the key it will break a cycle. It will allow those emotions to come out instead of being held back. I’m sure there could be pain, and resentment that comes through but the key is, it’s coming out. The pain that may have been bottle up, deflected by drugs (illegal or not) can be hurtful for potentially all involved, but it needs to be said. I mean who remembers when psychiatrists actually listened to a patient over just prescribing the newest “wonder drug”. The rock group Theory of a Deadman even has a song about the issue which is titled RX(Medicate). The song can be seen by some as a way to say everyone is doing drugs but the lead singer (Tyler Connolly) gave a reason for the song. His reasoning is that it has to do with how a therapist told him he was depressed and wanted to put him on anti-depressants.  The therapist couldn’t take time to talk to him about the issues he was dealing with, but instead was quick to go to the easy answer, drugs.

So, this is why I ask “then when” will people stop and listen to those around them. All we got to do is take a look around the United States and see the massive opioid problem. After all many of the opioids being abused are painkillers and I wonder how many are being used less for physical but mental pains.

I say we have the fix to these problems and every human being has that fix within them. There are those who may have an impairment but they are still able to communicate in ways that show they care. Those tools that people can use are on our heads and can be used for more than holding a hat on our head. They can be used for more than putting music into our brains to enjoy the sound of. They are our ears and they are connected to our brains. The brain allows us to take in what is being said and process it like a computer, and can lead to a great result. The result is simple, it could be a hug, a sense of understand, and even just a smile that shows you care.

I realize I’m in no way a trained psychiatrist but I am an analyst by trade. My job entails looking at trends, observing data and making the appropriate guidance to make a situation better. When it comes to much of the mental issues, even the drug abuse in the United States, I truly believe there is that simple fix. Stop saying Not Now, but instead take time and just listen to a person and put the phone down for a period of time. I will say that I do have some firsthand experience on how important it is to listen as I dealt with Depression in my early years of college. I took time and got help, and talked with a therapist. Yes I was given drugs, but with the discussions I had with a therapist I was able to kick the drugs, and found other ways to deal with any depression that may come. I learned by being able to talk to someone things could, and would get better. It’s why I say stop and take time to LISTEN.

 

 

*Side note, I’m not affiliated with Theory of a Deadman other than a fan of their music and found the song to be perfect to mention in this post.

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2018 in Personal

 

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In Darkness there is Light: Depression, MS, Suicide

DarknessI am ending the year of 2014 with what must be my most personal of posts I have ever written on the blog. This one will get into some deep corners of my mind as I feel in sharing some of that darkness I may be able to bring some light to those who finish this long post. I say that as I will endeavor to show a positive that comes from dealing with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and depression. I will warn that this is a lot of free flowing thoughts and grammar may be bad. The intent is in the message not the grammar and I just had to get this written and shared before I lost my nerve.

The thing about MS is that it impacts every person diagnosed with the disease differently.  There is a stigma that comes from a diagnosis. People will often see a diagnosis as a death sentence. Suffers may look normal but still need a handicap permit to shop due to the high fatigue. People will question and judge a person they see using one as they go, “What’s wrong with them”.  It’s not fair but who says life is fair as if it was to be perfect there never would have been an apple tree in the Garden of Eden.

There are others who get the disease far worse than I. They may lose all mobility and end up on disability. They must give up some of the joys they had in life and face new challenges. Things like how to afford medication care and why are loved ones leaving me. I am fortunate as my MS I get fatigue, muscle spasms and yes the mood issues that can come with the disease.

This brings me to the first part of this post. I am writing this early in the morning when my mind will not shut off. I took my normal medication earlier in the evening and this is a side effect that has happened to me on rare occasions. The shot may have helped the muscle spasms I had been dealing with much of the past day but at same time it’s like I received a shot of adrenaline. I just cannot find any position to get comfortable in to sleep. My mind will not shut off and there are some lingering spasms that make it just as difficult to rest.

This is where the deep recesses of my mind are awoken. The trauma from a solitary existence in high school, my choice, led to darkness in college. This is where my first battle with depression came in. I became overwhelmed, and had to small of a support network to go to for help. I’m a larger person and never felt comfortable making friends as I heard some of the whispers in high school. I did get picked on but used my own humor to deflate some of those comments. I also was never one to be in the “popular” kids group as I saw more to life than partying, drinking and just screwing around. I was a social butterfly and that was my choice in life. It may be why I do not have many peer connections from that period in life left.

So thus came college, and what had worked for me in the past was not working so well. I fell into a DEEP depression and at one point even contemplated suicide. This will be a shock to any family members who read this as it’s not something I share. I am not going further into the why but I did get help and thus I am here today writing this post. I will add this is why I am a private person and often keep to myself and own devices. I don’t want people feeling sorry for me, but at the same time is it so hard for someone to ask how I am doing. This is not the time or place for that but it does bring feelings of guilt to the mind. What if I had made better attempts to communicate with people? I guess at this point I will take what I have in life and embrace what there is. Otherwise depression will try to come and claim me again.

The problem with MS is that for many of us depression is one of the side effects of the disease. It is in these dark periods of the night that thoughts come screaming to the front of the line. I have hundreds of questions racing in my mind. There are things I ask such as:

  • Why me? I tried to be a good person. I pray to God and my prayers are not answered in the way I prayed. I ask for a family member’s pain to stop, and they die. How is that helping? Why?
  • How is it there are people that are cruel to others doing so much better in life then me? Don’t I deserve some help? What have I done to be shunned? Is it fair?
  • Why can’t I get a Go Fund me page and get some help? I mean others get them why not me? Oh yeah people probably thing I’m not worth helping as I’m a fat loser.
  • Why must I go on living when all I want is peace and for the agony of life to stop?

 

The last of those questions is always the point I see a pinprick of light in that darkness. I see that light and I go racing towards it. I stop the angst and thoughts of shutting off from the world and scratch, crawl and fight my way toward that single point of light. The darkness will not take me. No I have not won the lottery. No I am not getting support from any government agency, or money falling from the sky. The problems of debt, self-doubt, self-loathing and pity have not gone from the mind. They instead are going back into that spot in my mind they need to be locked up within.

The muscle spasms of the night are still here. The unending feeling of energy keeping me from sleeping is still here. The one thing that is leaving is that darkness, that depression that fights to take control again. I am nowhere near a knife or anything that would allow me to do something stupid. I am too smart for that as I learned to overcome in college. I will not let those hard learned lessons from over twenty years ago be forgotten. I can scream in my mind about how God why have you shunned me. Why have you turned you back on one of your creations, but then I find peace. I realize there are so many of us on Earth that not all can be watched over at every moment in life.

If my faith is wrong and there is no higher power than it is up to us as humans to find our own way. It could be why each time I ask myself those questions, about God, that I realize that maybe exactly the plan for me. To find my own way in life like so many others have to do each day. It may not be what I want but it is the life I have and if I just stay positive good things will happen.

This is what happens as I reach that pinprick of light and start making it bigger. I take a sledgehammer and anything else I can find to make that light bigger. It’s like the morning sun crawling into the sky banishing the darkness to the corners of the word and brings warmth to all it touches. It’s how I see that light as positive energy that stops me from dwelling on the darkness. Instead I start to think what does this day have coming for me. How will I react to what comes my way and realize that each day I breathe is a new chance to start fresh and new again. It may not be the plan I have but I am here and it’s a new day.

If you made it this far you will see that although I am like so many others in life and those with MS, I have demons to battle. I am writing this to tell you…I will win! I will not let the depression and mood swings take me down as I am stronger than those. I have been on this Earth for over forty years now and want to go on being here longer. So bring on all that self-hatred and ridicule that may appear at night so that each morning it can be cleansed with the morning light. I may have tough choices ahead, my MS may get worse but I will not give into the darkness. I will find a way to scratch, crawl and fight my way to that pinprick of light. I will stay positive no matter what as everything has a reason we just have to find what that reason may be. As I say, “every cloud has a silver lining just sometimes you must rub through the tarnish to find it”.

 

I’m adding some late information as this was going to be posted during a lunch break today. This did not happen as unfortunately, after what I see as a big cluster F*$K this morning as work through a massive curve ball at me.  It added to the fun from the lack of sleep and muscle spasms but guess what happened. As I was ready to scream at the world and let someone have it later in the morning I looked outside. What did I see but a beautiful sky with the sun shining through the clouds. There it was again the light I will always search for to stay positive and out of the dark.

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2014 in Multiple Sclerosis, Personal

 

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