Fun with Depression; or, It’s Not like I’m Depressed

Fun with Depression; or, It’s Not like I’m Depressed

I’ve been treated for clinical depression forever, but I try not to be too depressed about it. After all, (s)he’s my best friend who will stay with me until death or dedicated mediation do us part. Either despite to or owing to my condition, I hate psychiatrists. I believe our feelings are mutual, hence my typical appointment with a mental health specialist is a threat to mental health of everyone present.

I first went to a therapist on my own discordant accord when I was young, hopeful and thought that health care was my oyster. [Insert sardonic smirk.] The therapist tested me: it took two hours and involved, among other forms of torture, drawing with a blunt pencil. At the end of the session, I longed to use the pencil as a cruel and unusual weapon against the therapist who was meanwhile reading the paper.

The therapist hated my test results as much as I already started to hate my therapist. One of the tests was to draw a tree – I did, and hid a half-bitten apple in the branches. I wasn’t sure what the outcome of this test was, besides revealing that I draw like a five-year old, so I asked the specialist what she thinks about the apple. She thought immaturity. Almost there – though, admittedly, I thought more creativity and curiosity ala Steve Jobs.


My first therapist sent me straight away to my first psychiatrist, who was, aside from holding art classes, qualified to prescribe medication. I collected my brave new pills and for a few weeks, the onset of the meds made me glow like I was radioactive or pregnant. I burnt out soon. I was moderately okay with the treatment, as it enabled me live without getting killed in the process, accidentally or otherwise. But it bored me to repeat my boring story to a new bored psychiatrist on each visit and hardly ever seeing the same one twice in a row.

Having had the peculiar pleasure of being treated over the years by every staff member of the clinic, I thought I would start to think big. The new psychiatrist that I picked was big for sure. He was a devil: twice my height, three times my weight, wearing his grey-streaked hair long and dishevelled. I didn’t even need to examine him for horns, he clearly had a pair hidden in his bed hairstyle. The lack of a computer, patient files and other such paraphernalia in his office ultimately confirmed my suspicion that he wasn’t so much into treating people.


My third psychiatrist didn’t scare the serotonin out of me, so we had a good start. Then he asked me to produce a structured CV of my depression to take a step back from my experience. I compiled the document as required, written in the passive, complete with emphases and footnotes. The doctor was displeased. He asked me to rewrite the thing in a personal style. I was puzzled. I submitted my rewrite and the next thing I heard was that my new psychiatrist relocated to a combat zone. Possibly to treat people with real problems.

Number four I didn’t choose but was allocated to me at the same clinic. When we first met, I thought that I was dead and she was an angel. She sure looked like she was about to become one, for she apparently suffered from eating disorder or other disorder that made her weightless. When we shook hands after a session, her hands were colder than mine – which couldn’t be real because I’m the coolest person ever (see what I did here!). She shook hands like we just closed a big deal, not like she just prescribed me my usual.

It was good to see that she was literate, and I didn’t want to push it, since she might have had more issues than me. She let me go out of her icy grip only when she was hospitalised in a long term. Psychiatrist number five nearly gave me a stroke. The fair old lady started to inquire indiscreetly into my matters and gave the impression that she meant business. I was horrified: this is Eastern Europe, for serotonin’s sake, no one here does their job in their job unless horribly misguided or a foreigner.


I eventually ended up with new antidepressants, which depressed me. More precisely, it actually expanded me, alas not mentally, but very physically. The medication caused my regular feet to become tyrannosaur’s feet – huge and tyrannising. I phoned the good old fairy lady to tell her that I told her so and that her experiment on a human subject turned dinosaur subject didn’t work out. She asked me over, unafraid. I was afraid, I contended, that I couldn’t walk and certainly not in shoes, as my shoe rack had turned into Cinderella’s rack.

We negotiated. I walked out (walked figuratively) with the new meds swapped for even newer meds. I’m not sure that this is what I wanted, and I might need a therapist. Wait – the lady in question is my therapist. To double-check that dinosaur feet are a perfectly sound condition with no health risk, I called my general practitioner. He wasn’t disconcerted in the least but graciously allowed me to come over, shall I so be inclined.

I don’t understand that people with medical education don’t understand that when one’s feet are swollen, one can only go places by crawling while shoeless. Since I’ve spoken with two doctors in ten minutes, my dinosaurs and I rest in peace, knowing that if I die, my cat will sue the hospital, succeed and live on premium meat pouches for the remainder of her nine lives. Depression is so fun – except depression.

51 thoughts on “Fun with Depression; or, It’s Not like I’m Depressed

  1. Is it wrong to say that I really enjoyed this post? I’ve never really been through anything like this. It seems harsh that you would have to go through so much drama with the people who are actually supposed to help you! However, I’m thrilled that you have your dry wit and humour about it. I love these personal-thought-style posts of yours… And the photo is so intriguing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love that you enjoyed my post! I realise the topic is a bit heavy, but as always, I was trying to approach it in a fun way. It’s a sort of therapy, I suppose 🙂 Your support means a lot to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I share Desley’s feelings, this is a very honest post and also brave of you to share. You have a great way of writing about sensitive and difficult issues that is involving and entertaining without diminishing the serious substance of your subject. Bravo!
    And, I love the photo, the detailing at the bottom is very unsettling and adds a jagged edge to the post.

    Like

    1. Thank you for reading! I wasn’t very brave to write about my experience, I just set out to describe what happened and have some fun while doing it 🙂 The photo are lion’s feet shot in London, I thought the large feet would go well with a post about swollen limbs…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I join Desley, consumed by doubt, as I feel not right to say that I enjoyed the post and smiled a few times when reading certain lines. I did notice though that you warned it would be funnier, through your header.
    First I commend you for having been more mentally healthy than all this people who were supposed to treat your depression.
    It’s appalling to read that these things happen.
    Having started my professional life as a clinical psychologist working with autism, before I pursued a career and education in business, makes me sick to acknowledge that your narrative, although sardonic, reflects the truth on the negligent care provided by some public institutions.
    Apart from a Dino feet, you seem to have never given away the control of your life to any of these people, and that to me, speaks volumes on the strength of your mental health, despite depression.
    The fact that a therapist behaves like the Goddess of Truth, when interpreting your drawing of the tree, once more shows how unprepared these people are to understand and treat mental conditions.
    Keep strong, my dear. You’re a brilliant writer and blogger and a sweet and wonderful human being. My respect.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lucile, thank you so much for your incredibly encouraging and insightful comment. I value your words (and you) very much.

      Of course I’m pleased that you laughed a little while reading this, that was, as always, the idea 😀 I’m fortunate enough not have severe mental health issues; I’m not sure if graver conditions are treated any better than the relatively trivial ones. I realise though that it’s incredibly hard to help another person with mental ailments. It’s not like fixing a broken leg, which, however bad, is usually a rather straightforward business.

      Still it’s a shame that things that ought to work, like a health system, often don’t work too well. It always makes me feel sad and helpless. On a happier note, it’s people like you, not necessarily specialists, who succeed in supporting others. Thank you for this.

      Like

  4. Thank you for sharing such an honest account – depression is not an easy subject.

    I suffered depression for years, but I realise what I was really suffering was ‘repression’ I was shutting off from feelings because it was too painful to express them. Then there is the whole ‘medication’ thing that made me feel even more numb.

    When I was ready I booked myself a week off, told everyone I was going away and allowed myself to feel, not just to feel but to express what I was feeling, and yes, to cry.
    I had avoided doing that because the burden of grief that I was carrying was so huge I imagined I would drown in it and never escape. I cried a lot, it felt like 24 hours for a week, but I know I slept in between.

    I learned it was like walking into a forest at night. At first you can’t see anything, not even the hands in front of your eyes, until eventually your eyes adjust. You begin to recognise shapes and landscapes, memories and people, until eventually you notice that it isn’t really dark there at all. Your eyes adjust to the light levels, after you have cried away your pain, there is a state of blissful lightness. You keep on walking through the woods and reach the other side, without the sackful of memories you have spent your life avoiding.

    You no longer need to expend all your energy holding it all down or popping pills you are fee.

    That doesn’t mean that life doesn’t have its ups and downs two years later, but like when I stub my toe, and I jump about for a while expressing the pain, feeling it, not judging wether or not I should be feeling the pain, or wether or not everyone else can stub their toe and carry on. Its about giving myself permission to react just the way I want to – swear, hop around on one foot, sit down and hold it gently and rub it, even cry. I am not ‘repressing’ a genuine reaction to what life throws at me anymore.

    I wish you well.

    Like

    1. Thank you very much for sharing your experience, however painful it must have been for you to share. It’s very helpful and reassuring to read about fellow suffer’s experience, and I appreciate very much that you offered your perspective.

      I see what you mean by repression, I happen to do the same most of the time. I haven’t completely figured out yet what works for me, but I’m trying and learning in the process. I’m glad to hear that you’re on the right way, the one that works for you, and I wish you well!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. A beautiful post. I don’t believe in psychiatrists, they’re not real doctors. Sigmund Freud was a fucking coke head and he is like their prophet.
    Besides, there’s plenty of “normal people” out there, walking around, believing in God/Allah and all kinds of fairy tales and these people are not considered as mentally insane… It just proves the psychiatry is bullshit.

    Like

    1. Thank you for saying somewhat more directly what I was hinting at in my post 😉 I admit to loving Freud though, the guy is so much fun! I enjoy taking his theories and imposing them on literary works – the results are often hysterically hilarious. Fair point about religion, btw. I need not add anything as I’m a member of the least religious nation in Europe, if not world-wide.

      Like

  6. I too enjoyed this post; your honesty, humour, intelligence, realism…. I’m
    certain all these things will keep you floating when the chips are down. Hopefully writing and chatting with everyone here is also therapeutic of a sort. Certainly some great advice/shared experience anyway ^^ Let’s just hope your cat isn’t reading – you might give him ideas! 🙀

    Like

    1. Thank you very much for your kind and encouraging words, your support means more to me than the “support” of a therapist 🙂 Yes, I’m finding that blogging is a therapy of sorts, and connecting with kind fellow bloggers. Well, if I’m found dead, at least we know that it was my cat who murdered me to get at her inheritance early!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. “Art is the only serious thing in the world. And the artist is the only person who is never serious,” as dear old Oscar Wilde would say.

    What a masterful write! Thank you for sharing this.

    As I wandered through this brilliantly-crafted, potent and powerful piece, I was listening to, I believe, a very apt song- “Everything Must Change” by Nina Simone.

    “A wounded heart will heal
    Oh, but never much too soon”
    – Nina Simone soulfully sings…

    How relieved am I to see you here, having survived this circle-jerk side-show pandemonium that seems to have comprised your psychiatric experience…

    “It takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory, and still to love it,” as Oscar would pipe up just now.

    How greatly I admire your ability to shine through with such a scintillating wit, your infectious edification erupting through such pain- perhaps rather like a seedling that grows through the concrete and blooms.

    “Beat-up little seagull
    On a marble stair
    Tryin’ to find the ocean
    Lookin’ everywhere”
    – Nina Simone singing “Baltimore” (which is playing now as I blather through this rambling comment)

    After some early childhood trauma, I had a brief stint with a therapist when I was a tiny spurt a few ages ago. I droned on about Claude Monet, van Gogh, cats, and the African veld. She mumbled that she went to Monet’s garden. Then, as proof, she produced a photograph of a calico cat strolling through a glorious array of blooming flowers. It was probably in her dream as she then nestled down for a nice nap in her squeaky stuffed leather chair for the remainder of the session. I studied the photograph and decided that once in her youth she must have really loved life.

    I went a few more times. She slept through most of the sessions, stray strands, like dingy grey fingers, sticking to the shiny almond-brown leather of the chair behind her head. I played with toy animals by the window and ignored her snoring corpse. I saw a black-and-white world beyond that grimy glass when the creatures ceased to stir and I gazed out into the bleak world beyond. A chain-link fence, rusted and slouched, locked in the old boxy building from which I gazed. Beyond was a series of cramped side-streets peppered with crumpled old Lincolns and Buicks, leaning on flat tires, dented bumpers and sides flecked with rust. Dirty-blonde brick buildings and tiny porous houses with great pleading black windows seemed to be slowly returning to the hard, cold soil beneath that endless sky of soft and suffocating winter cashmere. I turned away and decided to draw a detailed portrait of the somnolent therapist’s amoeba-like form, wedged deep in slumber, and gave it to her as a present when she woke up. The sessions ended shortly after that…

    So ended my career as psyche patient.

    As our old chum Salvador would say, stroking the tips of his mustache, “There is only one difference between a madman and myself. The madman thinks he is sane. I know I am mad.”

    I, like you, have grown to accept this old “Friend” as my life-long companion.

    The system you describe in this boldly real piece is very similar to the one here in the states. Many people go once a month, meeting with an entirely new, equally burned-out psychiatrist each time. A rapid CV of mental health history is quickly regurgitated and the distracted psychiatrist scribbles, utters the usual noises, and then refills current subscription, I mean prescription- all to be repeated again, next month, with someone else.

    One friend of mine continually reminds me, “Laughter is the best medicine, Babs, my dear old shipmate!!”

    He is British and his father was a Man of the Brine, you see. 😉

    So, coming to your blog is definitely medicine for me as we share a chortle or two together. Well, I chortle rather and imagine you are chortling with me…we usually fall out of our chairs and machine-gun laugh at each other like this: http://www.superlaugh.com/catnip

    Moving on from my imaginings…

    Your flare for wit and humour as you take us through something rather like a bloody battle-field, with shells exploding all around us, is a powerful gift. Your luminous words make the detritus around us bearable…more than that- you transform the way we see. Your words provide a kind kindling for healing. Perhaps this provides some of the best medicine of all- certainly for your readers, and I hope, for you too.

    “Everything is supposed to be quiet after a massacre, and it always is, except for the birds.”
    – Kurt Vonnegut, “Slaughterhouse Five”

    And now I leave you with one more song, to convey how your writing makes me feel-

    “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone:

    All the best.

    Smiling Toad

    Like

    1. P.S.

      I have a suspicion the last comment went on for far too long…my apologies. I really got carried away…I must have written 17,000 pages and quoted at least 70,000 people…

      BLAST…

      Like

    2. Oh my, literature, painting, laughing cats and feel good music… Love it! Thank you for your novel, I mean, comment 😀 I appreciate that you took a week off to write these lovely insights to me 😉 Really. I find your experience fascinating. Now I’ll consider myself happy that none of my therapists slept during sessions… And I couldn’t agree more with you that it’s more blogging and interacting with people that helps me rather than any conventional therapy. Here’s to feelin good!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh my, was that my meaning? I fear I had gotten lost in my own ramblings and certainly forgot what the whole point of thing was…Glad you were able to extract some order from the chaotic wreckage that was my comment!

        P.S. Delighted that you enjoyed the music and the…very…enthusiastic…cats 😉 Best wishes- toad

        Another P.S.

        I’ll try to trim down future comments…good golly…

        CHEERS!

        Like

        1. Oh I wouldn’t know what your meaning was, I just know what meaning I extracted from your comment, which might be two different things 🙂 That’s us, the literature people, we don’t claim to read intended meanings, we derive from the text our own…

          Liked by 1 person

  8. This is a really great post, thank you so much for sharing. The best therapy I ever got was not from a “therapist” per se but an juvenile behavioral specialist. I was seeing her for my ADD but she let me play and gave me lots of creative outlets during our sessions. This one really terrible therapist I had, my first one, had me sit in her office while my mother was outside, I was facing away from the door and she pretended to close it but my mom heard everything and it was very traumatizing. I’ve been toying with the idea of pills on and off, going back to therapy but I’m scared to. There are so many horror stories out there. I’m sorry you had to go through that. I hope things get better.

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing your experience, even though it’s a painful one and it must have brought some bad memories to write about it… I’m really appalled by the behaviour of your first therapist. Come on, that’s totally unprofessional and outright betrayal of trust! I found that pills work for me, it’s not a powerful medication but it helps me to settle a little and avoid extremes. Therapy as such is more traumatising than helpful for me, so I literally just see my therapist to have my usual pills prescribed and that’s the end of therapy. Also, that’s the way it usually works here. I’m not complaining really, I’m glad that I’m coping, and I wish you the same (or even better!) 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you! I’m glad you’ve found something that works for you 🙂 I really appreciated your post because even though it did bring up bad memories, writing about them and reading other people’s experiences really helps me cope so it’s all okay 🙂

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        1. I couldn’t agree more. There’s much therapeutic effect to writing about one’s experience and the support that one gets by fellow bloggers is incredible! Here’s to good health and good friends!

          Liked by 1 person

  9. The truth is, therapists and psychiatrists have no clue how to treat mental illness. Science hasn’t figured it out yet. I mean, have you ever met anyone who has actually recovered from one? I haven’t, while I have noticed that most people I know who choose a psychology related degree were/are people with issues themselves. Which is a paradox.
    Your cat, your writing and photography will probably prove more effective as a cure or at least as a form of support for your malaise, than treatment by a “specialist”.

    Like

    1. Thank you for commenting – you have a common sense, and that’s what I’m trying to use too. And you have a point. Fellow bloggers are doing much more good than a therapist, and my cat is, perhaps surprisingly, incredible in having a calming and soothing effect on my nerves and making me a nice company. Felinotherapy is the one that works for me 🙂 Here’s to common sense and mental health!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Fascinating read, and funny in spite of the subject matter. Do _YOU_ think the original diagnose «clinical depression» is correct?

    I don’t think I’ve ever been depressed in the right meaning of the word. I’ve had adequate reactions to all the dreadful things happening around me, but depressed … nah!

    \Rebekah\

    Like

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, it’s great to read what other bloggers think (and feel!) and compare. I suppose I am actually clinically depressed and my (mild) medication is helping me. What doesn’t help me at all is talking to therapists. Well, I think that you’re right, it’s natural to have a dreadful response to dreadful things, so nothing pathological here! Here’s to less dreadful and more delightful things happening 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I hear you … about the therapists. A real good friend, with a common sense could do the job just as well. I’ve tried antidepressants at times — the only thing that happened was that they caused me to yawn uncontrollably LOL

        They might be on to something, reg. the serotonin … some chemical imbalance …

        Like

        1. That’s a “funny” story that antidepressants made you yawn, but it doesn’t surprise me that much, perhaps they had tranquilising effect. Too much of it. I’m constantly exhausted, antidepressants or not, so it makes little difference to me and the medication I have now fortunately works as it should, more or less. Mental health is a fragile and complex thing, no wonder that it’s so hard to deal with it and treat any issues related to it. Here’s to a sound mind and good friends!

          Liked by 1 person

  11. What a load of c….p you have been through. It reminds me slightly of all the c…..p I have gone through with my son having Tourettes etc. You get passed from pillar to post, the first retort is always “give them meds” rather than even attempting a holistic approach. Sometimes meds are necessary, but it isn’t a singular thing, from the most basic thing it needs moderating and maintenance.

    So I am sure you don’t want me to ‘feel for you’ for going through this crap, because that sounds like pity, more that I empathize with the pure apathy of the medical system and ineptitude.

    BTW having swollen feet and trying to walk, yup it’s like having razor blades underneath your feet, and the fact doctors don’t get that, well it makes you want to shove a few in their shoes.

    As always however your wit and intellect shines through, I would have also loved to see that drawing of half eaten apples, at least they were eaten I would say that a positive thing! Rather than left there to rot! haha…

    An honest post and helpful one to others who also suffer with depression, thank you for sharing lovely lady xx

    Like

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment! You’re reading my mind. I’m not writing about it to solicit sympathy really, rather, I’m trying to look at a serious thing from a humorous angle. I’m sure other people have similar and even worse problems, so it might be even comforting for them to see that they’re not alone. And it has a huge therapeutic effect to share things 🙂 Thank you again for being so immensely supportive!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. …Wow… I don’t know what to say! I can share the above feelings and say “thank you” for your utter honesty. I can feel with you. And I know giving advices will not be much of a help, rather telling you that you can be proud of yourself (I know you through your writing and let me tell you – that is AWESOME!) and to keep TRUE to yourself and your head up. It’s not something to feel ashamed of. It’s just our sick society that doesn’t like to cope with depressed people, or talk about it. But I have the feeling it’s coming, slowly, but it’s coming (have you seen that beautiful video on youtube about the black dog? <3). Keep strong dear Mara ❤ !!!

    Like

    1. Oh dear, I’m genuinely honoured that you are looking at my old posts and reading back through the archives… I’m quite wordless too! Thank you very much for your kind words. I don’t really define myself as a depressed person, we all have our burdens, and mine is no harder than others. I mean, I’m glad I don’t have, say, cancer… Would be much worse than “just” depression. A youtube video with a black dog? I don’t recall seeing anything like it, do you have a link maybe?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh I just had lost track a few months ago and I started to browse and then got engrossed in even older posts 🙂 I’ve always liked your writing, it’s something you can be so proud of. Oh, you’ll have to check it out – it’s such a good / cute video and explains so much… : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiCrniLQGYc

        Yes, indeed, I was talking to someone very wise a few days back and she just suggested to be happy about my life and let go – after all, I’m healthy, right? She’s so right…^^

        Like

        1. Wow, that’s a powerful video! I didn’t see it before, and based on my experience at least, it’s very accurate. What the video doesn’t mention, though, is that even when you seek out help – as I did, it doesn’t necessarily end up in anyone actually helping you (as I described in my post). But whatever, we all have the cope, so let’s not be depressed about it 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yes, I’d say it’s very accurate, too! And yes, it doesn’t mention that it’s a way different road for everyone and that it’s hard to find the right person to help you because not everyone can. But I think if they mentioned it the depressed ones watching would lose all hope and end up doing something stupid 😉

            Liked by 1 person

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