Dante and the Giant Bone.  It was left by his huge drooling cousin.  I love, love, love this little dog, with all his little quirks and oddities.  Last night I actually laughed!  I was keeping the dog for my son and his wife, who were away from home.  They have come to pick him up and after less than 24 hours of having him here, I miss him.  I’m thinking a small dog may be in my future.  Weirdness.

Yesterday I spoke with a nurse on the crisis line.  She was a good clinician.  Believe me, it doesn’t help when you know the difference between a good clinician and a bad clinician.  Or maybe it does.  In any event, she listened to me, did not argue with me, and actually talked me into trying a new drug.  God help me.  She said in such a kind way “Mary, I know you are feeling terrible.”  She also gave me advice about what to do this weekend.

Just that alone has helped me tremendously.  She suggested I only do things I like to do.  She suggested I double up on my mileage, because running is so good for depression.  She suggested I take it easy.  I thought about how I drive myself relentlessly, and decided everything can wait.  I won’t be getting anything done if I keep on this path I am on anyway.

I went to bed last night with the freedom of knowing I would not be joining my running club this morning.  I did not want to have to hop out of bed and drive across town into the cold morning.  So, I leisurely got up and had coffee, then hopped on the treadmill.  I got 5 miles done, which is not twice the planned mileage, but it felt like enough.  Then I went outside and in the just starting snow raked the remaining leaves in my back yard.  The dog came out with me, and it was a pleasant thing.  I don’t think it did much for my back though.

I know I may appear to be incredibly self-absorbed at the moment.  It increases my guilt to think so.  I also know there are people who have “real” suffering going on in their lives and are tempted to tell me to get over it and be grateful for my good health.  Pretty hard to do when your brain isn’t functioning properly, you can’t think clearly, life seems like meaningless drudgery, you feel like you are losing your grip on reality, and becoming increasingly convinced that the world and all its people would be infinitely better off without you. I have to tell myself a thousand times a day “LIES!  They’re all LIES! Don’t listen!”

Our department at work is making a “wine basket” for some kind of benefit.  Why is it always booze?  Anyway, I said I would knit a wine bag.  And this afternoon, I actually found a free pattern on Ravelry, found the correct size needles in my collection, and even found a skein of yarn that will be beautiful.  So, I can start that today with no money involved.

Then tonight, I have a commitment to be at Adoration from 7 to 8.  I am so grateful for that.  I made the commitment two weeks ago, and right now it feels like a gift from God.  I get to go and be in His presence for an hour.  With no one else there.  A Saturday night in a silent church, until my replacement shows up at 8.

I’m just putting one foot in front of the other and trusting that I am in God’s hands, even though it doesn’t feel “good.”

This afternoon, I pulled “Infinite Jest” by David Foster Wallace off the shelf and found the best description of suicidal depression I have ever read:

The person in whom Its invisible agony reach a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise.  Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows.  Their terror of falling from a great height is just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant.  The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames:  when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors.  It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames.  — Infinite Jest, p. 696

David Foster Wallace, who died of  suicide by hanging on September 12, 2008.

Not trying to scare you.  I am in the care of health care providers.  I have a family who understand that I am in this crisis.  My sponsor is by my side (figuratively, because she is on the other side of the state).  I have friends I have confided in.  Even my boss (the psychologist) is aware now that I am in this condition – thanks to my ridiculous tearful episode at work on Thursday.

And mostly, I know that God knew me and loved me as I was knitted in my mother’s womb.  I am also greatly consoled by the lives of the Saints.  They did not have “higher powers” who ensure that their lives were full of “abundance” and happiness.  I also know that the way I “feel” is no indicator of my spiritual condition.   So I will keep on keeping on and have faith that this too shall pass.

Search me, O God, and know my heart!  Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.  — Psalm 139:23-24

Also, thank you so very much for your kind and helpful comments.  I can’t tell you what that has meant to me.  <3, m.


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11 Responses to Update

  1. Annette says:

    You have a plan…good for you. Sometimes that is enough to usher us through the next 24 hours. I am praying for you.

  2. Syd says:

    I think that you sound better. Maybe the little dog, the treadmill, and the leaves made a difference. I remember my sponsor saying to me, “When I got busy, I got better”. Who knows but doing those things that you want to do takes away stress. I read an article about job burnout this morning and thought about you. It said that striving for achievement will create burnout as does showing up for the job being the most important thing. I do think that I burned out in the last few years. I was not the ball of fire that I had been. I was just tired.

  3. atomicmomma says:

    I would LOVE for you to get a dog. They are truly wonderful gifts from God. Ours is sitting next to me as I type this and she is an incredible blessing to our family. Animals are such spiritual beings and God gave them to us for a reason. She has calmed me, comforted me, protected me, love me. I distinctly remember one time before I almost burst into tears over sadness. She had been sleeping and before I realized the tears were about to come she woke up, shook herself off and came around to me and laid her head in my lap before I started sobbing. She stayed with me.

    Please just do what you need to take care of yourself. I am so thankful that you continue to blog through all your pain. It is lonely out here and you help me in so many ways. You WILL get through this. I think of the book of Job and you are on a similar journey. Stay strong and faithful – God will take care of you. In the meantime I will continue to pray for your healing. I feel so blessed to know you Mary

  4. Dave U says:

    I’m reading with great concern — and compassion. I have no answers but I do have an ear if you wish to use it.
    I like the dog idea too.

  5. Hope says:

    You don’t sound self absorbed at all. Rather, you sound pro active. That was what struck me in this post – that despite the wretchedness of the depression – you are doing what you can and know to do. The strength it takes to reach out for help when a person is in that place is incredible. And I think depression is as valid as any other illness so please don’t judge yourself harshly or think it is less worthy of a concern than any other health issue. It can be just as life threatening.

    I am so glad for you about the Adoration. It makes me think of the verse “To Whom else would we go?”

    Biggest of hugs to you. And lots of prayers.

  6. Mary LA says:

    That little dog is the sweetest!

    You are in my thoughts and prayers, Mary Christine. Email me any time and I will get back to you right away — nether of us can afford long-distance calls but I am here for you.

    Whenever I hear someone struggling with severe depression talk about being ‘self-absorbed’ I always think of DFW’s heartbreaking story The Depressed Person
    ‘The depressed person was in terrible and unceasing emotional pain, and the impossibility of sharing or articulating this pain was itself a component of the pain and a contributing factor in its essential horror.’

    It will get better, you’re doing all the right things and I only wish there was more Understanding of clinical depression.

  7. Pam says:

    Oh my sweet sugar girl. I don’t know why wonderful you and my wonderful sober daughter suffer with this. I have seen sober girl in awful awful pain on a beautiful day when she’s done everything right. That makes it worse to me……you are doing all you know to do and still suffering. It’s so unfair. I can’t tell you how many times I have gone to God with the “it’s so unfair” statement. Honey, I think the dog idea might be brilliant! You are worthy sweet girl, worthy of a happy, peaceful spirit and I will pray that God gives that to you.

  8. mike says:

    I read alot blogs and I find them very helpful. I hope you don’t mind if I post one here that I read regularly and want to share about depression. Peace. http://recoveredalcoholic.blogspot.com/search/label/Depression

    • Mike, I’ve read Danny since I started blogging in 2005.

      I think you don’t understand who I am or what I am writing about. I find your suggestions condescending and insulting.

      Do you know that I am a sober member of a fellowship I wouldn’t care to name here? Do you know that thanks to a spiritual experience I had in 1984 I have not had a drink since? Do you know that I have not only had my own spiritual experience, but that I have sponsored many, literally 100s of people, since then, and most of them are still sober.

      Danny writes about the profound despair that comes as a result of alcoholic drinking. I understand that, I had that, and I had a spiritual experience that relieved me of the drink and the agony that goes with it. I would suggest there is something very different going on with a person with major depressive disorder who has been sober for decades.

      I hope you have good motivations, but please know that your comments are profoundly insulting and are not helpful. And I hope you will stop being the world’s expert on something that it sounds like you know nothing of. Please.

  9. Nancy says:

    I think I understand what you meant about other people suffering, but I think that depression is real suffering. And I’m sorry you are suffering. I’ve been praying for you and I’m glad you’re feeling better today.

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