Thursday, November 03, 2022

Depression: The Highway to Success Has an Awful Lot of Detours

I’ll write a bit vaguely today because I want to touch upon some things that are family matters and how they impact me.

Road work sign. Fun times ahead.

Recently, I have noticed longtime readers of my blog have leapfrogged over me while my life has become stagnant. I caught myself beginning to feel bitter about it, so instead of letting that bitterness settle into depression, I will share some things that I have learned instead.

My life took a detour a few years back, if eleven can be called of few. It was as if I was forced to take an exit and found myself on the service road bumping along besides the highway, falling behind all the other traffic. I could see where I wanted to go, but I just couldn’t get there as fast.

I called that detour “divorce”, and it took me a few years to get back up onto the highway. I finished two books and blogged professionally during that productive time. Managing my depression while optimistically making big goals helped me to move forward.

The next detour is a touchy one. I’ve never spoken about it in public. It involved pummelings and kicks, objects thrown, property damaged, bruises, and frequent calls to the police while I lived as a punching bag for two people. One of them was a sole instance, but it was bad enough that it changed their life permanently with police, counseling, and a new residence. The other person is precious to me and under my care still.

I couldn’t defend myself well in that sole instance because I was having a Tourette’s episode. My forearm crutches were up against the house, and I was laying down on the driveway. I’ve never felt so helpless in my life. The majority of the events, however, involved the precious one. How could I defend myself against a child? I would take punches while I waited for the police to arrive. This precious one also had epilepsy, so there were many, many emergency calls. I called this detour “911 Hell” and it lasted over seven years.

Autistic children are hard to raise, more so when you don’t have a diagnosis. Teachers and social workers were quick to point fault at us as being negligent. The problem was compounded because the precious one would become Dr. Jekyll after I called the police on Mr. Hyde. Fortunately, we persevered and had our child properly diagnosed, which opened up avenues of treatment that have been life-changing for all of us.

The lessons that I learned were to ignore the petty tyrants in the school system, to not take social workers’ advice (they hastily pass judgement, then move on to the next case), and to proactively seek medical expertise. Also, have your doctor print out and sign your child’s diagnosis on paper with an official letterhead, then laminate it to show to any doubting officials. This saves so much time.

My third detour was less of a side road and more of a bridge that was blown out while I was driving across it. Having Major Depression Disorder and Persistent Depression Disorder, Tourettes, and ADHD while dealing with all of this suppressed my immunity system and caused me to become sick all of the time. I call this detour “the lingering death”. It began in 2014. The last year has been the worst, and I have detailed it more than enough in these pages. I’m still trying to get back up onto the service road, never mind the highway.

All of these detours have profoundly changed me. I struggle to find things to laugh about, and I smile even less. Tapping into my inner brat in order to write funny blog articles is particularly challenging. However, I have not given up hope. Although I occasionally lapse in judgment, I try hard not to compare myself to others and mark my success against my own progress.

As for today, the precious one has COVID–19 this week, but I dodged that bullet. However, I got some other respiratory virus at the same time. You might think those are uncanny odds, but this is me we’re talking about. I get sick just looking outside at the changing weather.

As I come out of this recent illness, I’m thinking hard about how I want to move forward. I need more progress in my life. I need more successes. And I need to acknowledge that I am not managing my depression very well this time around. I don’t know if writing all of this changes anything, but it seems to me that I need to get back up onto the highway sooner rather than later before the next detour presents itself. If putting my life into perspective in a short article can accomplish anything, I hope it accomplishes this.