Sunday, August 29, 2010

Have you gone Mental (VI)

This round of serious mental illness is not my first. I may have previously mentioned this. I had experienced low grade depression and anxiety beginning in my teens. I was a member of several rock bands and was anxious before, during and after each "gig". It was then that I discovered that crowds bothered me. Paranoia also set in. I had irrational fears that people wanted to hurt me. This I remember from about 1966 to 1970, when my "rock n roll" career came to a close. Garage bands don't last forever.

The next time I felt attacked by severe depession and anxiety was in the mid to late 80's. I had marital difficulties which were exascerbated by my involvement with another woman. I felt this was wrong through my 3-4 year involvement. Depression and anxiety were constant companions from this time on. I have never been without these companions ever since.

Looking back I remember thinking that my depression and anxiety were situational. In fact I lost my family and my occupation (Pastor) in the process. A lot of loss for which I take a great deal of responsibility.

I sought therapy in 1986 for these disorders. It was helpful for to me to use Cognitive Behavioral therapy which would ameliarate the symptoms for awhile. Over time I came to believe the depression was not situational or part of a temporary adjustment disorder, but was endogenous... simply a part of my life.

During this time I was admitted to a mental unit of a local hospital. I stayed four nights. I was constantly depressed and experienced great anxiety participating in group and what I remember as occupational therapy.

When I was discharged, I threw myself into work ...workaholism "they" called it. I continued in therapy as my disorders continued. I had 3 good jobs over 20 years at three different agencies who provided alcohol and drug treatment. AS I did this, I kept many feelings at bay until something didn't go right or I had to stand in front of people, or facililtate a group.

After going to work for a local hospital I, at first, was the director of a Chemical Dependency progam until it shut down in 1997. I then took over the Employee Assistance program. The anxiety of counseling as a part of my job gave me great difficulty. There were times whcn I got so anxious I called the client and told them I couldn't see them because I was "ill". This was true, but not in the traditional sense. I soon took over another department of the hospital which added more anxiety; or I should say, allowed my depression and anxiety to come to the surface with a vengence. A few years into this three-fold job, I began the journey of serious daily anxiety and depression again; although like nothing I had ever experienced. It resulted in a two month medical leave of absence after a 15 year career at this hospital.

I was determined to return to work, to throw myhself back into it as a means of healing. But it was not to be. When I returned on the day scheduled I was called into the director's office and informed my position had been eliminated. I was informed it was a business/financial decision and not "for cause". My file folder full of thank you notes from my director was my assurance.

Although this was a shock, I became numb. My depression and anxiety was severe before this meeting and I knew (although I was in denial on that day) that the disorders continued and I would have been unable to work anyway.

Feeling bad about oneself was not helpful. I felt like a weak, pathetic failure.

Enough (way enough) for now.

1 comment:

  1. Love all of this. Love being inside your head. Love you.