When the World Goes Numb
He left us too early; his life too short; his blog just starting. There is absolutely nothing about his story that isn’t tragic or sad, so I won’t dwell on it here. Mostly, because we don’t know the entire story, nor will we. And, I won’t be part of any conjecture. I’m only going to write about what I do know:
He took his own life. He left two beautiful children behind. He reached out for help.
(Click the image for another great post about male depression.)
Depression is a many splendored thing. It has so many faces, it makes it hard to diagnose and treat.
They say hypertension is a silent killer…so is depression. So often, we see commercials where someone is being followed by a sad little cartoony cloud. Depression gets the marketing makeover that almost tells people that being depressed is nothing more than a little bump in the emotional road of life. Hey, if you’re ‘bummed out’, we have a magic pill that can help. Or, they tell you that depression is a hole that never leaves you. EVER. Oh, and if you take our magic pill, you can tolerate the hole. It won’t go away, but you won’t care as much. Also, if the ads are to be believed, only rocks and women get depressed.
Add to that, the fact that everyone reacts to depression differently, and you see how problems can arise. While Marc and I weren’t fast friends, I remember when he started blogging and gave him a few shoutouts and well wishes. Then about a month ago, he fell off the grid. No one really noticed, because bloggers stop blogging for all sorts of reasons. Hell, I took a 6 month hiatus and no one noticed! So, someone going Blog-MIA for a month isn’t a big sign of problems. Also, his latest blog posts weren’t particularly ominous. Not everyone lets on there’s problems.
For instance: Hyperbole and a Half did a rather poignant piece on her slipping into depression. Then she disappeared for several months. You saw the writing on the wall…LITERALLY. And it was scary as shit, knowing something was wrong and knowing there was nothing you could do to stop what was going on. Then several months later, she comes back with the single best representation of depression the world has ever seen. There was a collective sigh of relief as tens of thousands of her fans saw her re-emerge on the other side of a black hole. Her struggles aren’t over, but at least there’s hope. Reading her post, you can understand that suicide sometimes isn’t so much a tear-filled anguished scream from the rooftops…but a silent sinking into oblivion just to stop not feeling things. Please go and read her posts HERE. NOW! It’s okay, I’ll wait.
You back? Good.
This all hit me pretty hard, actually. It brought up memories of wanting to commit suicide. Just
wanting needing the hurting to stop. While I didn’t have the soul-crushing ennui, I can relate. And to think that there are people who, through no real fault of their own, are just done with life. They can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. They can’t imagine a time when they will ever feel normal or happy again. So, what do you do? Are you the one depressed? Do you know someone who is? How can you be sure?
I’ve called on the pros here. My sister is a clinical psychologist and I tossed a few questions her way. And despite the research I’ve been doing, she still managed to school me on some things. The first thing I want to bring up is…
According to the manual used by psychologists, psychiatrists and the like to diagnose mental health disorders, the DSM-IV-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 4th edition, text revision), a major depressive episode occurs when “5 or more symptoms of depression are occurring in an individual during the same 2-week period and represent a change from previous functioning; at least one of the symptoms is either (1) depressed mood or (2) loss of interest in pleasure”
(1) depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, as indicated by either subjective report (from the person) or observation by others.(2) markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day.(3) significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain (e.g., a change of more than 5 % of body weight in a month).(4) insomnia or hypersomnia (over sleeping) nearly every day.(5) psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day (observed by others, not merely the subjective feeling of restlessness or feeling slowed down).(6) fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.(7) feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly every day (not merely self-reproach or guilt about being sick).(8) diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day.(9) recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent thoughts of suicide without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.
Another question I asked regarded the ‘types’ of depression…i.e. chemical imbalances, seratonin levels etc. And I learned that this is actually a debated topic in the mental health industry, but science is making some strides in clarifying things up for us.
I caution anyone from getting their information from just “anyone” on the web about any psychological condition.
This is an incredibly detailed answer and yet only scratches the surface,
Next week we’ll be going over
Roadblocks to Treatment:
The nice thing about the internet age is there is no lack of resources. But depending on situations, they can be a pain to look up. So, I’ve got several listed here.
HopeLine – Get Help Now
Motherhood Unadorned – Crisis Resources
You can also follow her on Twitter: @MotherhoodUnadorned
In an effort to raise awareness, several other dad bloggers have joined in and lent their voices to the conversation. Some of them have had family members who suffered through depression. Some of them went through it themselves. And some of them are still on their journey, navigating depression’s waters. Give everyone a visit.
Krazy Dad Memoir – Do Not Go Into That Good Night
Dad of Divas – The Time Is Now To Ask For Help
Clark Kent’s Lunchbox- Dump Truck Full of Dead Babies
Canadian Dad – The Day the Darkness Crept In
Blogger and a Father – The Solitary Confinement of Depression
Dad’s a Lawyer – Words From the Wife
The Daddy Files – Come Back to Me
Be a Little Weird - Recognizing Depression in Men for What it Really Is
Dads Round Table – Strategies to Fight Depression
The Rock Father - The Death of DIVIDED DAD and the Pain of Depression…
(More to Come)