Depression & Anxiety-One man’s story

Depression & Anxiety-One man\’s story If things are not going well, please seek help

Friday, June 2, 2006 8:34 AM EDT

Brian Walker THE KENTUCKY STANDARD – 5/31/06

Most people who know me likely believe I am a fun-loving man who doesn’t have a care in the world. Only a very few know the ugly truth. I suffer from depression.

It’s only been in the past few months I have come to terms with my problem. I ignored it all my adult life and the bulk of my teens.

It’s not any one thing that triggers sadness or contributes to my woes. My depression stems from a combination of ills such as heredity, unrealistic self-expectations, negative life experiences and unhealthy habits.

My largest problem was the fact I tried to hide my condition from everyone. My odd behavior, mood swings and stuff I don’t care to write about here made me sick for a long time. When cornered about something, I would create elaborate excuses for my actions.

All of this built up through the years and the dam burst last fall. I began to suffer panic attacks in public and stayed hidden in my house for days at a time when not required to be at my previous job.

My marriage was nearly ruined and I believed nothing was to blame but me. I honestly thought whatever was wrong with me was shameful. I was sure my life was meaningless and no one loved or needed me.

I ended up in the hospital with a respiratory infection. The treatment of steroids and other medication threw me into even more serious and dangerous panic attacks. It was then I revealed my ugly secret to my doctor and wife, Donna.

To my shock, no one laughed at me. I wasn’t ostracized, shunned or left alone in my sad state. I attended group therapy, began to take medication and spent many hours praying. Donna and I began to talk and we were able to work through most of the problems brought on by my illness.

Her only negative response, if it could even be called that, to the entire mess was that she wished I had told her sooner.

It never seemed to me that it was all right to be depressed. I didn’t think my paltry issues were worthy of the illness. I was never molested, incarcerated, abused or abandoned. I was taken to church and taught right from wrong from the time of my birth. So for me to be sad, it was some sort of failure in my mind. I believed being sick wasn’t anything but selfish on my part.

But with a renewed faith in God, medication, therapy and forgiving myself and allowing the healing efforts to take effect, I feel almost normal most every day.

I recently learned a startling and sad fact that Nelson County, per capita, has one of the highest suicide rates in the state. I came close to that decision myself several times through the years. I’m now so glad that help came along when it did. Without all of the aforementioned assistance, I’m sure my life would have ended by now.

I offer this column and the potential embarrassment it will cause me to reveal these things to the public as a lifeline to anyone dealing with depression. You’re not alone and there is help available. It will work out somehow and people do care about you.

The things I could have missed scare me. Donna wouldn’t be expecting our daughter. I wouldn’t have been here to see my marriage on the right track and my faith in God restored.

Although for now I am out of the woods and safe from depression, it could return someday. The difference this time is I would recognize it, ask for help and go on with my life. I hope those who have family suffering with this illness will look on them not with pity, but with strength and a desire to help. Because when in the throes of the abyss, you can’t see daylight. Believe me, I’ve been there and back again.

SOURCE:- The Kentucky Standard

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