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Shadow of an Angel
03-25-2003, 02:24 PM
OK, sorry Ďbout this folks, but I just need to rant. This is a bit of a messy subject so I apologize in advance if none of this makes any sense.

Here it is. Iíve beenÖ down for a long time now. Up until part way through January Iíd been Cutting, and in the last year and a half Iíve attempted suicide five times. It hasnít effected my artwork until recently; in the past itís actually given me a topic that people can relate to that I can depict, but nowÖ all the life seems to have gone out of me and I find myself stuck. Itís like thereís no passion, no happiness anymore, and no reason to do anything. I keep getting these ideas, but I donít have the talent or the will to try and depict them and it just keeps slipping further and further away. My friends keep suggesting that I go to a shrink because theyíre convinced that Iím going with the genetic flow and Iíve Ďcaughtí one of the mental illnesses that seem to plague my motherís side of the family, but I donít think itís that severe. But I justÖ donít know. Iím scared to death that they might be right. I donít want to end up in a hospital or on medication that I canít afford; I just want some joy, some reason back in my life.

SoÖ yeah, thereís the readerís digest version of it. I was just wondering if anyone out thereís been through something similarÖ I donít know. Iím sorry for wasting your time with this itís justÖ I thought maybe someone out thereíd be able to help.


-Shadow

"God, are You there, can You hear me now?
Show me how to hope
Lost in the dark on a dead end road, please save me from myself"
-Resurrection Band, "Shadows"

Rose Queen
03-25-2003, 02:45 PM
((((((((((((((((((Shadow)))))))))))))))))))

I can't say I've tried cutting or suicide, but I know up close and personal what depression is like and it surely sounds like that's your problem. It isn't even a matter of depression vs. motivation; when you're depressed, there is no motivation, no spark, no interest, no energy, no hope.

Depression, as you no doubt know, is a chemical imbalance in the brain. It can be addressed with therapy, medication or both. You may or may not have to be on medication for a long time; it depends on your body. I will be on it for the rest of my life and have finally learned, after three years, to stop fighting it. It's not really any different from having something like diabetes: either you produce enough insulin or you don't, and if you don't, you have to do something about it or die.

My depression, like yours, is genetic. My mother was depressed and my father's sister has had two long stints in hospitals for depression, so there's no getting away from it for me. That doesn't mean that you will wind up like your mother, but you have to do something!

The trouble is, it's hard to think about brain issues when you're using your brain to think! Heck,the trouble is, it's hard to do anything when you're depressed. Hopefully, you have some good friends and/or family who care about you and will help you get what you need. The first step is to a doctor for a referral to a therapist and some medication to get you at least up to a level where you can benefit from the therapy. Otherwise, I'm afraid you'll just keep slipping. Trust your friends, Shadow; they obviously care about you and want to help you. Let them, please?

And we care about you, too, Shadow, so please let us know how it's going and if we can doing anything more to help you.



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paintfool
03-25-2003, 03:12 PM
((Shadow)) I don't know that i can add anything of value to Rose's very wise advice but i can certainly agree with her. Please do seek proffessional help.
Depression is a very common affliction and there are medications that manage it very effectively. I can understand your fear but you will someday be very greatful that you sought help. Life is precious and it's a shame to miss one minute of it.
There are also online support groups. I can see if i can find one for you. But please do see a professional asap.
Cheryl

Ron van den Boogaard
03-26-2003, 06:24 AM
I once spend a fair amount of time in an Arnold Patent type mutual support group. http://www.arnoldpatent.com .
What I have seen there in terms of changes with a.o. people like you beats any kind of therapy or medication. People would change within months or weeks, get off therapy, get off medication. And as I still see some of them occasionally, the changes appear to be permanent.

Having said all this, I have also seen some people where it didn't work, but that was definitely a minority. Not claiming this is the absolute thruth, there isn't any, but perhaps worth looking into.

Nolly
03-26-2003, 06:37 AM
Shadow,

Please seek help immediately. If you don't have insurance, there are funded agencies with the resources to help you. Go to the emergency room; ask one of your friends to go with you and the professionals there will point you in the right direction.

I burst into tears at a routine gyn a few couple of years ago and my doctor was sensitive enough to stop, talk, and prescribe Celexa which has made a terrific difference in my life. My friends and family say it's like having the old me back again--I don't know where I'd been, but I know that I wasn't finding any joy in my life and I was plagued by the thought that if I wasn't here, I wouldn't have to endure my problems any more. Morbid thoughts are not as severe a symptom as cutting, but part of your brain is trying to tell another part that you are in trouble. Pay attention!

You are not alone; many people suffer from depression and it's better understood these days than ever before. Please, please, please seek help. You can can be happy again.

Nolly

Salairawns
03-26-2003, 11:36 PM
From one manic depressive cutter to another, a little humour - worrying about getting help, does not help. ;)

It does cost money to get help, and for meds. But once you start feeling better, you'll wonder why you waited so long.
I know I'd forgotten how good it feels just to feel good.

Something else to always keep in mind - Death is change. Most people do not really want to die, they want their life and their feelings to change.
Whenever the suicidal urge strikes, repeat to yourself that you don't want to die, you just want things to change. Worked for me anyway.

And one more tip. There have been studies of chocolate that show it contains one of the same chemicals in anti-depressents.
I've found that if I feel a depression creeping on, I can run out and buy some chocolate bars (Hershey's), eat three, and feel a lot better. Sure, part of it is a sugar high, but it's also kicking into other parts of your system. Just don't do it too often or you'll pack on the pounds and feel worse. :p But as an occasional jolt to the system, it's worked for me.

Those things may or may not work for you. My husband is on antidepressents, and might be for a long time. He's been on them for over a year now, very low dosage, and the results were amazing. The moody doom and constant criticism is gone. He still has bad days, but they're never as bad as what they were.
The price tag bites every time we get the meds, ninety dollars covers about three months because he cuts them in half, but it's worth every penny.
By the way, they gave him samples the first time, so that could give you a finacial break if you ask about that.

Don't let money stop you from getting back your happiness. Don't worry so much about if you 'need' help. You suspect you do. The real issue is, do you want to feel good again, and if the answer is yes, you know you need to go get that help.
As for family histories, don't let that scare you from the dr's either. Think about what you're really afraid; that you won't get better? that you'll ask for help and it won't work? that someone will call you nuts?
There must be something that keeps you from seeking help. In worst case scenario, maybe you're unconsciously punishing yourself for something, thinking you don't deserve to feel good. Maybe you've just gotten used to feeling bad; it happens to the best of us. (points to self on both instances)
It's okay to feel good.

My apologies if this comes across strong. I've been there, or somewhere like it; kind of like getting lost on the bad side of town. You need to know when to stop and ask for directions on how to get out.
Now go get help. :D And keep us updated on how you're doing, okay?
Strength to you, Shadow.

Cathy Morgan
03-26-2003, 11:48 PM
There are so many things that can help. Your local mental health clinic can help and will provide medication if you need it - at no charge if you can't pay. The Arnold Patent link is worth exploring. And I can recommend two books - http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0786866292/qid=1048740367/sr=2-1/ref=sr_2_1/002-9502874-3240843 (Depression is a Choice: Winning the Fight Without Drugs) - and http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/157954570X/qid=1048740428/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/002-9502874-3240843?v=glance&s=books (The Van Gogh Blues, by Eric Maisel). The Depression is a Choice book got a lot of angry reviews at amazon, but most were from people who hadn't even opened the book. They just hated the title. I happened to be in a big Border's bookstore in Atlanta one day last year, feeling very depressed - had been crying a lot. I sat down on a chair and there was the book. I opened it and read about two sentences, suddenly felt much better. Ended up buying the book and have found it very helpful.

Eric Maisel's book is specifically for artists, writers, other creative workers - so it's especially relevant. I've found it very helpful too.

I've always figured too that "if things got too bad" I'd volunteer for several months at http://www.optioninstitute.com/depression.html (The Option Institute) - where Barry and Sue Kaufmann work with people to enable them to choose happiness. (You may remember them for their work with their own autistic son - now a happy, healthy counselor himself - and with other parents and autistic kids, described in http://www.son-rise.org/ (Son-Rise.) I don't think any depression could long withstand their radiance.

So there are many people and books that can help. Your own creative spirit can help. Please do hang in there. There's no one like you in the whole world, and we need you.

Cathy Morgan
03-26-2003, 11:52 PM
Sorry, sometimes I don't get the http links done correctly. The first book is Depression is a Choice. The second link is to Eric Maisel's book, The Van Gogh Blues.

I'll try it again but bear with me - it may still come out wrong:

Depression is a Choice (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0786866292/qid=1048740367/sr=2-1/ref=sr_2_1/002-9502874-3240843)

and

Eric Maisel's The Van Gogh Blues (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/157954570X/qid=1048740428/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/002-9502874-3240843?v=glance&s=books)

Cathy Morgan
03-26-2003, 11:54 PM
I see that the Option Institute links in my earlier post are backwards too, so they don't work.

I'll try again:

The Option Institute (http://www.optioninstitute.com/depression.html)

and

Son-Rise program for autistic children and their parents (http://www.son-rise.org/)

Cathy Morgan
03-26-2003, 11:59 PM
Also, if you decide to go for meds (maybe alongside some cognitive therapy or diet changes or whatever) - be aware that the major drug companies have programs to provide medications free to people who absolutely couldn't afford them otherwise. If for some reason your local mental health clinic can't provide what you need free, the drug companies will. I have a friend who uses a lot of prescription drugs for hypertension, high cholesterol, etc. and couldn't possibly buy them from her income. She used The Medicine Program (http://www.themedicineprogram.com/) to get all the paperwork done to get her medications free from the drug companies that make them. It realy works.

So take heart!

artcreator
03-28-2003, 02:24 AM
I have to say...as a sufferer of untreated clinical depression, that even though I have had neither the time nor inclination to read all the posts here tonight...I will tomorrow. It's great that you all are here to help people in times of need.

Now I can tell you what I have done to kind of combat my current mental state...which is not all that good. I actually sat down one night and thought long and hard about death in general. Even though I know it would mess up a handful of people that know me well, I know that it wouldn't hurt me any more than life itself has. That being said...I still though...and thought...and thought....then I realized something, I'm not ready to go yet. For me it's all about making a mark in life. I haven't accomplished much beyond surviving (and even that's debatable...I'm 28 and live with my family...who I affectionalty refer to as "The O'Brien's"). This is not how I want to be remembered by people. The loser that lived with his parents until he was 28 and finally offed himself. No thanks.

Yeah, life sucks sometimes.

So I sat.

And the fire came again.

I started writing out all of the things I want to do...I made a list of names for paintings that I intend to complete before I am done...and it's a good long list. It pretty much chronicles my life, this little collection of ideas. I make sure to keep myself busy, even if I do get down...I still do my daily routine most of the time. I get up pretty early, do a quick workout (got out of shape the last few years) to wake myself and get the chemicals in the brain all firing off, then I have a light breakfast (never was much on this meal for some reason), then I do whatever tasks I have to accomplish that are important to others (making phone calls to creditors and such), then I do my work...I paint, draw, or think about one of the two, eventually I break away for some leisure time to watch a little tv, chat...whatever.

After all of that, it is in my humble opinion that if you are cutting yourself (something I did a bit of long ago, but it really wasn't for me), constantly unmotivated, and thinking of taking your own life...I urge you to seek some sort of professional help. I have been to the depths here myself...I was a pincushion in a hospital for a few days during the Christmas holiday back in 1992 I believe. I was on the medications and all that...but found that they did very little for me, even when the doctor would up my dosage. I won't go into how I felt or anything like that...but eventually I went back off the meds...and I have managed. Though there are still some nights where I do think about ending it all, I just sniffle a bit, then go to sleep...knowing that tomorrow can be a better day.

It's been almost 11 years now since I was diagnosed and about 15 since the disease reared it's head in my life...I'm not exactly succeeding, but I am surviving and starting to reach out a bit more to succeed.

I don't know what exactly has gotten you down...I have all kinds of problems in my personal and professional life going on right now...my finances are a mess, as are all of my personal relationships. The personal relationships can be fixed or scuttled for me...I'm starting to cast off the emotional dead weight that is in my life...the people that take and never give back. As for my finances...I just think about the fact that even though they can make my life hell, my creditors can't kill me...thank god.

Try and pick your chin up...even on the brightest, sunniest day...the horizon appears foggy...just look up and try and take in the good weather that might be above you that you may be missing by looking at that horizon.

ScarletLake
04-02-2003, 08:35 AM
Just had to respond. I am a nurse & I too suffer from depression. I take Zoloft the lowest dose & it has made a big difference. But here is what I wanted to say.

If you are a cutter & have attempted sucide 5 times in a year but don't think think that this is serious then you are in denial also. There is help available & you need to get a professional.

Take things one day or sometimes one hour at a time but please contact a Doctor. There is so much to help with the illness today than there ever used to be.

I know this will sound very corny but I like what Oprah Winfrey says - Live Your Best Life. There is so much living & things to expereince yet & one of these times you might just suceed at one of your attempts - an then my friend - it really is all over.

I encourage you to ask for help. No shame in doing that. When you o you'll feel like youre coming out of a dense fog into the sunlight.

Come on - you can do it.

Anita

artcreator
04-03-2003, 02:52 AM
Wow...I guess I am in a bit deeper than I thought in my depression. I just took a short quiz herepsychcentral.com/quzzes.htm (http://spychcentral.com/quiz.htm) and here are my results results (http://psychcentral.com/cgi-bin/depression.cgi?100=3&200=2&300=3&400=4&500=4&600=2&700=5&800=5&900=5&1000=4&1100=2&1200=4&1300=3&1400=5&1500=4&1600=4&1700=4&1800=5) If that doesn't work...I scored a 68...which is deep into the severe territory. I actually started getting teary eyed as I answered the questions because I knew what it was going to come back with as I answered. I guess I didn't see the forest for the trees when it comes to my problems. I think this is going to prompt me to get some sort of help though, it's a bit disturbing to score a 68 when 54 is the bottom of the severe scale.

artcreator
04-03-2003, 03:03 AM
damn...apparently I score high in mania, the OCD, sexual addiction, and domestic violence screening too. I seriously hope that these things are wrong...but I scored a 0 in the eating disorder quiz. I know I have depression, but these test scores tend to make me look like I should be bound and committed!

Ron van den Boogaard
04-03-2003, 05:49 AM
I'm not impressed with these tests. They are very simplistic. If you do them with the idea that you are depressed, it's all too easy to be led by the answers. So it starts to act as a self-fullfilling promise.
All test and quizzes have a tendency to have an outcome that is not the actual result but the desired result. Therefor good tests are set up in such a way that
- A large part of the questions give no indication of what the desired answer would be and
- They contain control questions - questions that address the same issue in different ways without being to noticable - so given answers are checked within the questionaire.

Some things on the Internet are very helpfull. to my mind this is not one of them. Better to talk to a pro. This quiz is not very helpful.

artcreator
04-03-2003, 06:02 AM
Ron, that's why I took all of the other tests there...I felt that it was a bit too slanted to be an objective score. I know that a test like this would probably be better if they introduced a scenario-reaction format. The tests are rudimentary at best. I have been in treatment for mental illness in the past and I know I don't have a sexual addiction, OCD, or mania. I know that my relationship with my ex is abusive...hell, the girl decided that it was a good idea to hit me with a 2 liter bottle of Dr. Pepper, punch me and then kick me square in the testicles just because we had been arguing and I told her I was going home via the city bus because I didn't think we should be around each other.

I was feeling pretty down when I took the test, I think that is obvious. Been going through tons of turbulent times in my life lately. That's why I took all the other little quizzes there...to see if I scored high in all of them, since I know that most of them aren't problems I have I did discount the originally test score...I know I rate in some of the higher categories for depression...but geez a 68? Now way! lol

Thanks for your input on the test though...now I am pretty darn sure that my thoughts on it aren't all wet! :-D

Rose Queen
04-03-2003, 12:42 PM
If these tests were worth anything, you could be sure the medical profession and those who design these tests would be done on them like a ton of lead. Still, you know you need help and that life doesn't have to be as bleak as it seems for you right now, so please, please, please see a doctor for a referral.



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Shadow of an Angel
04-07-2003, 11:16 AM
OK folks, youíve convinced me. I dunno why, but hearing this coming from people Iíve like never met had a bit of a different effect than hearing it from my friends who are equally messed up by life and have been telling me for years about how their shrinks donít get it/donít help them at all. SoÖ Iím gonna do it. Iím not going to the emergency room, or to a psychologist or a psychiatrist or whatever, but today I thinkÖ no, not just thinkÖ Iím gonna go get an appointment with one of the councilors that work at my school. I wasnít going to butÖ last night for no apparent reason other than I was tiered and not thinking straight, I SIed again. (No cutting, I filed my wrist down till it was bleeding and then put rubbing alcohol on it)
Iím really scared, I donít want my family or my teachers finding out that Iíve got a problem, butÖ I think Iím finally convinced that Iíve got a problem that might have a solution. SoÖ Iíll keep you guys posted, thank you so much for your support and for sharing your stories, itís good to know Iím not the only one out there like this, itís good to know Iím not (entirely) crazy, and itís good to know that others have found help.
Thank you all so much.

-Shadow

Cathy Morgan
04-07-2003, 01:53 PM
I'm so glad you're going to talk to a counselor. Your friends are right that some shrinks don't help. But - you wouldn't stop shopping for clothes because someone said they tried on a shirt that didn't fit. You'd tell them to keep shopping till they found one that DID fit. Counseling and therapy are the same way. There are LOTS of counselors out there and someone will be on your wave length. There's someone within your reach, who will help.

Remember too that there are phone-in help centers - so if you feel like hurting yourself, you can call. These places are open 24/7.

HURRAY! We need your creative power in the world, so you're really doing the rest of us a favor to be getting some help. I'm so glad. Please do keep us posted.

Shadow of an Angel
04-07-2003, 03:36 PM
OK, so here it is folks. Tomorrow, 14:00 I get to go and see the councilor. I only scheduled 15 minutes with him, but Iím just gonna go to test him out and see if I can trust him or not. I donít know why but Iím really scared, but thereís no backing out now, my friend went and told my Art teacher as soon as I said that Iíd do it and she in turn suggested one of the councilors for me so now Iím stuck going whether I want to go or not. I just really hope this will work. Iíll for sure keep you guys posted, youíre all likeÖ a lifeline or something, you rock.

-Shadow

artcreator
04-07-2003, 04:53 PM
Shadow,

You've taken the first(and hardest step) here in asking for help, or at least seeking it. Try not to get too discouraged if you find that this person doesn't fit with you either. I can honestly tell you that I had been in and out of counseling for several years starting with childhood. I was a serious fighter when I was young. I went to counseling for several years just for that, eventually I learned to control my anger. That doesn't mean that I don't get angry anymore, but I have been much better at controlling my violence. When I was in my early teens I went to a psychiatrist. That guy lasted one visit with me and I never went back. Basically I was just told by him that I was wrong all the time when it came to arguing with my family and that I should pretty much blindly listen to what they said. I didn't feel like he had listened to anything I had said at all. I sat there with my mother, stepfather and the doctor while he came down on me harder than my parents had. I never spoke a word in that session because of the way I was being treated. Then when I was hospitalized for depression I found a doctor that actually worked pretty well for me. Unfortunately, my health insurance with my stepfather also ran out shortly thereafter and I couldn't go anymore anyhow.

I guess the moral of the story is, keep trying on doctors until you find one that fits.

Shadow of an Angel
04-08-2003, 11:43 PM
I'm really sorry about this folks, I tried, I really did, but it looks like that idea's not going to work out.

See, the thing is, the counciler spent the entire time I'd booked for my appointment talking to some little git in his TA who showed up after I did, without an appointment, discussing wether or not she should take a PhysEd course next year or not. He never even ignolodged I was there. So I've decided that, if my problems aren't important enough for even a guy who's job is working with people like me then I figure, whatever. I tried. I was scared so bad before I went I didn't know how I'd be able to acctualy talk to him about it without breaking my cover story about having a friend who had a problem... and yeah. Sorry to disapoint you, no success story this time.

I'm thinking that... I don't know anymore. I'm just going to... try and tough it out some more. Maybe if I try harder I can do it without professional help. I dunno, but it's the only thing I can think of doing that won't make things worse. In the mean time, I'm moving my sculpting tools and all my files into a box in my basement and not going near them. Maybe if I use my drawings to get rid of the thoughts or whatever... maybe I can work through this.

Anyways. sorry and g'night folks.

-Shadow

DanaT
04-09-2003, 04:01 PM
Hi Shadow I just read this thread. Take care, don't despair because that jerk of a counselor ignored you for a kid who can't decide what class she's gonna take next year. Talk about screwed up priorities! Isn't there someone else at the school you can talk to?

Keep on searching for a professional that will listen to you until you find someone and until then, please think about this:

A lady once told me that she didn't really want to end her life when she tried to commit suicide; she just wanted to stop feeling what she was feeling.

When one of my friends talked about suicide, I told him that whenever he got suicidal thoughts to repeat to himself, "I don't want to die; I just don't want to feel what I'm feeling" It was something he could honestly believe even in his worst depression AND it helped him find the help to get over it.

Take care :)

Cathy Morgan
04-09-2003, 04:30 PM
Shadow of an Angel, you don't owe us any apology. We're here for you whether you get professional help or not. I think it's a good idea to keep looking - but you'll know yourself when it's time to make another call. (Remember those anonymous phone crisis lines might be another way to get help.) Anyway - your plan to draw is a great one.

I don't remember the name of the woman who started drawing self portraits in her fifties or sixties because she discovered that doing the drawings eased her depression. It definitely worked.

Sometimes it helps me to take a soft pencil like an Ebony or 6B, and just let my hand go on the paper. I just let it do whatever it wants to do. Usually it's not anything recognizable, very abstract, and yet it's exactly right from the inside of me. I can tell because my hand can make the same line over and over exactly, without any effort at all. Anyway - this can really let feelings and moods shift in a good direction. Often when writing gets me more bogged down, "free drawing" like this is what can help me feel good again.

So I think you've written yourself a good prescription, Doctor Angel. Keep in touch.

Jolanta
04-10-2003, 06:58 PM
I am very sorry your first try didn't work but at the same time I am extremely proud of you! You did try and this is what really counts. Now, another success of yours is you know by now you need help to feel better. It is as easy as to make an appointment to your general physician. I suppose you have a general doctor for colds and such. If you do you can get some medication from there. Depression now is so popular and common it seems to me like everybody is on some kind of antidepressants. I am not any different. About 2 years ago I did sink into deep depression with a very good reason. I would never see the doctor because depressed brain works differently and we don't see how bad it is. A friend of mine who is on strong medication for depression actually tricked me and took me to the doctor. As soon as the doctor came I announced to him " I don't need any help-I am fine" but he knew better. He just talked to me and gave me Zoloft. This simple and very common drug saved my life. Now I don't need to take it anymore and I have the best time in my life. Accidentally when I was getting off Zoloft I heard on the radio there was a research done with people who don't respond to antidepressant too well and they were taking Fish Oil one gram a day. I am taking Fish Oil every day after I quit Zoloft and feel great! What I am trying to say is don't even try to get over it by yourself. It will never work. This is a chemical unbalance in the brain and it needs to be corrected. Somehow I didn't believe in counseling in my case. I was right. You probably will need some but start with the simple visit to any general doctor. You will not believe the difference. It is so sad you don't have a close friend to just take your hand and walk you to the doctor office. Look around maybe you can find somebody you can trust. Once again it is nothing wrong with beying depressed as far as what other people will say - they probably are in the same shoes.

Let me know how you are doing and go get pills - you are about 2 weeks away from feeling better!!! If you just need to talk we are here to listen.

Jolanta

artcolony1
04-12-2003, 04:39 AM
My daughter's name is Angel. I will tell you as I would her:

You are loved, wanted and need. Beautiful in spirit as in nature. You've changed the world solely by being in it, everything else is extra credit.

It seems to me, if you're hurting yourself to remind yourself you're alive. Congratulations, you are. It may not be the glamorous life you ordered. It rarely is. I could bore you with all the adventures in my life but after the distraction is over. You would still feel lonely inside yourself. I could tell you, it's just your age, give it a few years. Years seem intangible when you have a hard time seeing tomorrow. It can seem as if everyone around you has it so easy, they know what they're doing and they know where they're going. I'll let you in on a little secret. They are guessing as much as you are. Granted, there are those people who schedule every minute of every day. Personally, that's way too much work. The day should surprise me.

If your leg hurt as much as your head does, then you wouldn't hesitate to see a doctor. The fear you have is of the unknown. Maybe you do need medicine or therapy. Mostly, it seems as if you need to be heard. Toss up a flare, sky writing, semaphore, smoke signals, morris code, e-mail... I will listen without judgment.

All the doctors, medicine and therapy won't be as successful as it could be until you realize: YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN HAPPINESS. It's so simple but seems so huge when your dwelling in the basement of your mind. Let it bounce off your cranial walls for a while.

When this idea takes root, it will start small. You might find magic in the surface tension of a raindrop clinging to your window, giggle at the way your friend laughs or try a new hobby like burping the alphabet. Either way, you will begin to find glimmers of happiness. When you get strong enough, you will find harmless ways of entertaining yourself. Maybe it will start with a new word like BUCCULA (double chin) and keep a mental record of how many you've seen that day. Maybe you will announce to all your friends that today you are Brittany Spears and wear all your underwear on the outside of your jeans.... Or maybe not.

Happiness is short term. It comes and goes unexpectantly so we will recognize it when it shows up. Most of the time life is average at best.

erinj
04-15-2003, 10:24 PM
How are you doing, Shadow?

I hope you are doing ok. Have you been doing art this last couple days?

I was touched by reading your post and all the nice peoples' responses. I hope that you can find the right counselor to help you. I found such a great counselor many years ago, at my church. She came in one day a week and it was less expensive than her private practice. She was like a mom and dad and gave great nurturing and helped me to turn my thoughts around from being so negative. OH, and sometimes churches have 'benevolent funds' allocated to people who would like counseling to help them, and who might not be able to afford it over the long-term. Sometimes for a period though, they have free counseling. Don't be afraid of the cost. Just get your feet wet and see how it goes! :-)

Actually, it was a group therapy session that I first got into with Carolyn. I still remember some of the folks in that session. I liked the group because I could relate somewhat to the other folks' problems, some of them. And, it was like a little family.

She really helped me with certain situations I was going through and she helped me with self-affirmations so I could value myself, and dag gum, I got healthy enough and married a wonderful fellow, and now am in a great relationship. I do credit this wonderful therapist for helping me learn to be 'nice!!' to myself, and I do believe that she really helped me learn to choose to be healthy.

I still think of her often and we keep in touch with Christmas cards. Boy, I must have gone to her on and off for 10 years!! Still every once in a while my husband and I will still schedule a session with her, to 'keep things on track', make sure we are communicating ok, etc. We love to go. It is fun, but sometimes it will seem a little uncomfortable, and a little awkward perhaps. Growth and change are hard, but looking back, boy oh boy, what would I have done without it!!!

Here's a funny analogy: It is like finally breaking down and getting someone to do the overgrown landscaping jungle in your yard or something... ya don't want to spend the $500, but when you see how clear and pretty everything looks after a professional did it... it sure was worth it!

So many people are afraid of going to see a counselor, think there's a stigma to it, but I'll tell you... for me it's like going to a guitar lesson, or an art workshop, or taking a class in philosophy or psychology, or even like going on a new adventure to a new town for the weekend!

I love learning. Although, I remember it was hard to look at myself and the sadness that was there sometimes. It also feels uncomfortable to 'change'.

Anyway, just wanted to share with you a little of my experiences. I found Carolyn in my 20s and 30s, and have even had a few sessions this decade (in my 40s)... I think I got lucky to have found such a nice lady and good for me, right off the bat.

Oh, there also might be some other group of folks, a group like AA or Al-anon or something like that that could be pretty helpful. Even if it's a group like Al-anon that isn't exactly a perfect match, those people are so nice, and that's free and they meet often. Trying to fix everything all by yourself (not that you're going to try that) is so very lonely!! I don't know... maybe Al-anon is a good group for you, if you had any alcoholics or that type of person in your family! (This also helped me in my 20s and 30s)!!

Let us know how you are doing!!!!!

Peace be with you!

Erin

erinj
04-15-2003, 10:48 PM
P.S. Shadow, I noticed your by-line... though I used to play electric guitar in a family band, I am WAY not up on the latest bands, so tell me, (us) about the band Shadows! I love the by-line in your signature.... a heartfelt poetic cry, like the psalmist David in the Bible.

Shadow, I bet your artwork is really GOOD!!!! and says A LOT!! Would you like to share some of it here for us!!?

Let me tell you that I have been in an artwork funk lately, (about 3 weeks, overwhelmed with other stuff, too much to draw!! :-( but thinking about you, writing to you, and then thinking more about how precious you are, and how precious your voice and thoughts are, and the soul and person you are, I will get out my pastels again and do a picture, a painting tonight, dedicated to you, and to the old me... and to the me who's been in a funk, and to the new me who WILL DRAW, and to others who seem to be in the grips of depression, (like my brother who suffers from OCDs and won't get help)... a picture dedicated to LIFE!!! and the happiness there is RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER!!!!!

God bless you Shadow!!!!
Thank you for inspiring me...
Hope to see your work soon!

Erin

calvo
04-17-2003, 06:31 AM
Please, Shadow, get some help NOW. You sound seriously depressed. I have seen many lives ruined by depression quickly turned around with adequate treatment. Waste no more time...do it NOW.

Calvo

LarrySeiler
04-17-2003, 11:14 AM
A bit of a disclaimer here....just remember that we are artists here Shadow. Not many of us here carry credentials that preface our names with MD, etc;

Our natures as artists are to be empathetic and understanding, and sometimes that is enough.

I was also a youth pastor for many many years...and some people think such a position simply organizes recreational fun events for youth, but really for near 20 years I counseled and advised parents, students...etc; I dealt with many situations and issues, many fine people.

There are many many reasons for things that we do not understand may even exist for ourselves....from body chemistry, environment, etc;

So...as people offer advice here...(and surely I don't want to knock any of it down), remember where we are coming from as a community of artists. WE care...and certainly that comes out, but we are not a professional agency and surely it ought to be emphasized that you would benefit from sure tested proven counseling at a professional level.

btw...I saw in your original post your reference to lyrics from some very good and fine friends of mine. Resurrection Band, or those that affectionately have followed their music for years, REZ.

My son, Jason...lives and works with members of this old band in the heart of Chicago...himself having played with a major band there and himself also a visual artist. He is married to the niece of Glenn and Wendy Kaiser whom are the vocalists of the band, Glenn being a fine guitar player too. Glenn is the neatest guy...and their songs written from the heart point to Another as well.

Take care....

Larry

Doogun
04-26-2003, 04:19 AM
Shadow,
Reading this thread has really bothered me and I feel that I need to talk about something that I rarely ever mention if you don't mind.
When I was 21 I was diagnosed with Leukemia and given 3 to 5 yrs. to live. I told the doctor who diagnosed me, a man with the personality of a stump, to hide and watch. Twenty one years later I entered the bone marrow transplant unit at Vanderbilt for a transplant. This was 1992. I thought that everything would be perfect after my recovery, but it wasn't. I experienced anxiety, depression, feelings of worthlessness, and just about anything else you can think of!!I'm now almost eleven years down stream and no signs of the Leukemia, however, now I have congestive heart failure as a result of the transplant.
I'm not telling you this to get anyone's sympathy. I'm telling you this to let you know that you cannot quit. You have to keep pushing and struggling and fighting. Life is to precious and you are to precious to just give up.
I find that I am at peace with myself most when I am creating!
We are with you all the way and we just are not going to let you quit!
With the utmost sencerity,
Larry ( Doogun )

Rosic
04-27-2003, 09:59 PM
Shadow,
As I have followed this thread I see there are many people here who genuinely care for you and your safety. Some excellent advice has been given and I want to add to it with this simple statement... "Life is Precious". Larry's story above is a testimony to that. Take comfort in knowing that life is precious, therefore you are precious and are worthy of all that life has to offer. Please read this letter I wrote a few years ago so you know just how precious you are. Click here: Blooms are a reminder of how precious life is... (http://www.waterbug.homestead.com/wisteria.html)
Rosic

boo
04-28-2003, 02:27 PM
Hi Shadow,

Hope you are feeling better, I don't really know what to say to help. I can vouch that it is hard trying to listen to those who say "snap out of it" or things like that.

I was diagnosed schizophrenic a few years ago and am on meds. They seem to be working ok.

I was also in hospital twice which gave me the chance of a rest somewhere away from the pressures of home.

The only thing you can do is to consider that meds (though expensive) would give you the chance of a way out of your depression

boo

angecald
04-29-2003, 01:24 AM
Hi, Shadow, I hope you're still reading this thread. I think about you and pray for you every day.

You've been getting lots of good advice here, and I don't know if I can add anything useful, but for what it's worth, my daughter has been on Zoloft for a year and it has made a huge difference to her. She was like you, cutting, and living in the darkness.

You may think, on reading through these posts, that some of us are such big promoters of medications that we must be getting a kickback or something, but it's just that when something works we really want to share that and not allow someone to suffer needlessly.

When my daughter started Zoloft she had so many side effects that I thought, "My God, she can't stay on this, it will kill her." Read the list of side effects, and you name it, she had it. But she stuck it out, and after a few weeks they subsided. It didn't start to change her mood for quite a while after that. The dosage had to be increased a couple of times. Then one day, she says, it was as if somebody turned on the lights.

Life never stops being a challenge - there's no medication that will make everything right. But there's a difference between a long uphill walk on two strong legs and a long uphill walk on two broken legs. Right now you've got broken legs, but they will mend and get strong again.

Although you call yourself Shadow of an Angel, I picture your strong wings wheeling in the sunlight, no shadows anywhere. You have a life force in you, a spirit of life, and it is reaching for the light while another force tries to bury you. But life is the stronger force and it will win.

I know that you want to live because you have reached out to us and to that jerk counsellor who should be tarred and feathered, and you will reach out again and finally find the help you need.

Choose life!

amo
05-01-2003, 12:29 AM
Shadow, are you still there?? I'm worried about you.

Listen, you're in Alberta- Alberta Med covers medical treatment for depression, at least the doctor's end of it. You can just go to your GP; if you don't want your family to find out why you're going, just use an excuse like a cold, or say you just have been feeling unwell and want to talk to the doctor. Or see a doctor in a walk-in clinic, if you don't want to go to your family doctor. He or she can point you in the right direction.

Also, about this:
I donít want my family or my teachers finding out that Iíve got a problem, butÖ I think Iím finally convinced that Iíve got a problem that might have a solution.
It does, Shadow, it does have a solution! And you know, I'd almost bet my bottom dollar that at least half your teachers have some really big problem, too, and lots of them are probably on antidepressants. Tons of people are (I have been, too). Just because you've got a problem doesn't mean you're not a really capable, great person.

Please, don't give up. We're praying for you!

JoyJoyJoy
05-28-2003, 01:49 PM
Shadow....

I hope you are feeling better (I write this on Wed, May 28.)

You are not alone. Many artists, such as myself, go through depressions... as well as other mental health concerns. Creative people seem to be much more sensitive to things, and prone to problems like this... I think it is normal for us.

Please TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Most of us have had to talk to several counselors and doctors before finding the one or ones that make us comfortable and really help us. There are good counselors/doctors and bad... as well as so many theories about what causes and helps depression... so, please try to be patient, and persistent. The help is out there!

What has helped me (I have the "labels" of major depression, bipolar, OCD, PTSD, blah, blah):

1. Depression is temporary. It will pass, eventually. Hold on. It is not your fault. It is not a fault at all, just the way we (many creative people) are naturally. To help it pass faster, you might try:

2. Medication. This is the first thing a doctor will offer, because that is what they know. The right medication can certainly take the edge off, and make it easier to move and think rationally. However, they have side effects that differ from person to person, med to med... and they are not a cure. So, think of meds as one of many things you might do for yourself.

3. Take care of yourself daily. I know that is very hard when you are in anguish or cannot get out of bed, but when you are in a depression, it is even more important to do the regular healthy things... like eating right, drinking water, sleeping, showering. Eating badly can bring on a vitamin deficiency... which has the some of the same symptoms as depression. Some people find eating, sleeping, and other daily things best done on a schedule while depressed.

4. Take vitamin and other supplements. Research has shown that people susceptable to depression often need more vitamins and other nutrients than other people.... and then, we tend to eat badly (if at all). I take a multi vitamin with minerals, the B complex (helps with stress and functioning during stress), and omega 3 fatty acids... which you can get as fish oil or flax seed tablets/capsules at any grocery or health food store. Omega 3 (and 6) has been proven, even in the most traditional psychological studies, as being very helpful for depressives and bipolars, on meds or not. Omega 3 is missing from the American diet... and found in fish oil (sardines, salmon) as well as flax seed oil (capsules, or the seeds). I get flax seeds in bulk, really cheap, at a health food store... and grind them in a coffee grinder, put them on my cereal. They have a nice, nutty taste.

5. Therapy. There are endless kinds of therapy. What helped me was "cognitive therapy," which taught me how to control those "down" thoughts... the ones that spiral into darker and darker thoughts, creating a deeper depression. Catch them early enough, and you can avoid... or get over faster... a depression.

6. List what you are grateful for. Ok... another thing hard to do, but well worth it. Get a friend to help. Write it down... whether it is food in your frig, or a sunny day, or that you managed to take a shower today. This helps me to see that all is not hopeless, no matter what my thoughts are telling me.

7. When you are feeling up to it, try to exercise a bit... even if just to walk down the neighborhood sidewalk and back. Any movement releases natural "feel good" chemicals (seratonin, dopamine)... the very chemicals that you are lacking when you are depressed. Force yourself, if you have to... to walk, to call or see friends, to get out of the house, to do the things that used to give you pleasure before the depression.

8. Find what makes you feel better... and do that whenever you are down or sliding down. It might be reading short, inspirational quotes (I collect the books to have handy). Perhaps prayer or reading the Bible, or other scripture. Playing music... your favorite, just chose uplifting or cheerful melodies. Maybe a hot bubble bath, turning on all the lights, putting on a favorite T-shirt, doing needlework or a craft, fingerpainting... whatever makes you feel a bit better.

Shadow... please have hope in the darkness. Many of us live good lives, even with depression and other health challenges. You can to... please seek help. When you can, get educated on depression and learn how to manage it... like diabetes, it is inherited, made worse by events in our life, and can often be managed with some combination of medication, lifestyle changes (vitamins, excercise, socializing, etc), and coping techniques learned in therapy. Don't let it scare you... you can get through this. Please hang on... get help. Please get that help immediately if you have suicidal thoughts or behaviors... call 911, or have a friend take you to the hospital.

You are too important, too precious to let this temporary thing conquer you.

You are in my prayers, Nance

erinj
05-28-2003, 04:03 PM
Hi Shadow,

I've been thinking about you too.

How are you doing today???

Hope your feeling ok today!

Erin

erik_satie_rolls
05-29-2003, 05:22 AM
Shadow I'm praying that you are in therapy. Here is the URL for the depression quiz mentioned earlier.

psychcentral.com/depquiz.htm (http://psychcentral.com/depquiz.htm)

God cares, we are a sign of that caring,


Dan

5thsister
05-29-2003, 09:39 AM
Shadow,

I echo everyone's thoughts and prayers. You are loved, not just by us and those close to you, but by God. Please trust the sage advice you have been given in this thread and seek help...it is there for you, but you must take that 1st step.

God bless,

Polly

Give thanks to the Lord who is good, whose love endures forever. Psalm 107 vs 1

mesasone
05-29-2003, 04:33 PM
I was once where you are shadow, and that wasnt so long ago. Perhaps just over a year, or so. Life was fruitless tasteless, pointless. I constantly thought of suicide, I cut my self, yadda yadda. It's a bad situation to be in. I finally found my way out through art...what it was about art, I may never know, but I found it to be of great theraputic value. However it has yet to help my ability to spell, but thats another subject.

I was too stupid to seek help, and for that I have paid. The scars I've created are haunting reminders of where I've been. Getting help is harder than it seems, but it is worth it. In retrospect, I am so utterly different it is hard to explain. To most people, I might just be talkitive, and less brooding, but the real difference is on the inside, and I value that more than anything else in the world.

Shadow of an Angel
06-17-2003, 08:57 PM
I've been off WC for a couple of months now and upon returning and reading all of your supporting messages really feel touched by how much ppl out there acctually care. I thankyou all for your kindess and concern and am happy, acctually happy to inform you all that I've started off on the path that I believe may lead to recovery.

Though I am not in therapy (which I looked into and can not afford in areas that are not only monetary but emotionaly as well), or on medication (which might be a good thing as it's taken me these last few months to get independant from the things that I had been taking to avoid what I was feeling anyways), I am making a concious effort to look for the good in things again. I realize now that my depression is and was in no small part self-willed. I'd thought that there was nothing left to hope for, nothing out there that would bring joy into my life, so I didn't go looking for it, and I closed my eyes to what was right in front of me because I believed that that was the way to true understanding of the way the world worked. My self-willed blindness led me to think that the world was a dark place. But I'm slowly begining to see again. There is yet light.

I've been in a sort of creative exile for a time here. No inspiration has come my way, and those that have I've shot down, thinking that I don't have the talent, ability or understanding to put the images that I've seen like flashes of lightning down on canvas/paper, thinking that they were too stupid, too ungenuine, too cliche, too... too painfully optimistic. But slowly, I'm begining to re-open myself to the creativity within me. Life can be beautiful. I want to tell the world this. But again, it will take time before I am able to bring myslef to try. Prehaps through taking up my pencils agian, taking up my brush, I will be able to come to a better understanding of this myself. I am not yet ready, I still have a hard time believing that what I see echoes and can become reality, and that the message will be recieved, but eventually I'm going to try.

Thankyou all. Though I am not yet inspired on my own you have lent it and your strength to me, and in reading these posts I begin to think that maybe there is hope.

Thankyou.
-Shadow

Rose Queen
06-17-2003, 09:02 PM
Glad to hear things are looking up for you!



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Cathy Morgan
06-17-2003, 10:43 PM
Shadow, you really are an inspiration. I am so moved by what you have written. Maybe you can see how you are giving hope to others. At any time someone terribly depressed may come across what's written here. You will have given them hope - and a trail to follow.

Please remember that the gap between the art seen in the mind and the art that comes out on the paper or canvas, exists for all of us. Maybe it's a way of keeping us moving, like a light shining ahead of us. It gives us something to move toward - a direction. You're not alone in feeling the pain of this gap - but it can have a beauty of its own.

Thanks so much for your courage in beginning this thread of messages - and for returning to tell us what you're doing. Your honesty means a lot, whether you're feeling good or awful. You're really special. Thanks.

Keith Russell
06-20-2003, 06:43 PM
Shadow:

Welcome back, glad things are at least going a little better for you.

From now on, don't stay away for so long!

(lol)

K

amo
06-20-2003, 11:58 PM
I'm so glad you're back and doing better!

:clap:

angecald
06-21-2003, 01:32 AM
Shadow, it's so great to hear from you! If you do feel like creating something, just do it, don't judge it. It's also okay to just enjoy the feel of the sun on your face.

mayelf
06-26-2003, 05:00 AM
Wow you people are so incredible!

I suffer greatly from depression as well and all of this has really started pushing me to really wanting help.

I've gone from real lows of suicide to where I am now which definetly isnt that bad.. just it effects every day life enough to where I know I need help.

I just wanted to let shadow know... i was where you were.. i looked for help in myself.. and still it never quite went away.. it is controlled.. so even tho you may have the power to help yourself on a mental level.. you need to realize and remember.. depression is a disease.. it isn't you..
i wish the best of luck to you.

Going back to what someone said a while ago.. about wishing you had a friend to take you to the doctor.. just reading what everyone was saying it really felt like anyone here would have grabbed your hand and helped you out instantly...

You all are incredible people.. It really has helped me at least to just stop worrying about getting help and just go do it..

thankyou