Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Perpetual Struggle

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) can provide rapid, significant improvements in severe symptoms of a number of mental health conditions. It may be an effective treatment in someone who is suicidal, for instance, or end an episode of severe mania. ECT is used to treat:
  • Severe depression, particularly when accompanied by detachment from reality (psychosis), a desire to commit suicide or refusal to eat.
  • Treatment-resistant depression, long-term depression that doesn't improve with medications or other treatments.
  • Schizophrenia, particularly when accompanied by psychosis, a desire to commit suicide or hurt someone else, or refusal to eat.
  • Severe mania, a state of intense euphoria, agitation or hyperactivity that occurs as part of bipolar disorder. Other signs of mania include impaired decision making, impulsive or risky behavior, substance abuse and psychosis.
  • Catatonia, characterized by lack of movement, fast or strange movements, lack of speech, and other symptoms. It's associated with schizophrenia and some other psychiatric disorders. In some cases, catatonia is caused by a medical illness.
Electroconvulsive therapy is sometimes used as a last-resort treatment for:
  • Treatment-resistant obsessive compulsive disorder, severe obsessive compulsive disorder that doesn't improve with medications or other treatments
  • Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, and certain other conditions that cause movement problems or seizures
  • Tourette syndrome that doesn't improve with medications or other treatments

I hate being lonely.  For the most part, I'm fine with being alone and doing things by myself.  Often, I prefer it that way.  But I've had this gnawing feeling of loneliness for at least the past week now, and I'm sick of it.  I think it has to do with my desire to get better, to feel better about myself, and to continue to build my self-esteem.  I'm not an overly social person - I'm an introverted extrovert, if there is such a thing.  I really don't mind being social and I have no problem making conversation with people I don't know, but given the choice to go to a party where there's a bunch of people I don't know and like two people I do know, and staying home, I'll choose staying home like 99% of the time.  I like to go out with groups of people that I do know, and if the balance is more towards people I know or have met at least once, and less random strangers, I'll even go.

I guess my confusion is that I'm almost always thinking about other people.  I think about my friends, and I wonder what they're up to, or who else they might be hanging out with.  The problem is that I think that the number of my friends is slowly decreasing but I don't know why.  I'm the kind of person that likes people to know that I'm thinking of them.  I like to send texts just saying hello, I like to mail cards saying thanks for being my friend, I like people to know that they're important to me.  I think I want them to know their importance in my life because I so deeply long to know my own importance in other people's lives.  Without a best friend, I'm finding myself feeling very lost.  Even though I often felt less than important to Former Bestie, I at least knew that I was a little bit important to her.  I got random cards and little gifts in the mail from her, and I'd occasionally have missed phone calls and she and I would be constantly messaging on facebook and writing things on each other's walls, but now I am missing all of that.  I've heard it two different ways on TV or in movies - that there are so many different ways for guys to not call you or that there are so many different ways to be rejected in this day and age.  But it's not just the loss of my best friend that is painful, it's that I've written about losing my best friend AD NAUSEUM and I've made everyone who I'd at least like to think cares about me aware of my loss, and I'm not getting any kind of sympathy.  If my best friend had died, I'd be getting phone calls and text messages and emails and all kinds of people expressing that they're sorry for my loss.  Is it different because I've made the choice to no longer be friends with her? 

Whenever I've been broken up with, I feel intense loss.  Loss of companionship, loss of friendship and support, and loss of acknowledgment.  Loss of acknowledgment is tricky - it's that the person is making a conscious choice not to be with you anymore, and in my opinion, that's worse than someone dying because at least when someone dies, you know that they didn't have a choice in the matter.  When someone chooses to eliminate you from their life, it's much more hurtful.

I'm lonely.  I feel as though no one cares about me, and that's hard to think about especially after making the decision not to keep Former Bestie in my life.  I don't get invited to go out, I don't get random "Hey, how are you?" text messages or phone calls from anyone.  I wonder if it's my fault, if I've done something wrong to warrant this seemingly complete lack of communication from anyone.  Of course, I'm exaggerating a little bit, but not much.

Part of having depression is this constant feeling of worthlessness.  I've been feeling a lot less worthless for awhile now, but coming to the realization that I have so few people in my life that care about me brings back the feeling that I've been fighting with for so long.  I don't know why I often feel so profoundly alone, but it's becoming bothersome.  I'm probably not giving myself the opportunities that I should be giving myself to go out and do things and meet people, but when I'm feeling like this, I just want people to gravitate towards me and make me feel some worth without having to ask for it.  And I don't know how to make that happen.

I also know that very few people read this blog.  It's not something I've not anticipated,  but I had hoped at this point that more people would be interested in reading about the ups and downs of both living with a major and chronic mental illness, but also about what it's like to live with others who also suffer from major and chronic mental illness.  I know that many of my friends were reading the blog just to stay caught up with the ridiculous drama that seems to follow me, but I also know that people who care should also stay caught up when there is no drama.

I don't think that many people understand what a big deal it is for me to have stuck with this project for this long already.  Depression renders even the most stoic people useless, and I've definitely had my share of days when I've felt pretty useless since I started the project, but I've stuck with it, and I'm officially one sixth of the way done.  I know a lot of people will be making New Years resolutions to try and keep themselves more accountable for their actions, but I also know that without much of an effort, many will give up pretty quickly.  And I'm talking about normal people who do not have depression or a batshit crazy family to fuck their lives up.  So for me to have continued to do this for 60-something days at this point is nothing short of fantastic.  I guess if I have nothing else, I can be very proud of myself for that.

*"Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT): Why It's Done -" Mayo Clinic Medical Information and Tools for Healthy Living - Web. 04 Dec. 2010. <>.

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