Loss of oneself and the forming of another

 

Friends, I’ve been sad about and angry at myself for quite some time.

By way of context, a little over four years ago I descended into deep Depression and Anxiety. I sought out another mental health doctor and therapist, because both of my prior docs had retired. My new mental health doctor transitioned me off of my old, non-working meds, and we experimented for a couple months to find the next drug cocktail that would help me.

I came out of the Depression. However, as readers of this blog may remember, it took several months of tinkering with augmentation drugs to bring me out of the depths of Anxiety. My meds — the ones I still take — as I said brought “me out of the depths,” but they did not bring me all the way out. I still deal with Anxiety somewhat regularly, once in awhile I get thrown into a panic attack, and on occasion my body gets ravaged by the Anxiety, resulting in some form of intense pain or another.

All this is just rehashing old content from this blog and providing me a chance to say: if that was all I had to deal with, I would find the state I’m in to be acceptable. I could use taking care of myself (e.g. exercise, meditation), brain tricks, and time to simply ride through the episodes of Anxiety, and then be done with it. I wouldn’t be happy with those anxious times — obviously — but I could live with it.

But what’s the hardest thing to accept is in going through that gut-wrenching experience four years ago — a period of time that spanned about three and a half months (it began in late March 2015 and lasted until the beginning of July of the same year) — I lost part of my prior self and in a few ways became someone completely different.

There are significant parts of who I was that I really, really liked. Now, they are gone. And there are new parts of myself now that I cannot stand.

Identity changes are not unique to mental health crashes. Some people go from not having kids to one day becoming a parent. High school students sometimes go to college. Others go from being married to divorced, or perhaps even widowed. Some people are faced with life-changing illnesses/diseases. The changes life throws at us sometimes alter our identities.

These changes happen throughout our lives — some good, some bad.

And some people transition to their new selves pretty easily. Others take some time. Still others struggle and just keep on struggling.

I don’t want to be that person who just keeps on struggling.

I lost parts of myself in the trauma of intense Depression and Anxiety, and I still find myself wishing I could return to parts of “the old me.” For this blog entry, I don’t want to talk/write about those parts of my old self. Nor do I want to — at this point — talk/write about the new traits that entered in my self.

I’ll just note, as I have before, I am a different person than I was before the trauma of 2015. On the whole, I like who I am less than who I was before. While I’ve attempted to accept things as they are, I’ve not been able to break on through to that other side.

My spouse helps me deal with times when I feel really low. She counsels me well. That said, I think a trip to my therapist is warranted.

I’m still sad about and angry at myself. But I am also prone to hope.

 

One Comment

  1. Tom S. 28 April 2019 at 7:12 am

    Hi Michael, yesterday I saw a warning in the news about the negative effects of too much screen time. They said the average adult spends 6 hours a day in front of a screen. My wife looked at me, like “see, I told you so.”

    I also know that sitting for hours on end is bad for me. I’m sitting now as I write this, and I really should be standing. Sitting is the new smoking.

    I’m sorry you’re sad and angry at yourself. I encourage you to see your therapist, sooner rather than later. Be as kind to yourself as your are to your best friend. “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us (in my case that’s often me). I don’t know why, but I have more trouble forgiving myself than I do others.

    Thanks, Michael, for your friendship. p.s. This morning I’m going to get out of my comfy chair and help someone move their belongings to a new apartment. The Broadmoor in Eden Prairie is closing and 200 families are having to leave. Not only will this be physical exercise, it will also be good for my mood. In my small way, I will have helped someone else. Our mutual friend, JHP is organizing this effort.

     

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