Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Practiced Voice

I've been stressed lately.  Lots going on at work, called into and serving Jury Duty, girlfriend doing grad school, and... well a lot of artificial stress.  Resulting in migraines and illness and whatnot.  Just a personal update before the meat of things.  Since it's been a while.

The space game has been cancelled due to one of the players in our skeleton crew getting fired in unfortunate circumstances.  My live group played for the first time in forever, but as usual new game new characters new premise...  It gets a bit repetitive.  Maybe I should insist on continuing something next time.  My Google Hangouts group IS doing a long arc game.  I say long arc as I know it will end and we'll end up starting over again.  I haven't done nearly enough work on any personal projects, what with the new employees at work and everything combined with my reaching another low point in my ever roller coastering mood, I haven't had the energy.

I still have ideas, ideas I could execute and some which I think would actually make it easier and quicker to prototype.  But that's neither here nor there right now.  Right now this post is about something else.

Lately I have been thinking about when I sought professional help for depression.  I've done it twice in my life and both times left me feeling... Well not better, that's for sure.  Right now I feel like I'm functional, I know my mood rises and falls like the tides (on longer cycles I think), but in some exceptional cases, I just felt so down I never thought I'd rise out again.  That nothing was going to get better, there was nothing *I* could do.  Not how I am.  So I went out into the world for help.  For real solid help on what I was missing what I needed to know and understand to control and improve myself, to keep myself from being in this place in the future and drag myself out of the deep hopeless...  I would say pit, but imagine it more like being at the center of a great hollowed out planet.  A pit you could walk around the bottom, or grab onto the sides and climb.  In the hollowed out hole, there is nothing... nothing you can do.  Nothing to grab, no down or up or even if you could wrap your head around the center BEING down and everything else being up, it would be admitting that THIS was it, the lowest you would ever be and there was NO escape, no easy direction.

So with this feeling I went to a professional.  I went to a location where they said, "Come here for help."  Help is an interesting word.  I wonder if those people knew what it meant.  Or if perhaps my impression of help is too high a bar for a professional to meet.  The first time I did this, was after breaking up with my first girlfriend.  I have a hard time with transitions, between jobs, between schools, between homes.  They always set me into a bad mood.  It's not something active, I just get angry.  When I graduated from High School, the person who walked next to me was very upset I ruined her graduation pictures with my foul frown.  But such is me.

Anyhow, so I went to the college health center, following up on all the recommendations that freshmen are given (I was a sophomore, but it's irrelevant really) They plopped me in front of some faceless person who listened to me say two sentences then passed me a trial bottle of anti-depressants and told me to see if they help before shooing me out.

What do you do with that?  Isn't the first step to helping listening?  Isn't it asking questions and honestly wanting answers?  Isn't it finding the root of the problem and helping to solve that?

This wasn't really what got a rock in my craw recently and made me want to write though.  It was a doctor I spoke to recently about my migraines that got me itching to post.  To post about another occurrence over a year ago when I visited a doctor about depression.

After another event that drove me to pretty extreme emotions, I visited my Kaiser medical facility following up on a specific section covering depression.  This time I came a bit more prepared (I'd since learned that just shutting up and listening is apparently a terrible idea if you really want to get anywhere in life), and went in being more specific and talking clearly and elaborating with the doctor.  He nodded, and looked right through me.  Not at me, but in the direction of my face with vacant eyes.  He reached into a drawer grabbed a pamphlet from the top and handed it to me.  And then began to talk to me in a slow, methodical and altered tone.  At the time I thought it was a patronizing tone, but after my recent encounter I can only conclude, it was supposed to be a sympathetic (or empathetic, there is a difference) voice.  But all his physicality, the falseness of the whole thing was like a slap in the face.

Since then, I don't know if I could go back to that kind of professional for help with depression again.  I think I'd rather pay someone to chain me up in a dark room and feed me through a straw for a few months until I missed my old life desperately enough that the depression had all but left me.

No, it's experiences like this that taught me that structured society has no place for people with issues like me.  People with issues that don't just disappear with a pill.  Or at least people who refuse to use that as the perpetual treatment of symptom.  Me, I can cope.  I have friends and family who will help me when I'm down.  I don't even need to say depressed, I can just go to them and talk or whatever.  But what about the people who can't even do that?  After the doctors spit in their face a few times and they realize they are truly and hopelessly alone, where does that leave them?

I'm not surprised there's so many people out there who can't take it and fold.  I'd rather talk to someone who doesn't know what to do but listens than listen to that damn practiced voice.

Anyhoo, sorry to be a downer, I just had to get that out.