My History of Depression
The last few years have not been the best for me as far as my health has been concerned. In 2016 I was diagnosed with depression. It became clear that I had been depressed for a number of years. The diagnosis came after an operation that caused me some nasty moments. I had been feeling better at the start of this year and was in the process of reducing my medication with a view of stopping it all together. Then I suffered from a stroke (The story starts here). All in all not a good couple of years.
While I have been supported by most people through my depression, totally by friends and family to whom I owe more than I can repay, the same can not be said of all of my colleagues at work. One of the problems with depression is that it is not visible and is easy to forget , or overlook. Most people at work have shown an understanding that is wonderful. Some have asked me how I was feeling at regular intervals, and asked in a way that showed that they did actually want to know. Some shared that they have family members that were also sufferers of depression.
There have been others, though who have not been supportive.
Some people have called me miserable and bad tempered to each other, but not to my face. I have tried to ignore the comments. Such attitudes were the ones that I expected when I decided to be open about my mental health problems. Their attitudes remain hurtful though. I do have one message for those people and that is people with depression are down and sensitive a lot of the time. That is part and parcel of being depressed. The answer is not for someone to tell the person suffering to “man up” or for them to judge them for being withdrawn.
I reached the normal retirement age last year (I know, you would not think so to look at me. I get that a lot – in my dreams) but I decided to carry on. One of the main reasons was that I did not think that I could cope without the structure of having to get up to go to work in my life. Being at home, with nothing to do with depression is not a good recipe.
I was feeling better early this year, the depression was lifting and I was coming off the Sertraline. I decided to retire at the end of this year, telling my boss and a couple of friends at work. The aftermath of stroke became a sort of dry run at being retired! I had 10 weeks at home (I should have taken longer) in which I managed to organise a structure for myself. It was centred on walking into town every day and down to the river most days. As discussed previously the purpose was to get rid of my walking stick (ditch the stick!) and to get to the stage where I was able to walk in a straight line, and not fall over.
The down side of having a stroke (one of the many) is that depression is a common result. So it was for me. The anxiety, panic attacks and feeling of inadequacy all came rushing back. Despite that I decided to stick to my retirement plans. The problem of structure does not seem insurmountable anymore. My retirement structure may not be centred on walking, but that will be part of it. I expect that wood turning will be the main part of my structure, perhaps I really will learn to play the guitar – this time.
One thing is certain, the stroke did not win, neither will depression. Roll on the 19th of December, my last working day!!
More Information about Strokes and Depression