Monday, October 10, 2011

Surmounting Clinical Depression

It is estimated that one in 8 persons is dealing with some from of clinical depression. Clinical depression manifests itself in various forms within individuals, thus there is no common outward signs such as in chicken pox or measles. The most difficult aspect of clinical depression is that many individuals are not aware that they have it.

I do.

Like everyone else, I have that unique gene that triggers depression. One can go through life without having that gene turn on or it can turn on later in life for various reasons. Who knows - maybe my gene kicked in many years ago, but during the 70's who knew the difference between clinical depression and a contact high.

Five years ago, the gene that controls clinical depression was jump started after my heart surgery. I am told that the trauma the human body undergoes during this type of surgery typically alters the chemical balance of the patient and leave them prone to post surgical depression - and nobody knows how long this lasts for.

For those who do not understand the realities of clinical depression - just watch the television ads addressing clinical depression, for as these ads states, DEPRESSION HURTS both physically and mentally. And like millions of others, I found other excuses for many of the periods of my depression.

This past August, I realized that, despite the medication being prescribed, my depression was seriously impeding my daily functioning and I elected to take a leave of absence from my schedule. During this time I had the opportunity to work with a team of counselors and others dealing with depression and "burn-out" issues to regain my footing. This program I participated was no "club med." Many aspects of my 7+ week program made a Marine Corps boot-camp seem like a surfing party in Hawaii.

And now, I am prepared to resume my full schedule this week.

My return to my full schedule is not a statement of victory over clinical depression, but it a proclamation of my being better able to cope with it and to kick it in the ass when necessary.

I have to confess my personal culpability in what contributed to this recent siege.

I am a non-confrontation person. I too often permit myself to be a doormat to dysfunction personalities letting frustrations to build and build in the most unhealthy of ways. I accept the Gospel teaching of the turning of cheek and dusting off of one's sandals, but some days I am not wearing my Birkenstock and some days I forget to pack an extra set of cheeks in my briefcase.

Since the Gospels have taught us about Jesus getting pissed off and causing a bit of a raucous in the Temple, sometimes we have to, in all charity, tell some people to piss off. As the director of our program always said, "If Jesus can get pissed off, God will understand when you do."

Here's to the dawn of a new day.

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