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Depression: The Bell Jar

Updated on January 9, 2017
Marsei profile image

I have lived in a suburb of New Orleans for 40 years. I work at home with my cat Lucy and my husband of 50 years, Joe.

What is depression? I know.

When Sylvia Plath wrote her enlightening book, The Bell Jar, she described depression in a way no other had before or since. My experience is that depression truly is the bell jar that steals the air from us, making it hard to breathe or function, much less laugh and enjoy life. Unlike Sylvia, I have survived my times of overwhelming gloom without succumbing to the oven. I'd have to find another path, anyway, as my oven hasn't been cleaned in months. My depression never got that bad, I suppose. It was always just a pall that blanketed my small universe; it came from nowhere and left just as quickly. I can remember as a preteen waking up and feeling an all-encompassing relief because it would be gone—poof!—until next time.

Growing Up Sad

When I was younger, I didn't quite understand exactly what was wrong with me. I remember hearing my mom tell people I was "nervous." The most frightening thing about it all for me was my powerlessness over the wretched thing. I can remember feeling uneasy when I was happy, running and playing with friends, because I wondered how long it would last. Other children were afraid of the boogey-man. I was afraid of the real boogey-man, who came sprinkling gloom and sadness and fatigue. As a child and a young teenager, I would use those dark times for reading and most often to escape to my room for naps. The periods of sadness and gloom were always accompanied by a dreary tiredness that no amount of sleep seemed to relieve.

In college, I learned a bit more about depression in my freshman psychology classes, although that was many years ago and there wasn't that much to learn. After I married and had children, the bouts with depression lessened because life was so full of children and activities. In my late 30s and early 40s, the plague, as I've often called it, was back with an intensity I'd never experienced and some days it was difficult just to make it out of bed. I remember so many mornings talking to myself about being positive and grateful for what I had, etc., then bursting into tears. So much for the power of positive thinking. The depression came and went over the years. Some years were better, some worse. It was never situational and just seemed to materialize out of the mist.

Reaching My Limit

In the spring of 2005, I became so very overcome with sadness and gloom, that I finally mentioned it to my primary-care physician. She merrily wrote me a prescription for 20 milligrams of the antidepressant Prozac. Within four days, life was good! In fact, it was too good. I was absolutely intoxicated on the drug. I loved my husband so much, my friends so much, hell, I loved the stainless steel. It was something a bit like being underwater, taking the SSRI. I wasn't certain I liked the feeling, but after years of struggling not to cry at the dinner table, get in my car and drive to the ends of the earth or sleep 20 hours a day, I was ready for any relief.

Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, Katrina came along in August of 2005. My husband and I were always very cavalier about hurricanes, had never evacuated for one. We often sat in our driveway in lawn chairs, drinking beer, surrounded by empty houses left by the evacuees, watching the weather come in, feeling smug and thinking about all those people fighting a parking lot of traffic on I-10. However, on that particular Sunday morning in August, Joe came in to wake me up at 8:30. His message was: They're saying this one may be a Category 4 or 5. Do you think maybe we should leave? Whatever. I didn't care. I felt fantastic! The Prozac was truly in my bloodstream by now and altering the workings of my brain, making me love everything and fear nothing, not even Hurricane Katrina. Bring her on!

Fleeing Katrina

We left to go to my husband's hunting camp in Arkansas. I don't remember the drive up except that we took two cars and all through the drive, I was smiling and humming and wondering if we'd be gone a day or two days and if we had enough clothes. When we got to the camp, I started to put my things away in one of the rickety chests. I wanted to check that the little pills were there to keep me smiling. Oops! I went through my makeup bag ten times. Double Oops. No pills. Oh, my God. OH, MY GOD.

By this time, we couldn't communicate with anyone in New Orleans and, as I later learned, my doctor's office was empty and would eventually be a total wreck, with windows blown out, water everywhere, etc. I realized I was going to have to withdraw from la-la land cold turkey. And I did. Actually, it wasn't so bad. I found myself coming down from the heights of ecstasy to being me again. And strangely enough, I liked it. I was able to think more clearly and make decisions objectively without that feeling that everything is going to be fine, which it very obviously was not. I was nervous for a few days after stopping the pills, but I don't know if it was caused by not taking them or all the other drama going on around me. One of my biggest focuses during that time was my fish, which hadn't been fed for almost nine days. I dreamed about them every night, could feel myself crumbling the flake fish food to feed them.

Heading Home

We returned home to New Orleans in nine days with a truck loaded down with gasoline and a generator. If we'd had a wreck, our truck would have exploded and I-55 would have lit up like New Year's Eve. The parish let us come back to check on our homes and when we found our neighbor had gotten the electricity turned on, we stayed. The stainless steel no longer glittered and shone and my husband got on my nerves in the worst way, just as I did his, I'm sure. I was cursing at the cats again, but I was myself, and I survived. Interesting enough, I was one of the few people in New Orleans who wasn't on an SSRI after Katrina. By the way, the fish were zipping around in about a half foot of filthy water that smelled like a swamp, but they were fine. It was very strange to be able to actually crumble their food and feed them.

Finding Help

After leaving the Prozac behind, I put up with the black spells until last year. After one particularly tough stretch, I came up with the bright idea that perhaps I should see a psychologist. Of course, it was always there, but I didn't like the idea. It was like giving in and saying I couldn't handle it any longer. I couldn't.

I went to see a female psychologist. I didn't like her at all and she didn't like me. I never went back. Her home in the Garden District was her office and the thermostat had to have been set on 80. I sat there and didn't say a word as sweat poured down my back. A few months later, I went to see a man close to where I live. I knew the moment I saw him that we would be friends and that I could talk to him. He had a head of Albert Einstein hair, was about 30 pounds overweight, very slow moving and talking, had a marvelous sense of humor and was just what I needed. Over a period of weeks and months, he let me talk my way in to being healthier mentally. I still see him occasionally, but just to visit and catch up. I still have spells when the plague catches up with me, but not as often or as intense as in the past. I talked to him about my family's history of emotional and mental problems, about my experience with Prozac, which he found totally hilarious, and about my life. Through those sessions, some of the threads of my thoughts about myself began to unravel and I realized that my problems were not going to be so hard to solve after all.

There are people who need to be on SSRIs and other medicines to regulate their moods. Thank God we have those medicines. Two years ago, my neighbor walked into his backyard and blew his brains out with his wife sitting in the den, watching television. Perhaps medicine would have stopped that waste of a good life. Those medicines serve a purpose and I heartily endorse their use for those who need them.

I am not ashamed of having been depressed and occasionally still being depressed. I think it's important that we talk about it. There is still such a stigma attached to it. I read and edit depositions and often the deponent is asked if they've ever seen a psychologist or a psychiatrist. Nice, huh? Now, just why do they want to know? For me, it's like having knees that don't quite meet when I put them together, just something a little different.

Living Life

At a party one night, a woman about my age remarked, when someone mentioned something about her daughter's struggle with depression, "We don't have that in my family." Her tone and manner implied it was something akin to rampant nymphomania. I said, "Well, we do in mine." The woman who had been discussing her daughter's problems smiled and I smiled back: Connection. The woman who doesn't have that in her family left the conversation. I hope I never see her again because I might hit her.

None of us has an easy life. Everyone battles something. We have health issues, children issues, parent issues, marital issues, financial issues, etc. In the back of our minds is the answer, just as seeing a psychologist was in the back of mine for years. Don't waste all the time I did. Do whatever you need to do to make your life happier and more complete. The psychologist and I laughed until we cried the last time I visited, remembering the darker days when I first started seeing him. It was a standing joke that he would ask me: How does that make you feel? I would sometimes say: Like s**t. I no longer feel that way. Things are not perfect, but I face whatever is coming for me at 66 years old with hope and a degree of optimism. I've come to realize that some people have diabetes, some have gout, some have panic attacks. I (only occasionally now) have depression.

As for the bell jar, I have not broken it. I don't believe I ever will, but although it hovers, it is much farther away than in years past. Some days, I forget it's there at all. For that, I am truly, truly grateful.

Postscript:

I wrote this article a few years ago. When I re-read it recently, I felt concerned because I sound a bit cavalier, in my opinion, about finally getting past those dark times. I need to stress that it was not easy and that it required constant diligence and watchfulness about what I thought, said, and even felt. For me, there were a few days that were so wretched and miserable—you know those days when you just can't cry, you don't care enough—those few days were the catalyst for my getting well. I literally could not stand myself. When I finally reached that point, I began the hard work of monitoring my thoughts, actions, what I watched on TV, music I listened to, what I wore, where I went, who I spoke to, etc., etc. If this article makes it sound like an easy process, it absolutely was not. I wanted desperately to simply wake up and feel happy to be alive. Now I am.

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    • Marsei profile image
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      Sue Pratt 3 years ago from New Orleans

      Leah,

      That's just about the greatest compliment you could give me because it's what I was hoping to achieve. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

      Marsei

    • litlcrig profile image

      litlcrig 3 years ago from Pekin, IL

      Marsei,

      That is a great article. I have had bouts of depression in my life and after reading this I understand more than I did before I read it.

      Thank you,

      Leah

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 4 years ago from New Orleans

      Thanks for your comments, James. Sounds like you are enjoying

      the freemason books!

      marsei

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 4 years ago from New Orleans

      Thank you for your comment, Mr. Mordor. So many of us have been there. I had no idea until I wrote this hub!

    • m0rd0r profile image

      Stoill Barzakov 4 years ago from Sofia, Bulgaria

      I am sorry to say "I've been there and done that".

      +1 for the revealing story!

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 4 years ago from New Orleans

      Dear Audrey,

      I have always read your work and the hub you're referring to is a powerful one that will help anyone who reads it. I had a friend from college who rode the same roller-coaster. She wasn't diagnosed until 58 . I feel if she'd gotten help, she would have made it but didn't. Thank you for your comments and for being brave enough to fight thru and contribute to helping others.

      marsei

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 4 years ago from New Orleans

      Thank you for your comments, Barbara Kay. Your doctor should be listening to you. Depression depletes quality of life just like physical illnesses do and should be treated, as they are.

      I enjoyed writing this hub. My wonderful psychologist reinforced the fact that thought patterns have much to do with our state of mind and monitoring them has helped stop the downward spiral from ever getting any momentum since I wrote this.

      Thanks for commenting. It sounds like you have a lot to deal with in life. I hope your challenges become easier.

      marsei

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 4 years ago from USA

      There are so many people that suffer from depression that I am surprised it still has a stigma. Especially since there isn't a soul in the world that hasn't suffered from it at one time or another.

      I can get this way when life just has too many problems. My family doctor doesn't seem to take me seriously though. I have a chronic illness that prevents me from living a normal life. Of course I'm going to get depressed. She just won't listen.

      Thanks for an interesting and helpful article.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 4 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Dear Marsei - Ah, yes, the heartbreak of depression. I wrote a hub about 'cyclothemia' (bi-polar) one evening and faced my fears by bringing it out in the open. I suffered with so much shame while living through this hell. But I also accomplished some of my best work during this long period of riding the roller coaster to hell.

      You're a magnificent writer and I can see how you won the hub nugget award. Congratulations. I love this hub and your story. You're a courageous and beautiful woman. Big votes and sharing! ~ Audrey

    • Marsei profile image
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      Sue Pratt 4 years ago from New Orleans

      Thank you so much for your comments. I'm so happy you were able to move past your dark times. I think they make us grow in all kinds of ways. If all you know if light, you don't appreciate it nearly as much, I don't think. Thank you taking time to comment.

      marsei

    • truebluewriter profile image

      Malds Menzon 4 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Very interesting hub. Thanks for sharing your story. I never had this kind of depression where it just comes for no reason and stays for life. It must have been really hard growing up like that.

      I've been through several very severe ones myself, one that almost made me give up on everything (which lasted for about half a year) but they were always attached to events which are just too sad to talk about lol.

      I remember it being months of just staying in my room and only getting up to eat. I just wanted to sleep through life rather than remember and live a normal life after everything that happened.

      I never came close to doing anything stupid though because I could never bear the thought of making my friends and family sad. So that kept me eating and showing up at gatherings from time to time. It also helped a lot that I wasn't alone in this. I lived in a condo then but for months I couldn't bear to sleep alone and had to hop from one friend to another's place.

      At some point I just realized that the world would keep turning without me and that I had to pull myself together otherwise it was going to leave me behind. So I did slowly and now I'm back to normal. I still get pangs of depression whenever I remember what happened but at least I can control it now.

      I never reached the point where I'd need medication though and I doubt I'd have admitted it if things became that bad. The whole social stigma of it all would've been too much for me lol.

      I totally agree with you when you said that we all have to live with something. And that the answer is just in the back of our mind lol. Very true.

      Anyway, awesome hub and I'm glad that you're doing ok and have learned how to manage depression :).

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 4 years ago from New Orleans

      Hi, Parachute.

      You're so welcome. I'm taking some meds (beta blockers after an episode of a-fib) that are making me a little down. Thank goodness I read the side effects and know that it's external. Hopefully, I'll get used to them! I'm so glad you're out of your hole and that perhaps my hub helped a bit. All I can say is that I believe we enjoy the good times more than those who don't have the bad ones. They are such a relief! for me, to just be happy again! Please write your story. Help someone else climb out.

      Thanks again.

      marsei

    • onegreenparachute profile image

      Carol 4 years ago from Greenwood, B.C., Canada

      I have just re-read your Hub and this is my second reply. I have recently crawled out of a deep, dark hole and I thank you again for your Hub. I'm going to try to write about my experiences while they are fresh. Now.....how do I work this keyboard?? Oh and thanks also to lorlie6 for the =^o^= I'm stealing it!! ;-)

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 4 years ago from New Orleans

      Thank you for your comments. For me, reading Plath's book made me realize I needed help. I couldn't get some of the images from her book out of my head for weeks after reading it. It's amazing how lost we can become without even realizing it.

      Thanks again,

      marsei

    • meloncauli profile image

      meloncauli 4 years ago from UK

      Great hub! It's amazing how many people actually relate to Sylvia Plath when they struggle with deep depression. She was somewhat of an enigma in many peoples' eyes, but through her writing, depressed people see something of themselves.

      A very interesting read.

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 4 years ago from New Orleans

      Denise, so glad you go it to work!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Marsei-the hub link from mine to yours has been set. :) It is showing up now on that hub.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Marsei-thanks for checking it out and for doing the link on this end. I sent an email to a fellow hubber to see if she can offer clarity before I 'alert' the staff that I've been 'alerted' hahaha crazy...

      Anyway, this is excellent and useful material, Marsei. Your story has pure gold in it-highly valued in the service to others. :)

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 4 years ago from New Orleans

      Denise,

      I linked them from here. It's a wonderful hub. I left some comments. There's nothing remotely inappropriate about it. Who knows what that's about. I would have teamhubpages take care of it. Thanks for letting me know about the hub. I enjoyed it a lot. It's always comforting to know others have been where you've been.

      marsei

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 4 years ago from New Orleans

      I seriously doubt anything is inappropriate. Let me read it real quickly. I'll let you know. I can link them from my end.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Well, sorry to tell you I couldn't add the link just now. When I went to do it there was an 'alert' that my depression hub ads have been disengaged. Somehow it was 'flagged' for inappropriate content??? Not sure what that is all about, but it does not seem to allow for me to connect yours as a link. I will be sure to do so when the matter clears. It is really puzzling and aggravating. Well, maybe when you read it you can give me any feedback about what may be 'inappropriate' ?

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 4 years ago from New Orleans

      Btrbell,

      Thank you so much for your comments. You're right, it is rampant. I hope the hub helps someone. I'm so glad to be past it -- or at least I think I am.

      Thanks again,

      marsei

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 4 years ago from New Orleans

      Denise,

      Please feel free. I always plan to do more linking and get sidetracked. You are such a positive influence on HP; I appreciate that. Thanks and I want to read your hub when I get done editing the ast deposition of the night!

      marsei

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 4 years ago from New Orleans

      Denise,

      Please feel free. I always plan to do more linking and get sidetracked. You are such a positive influence on HP; I appreciate that. Thanks and I want to read your hub when I get done editing the ast deposition of the night!

      marsei

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Marsei-I had forgotten about this wonderful hub until I saw it come up on my 'notifications'. I have recently shared my story about depression so, I hope you don't mind, I am planning to link this one with mine. Let me know if you don't want it linked and I will undo it then. Ciao and happy hubbing. :)

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      I love this hub! Thank you so much for sharing! Depression is pretty rampant and I am sure that no family is exempt! Thank you for sharing!

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 4 years ago from New Orleans

      Thank you so much. I think we all want to try to help others along their journey and I'm hoping this piece does that for someone. Your diagnosis doesn't surprise me. It seems like physicians are too eager to prescribe something without being sure it's needed or if it's the correct thing. There are a lot of us HSPs around. It's a mixed blessing!

      Thanks for finding me and reading my article.

      I agree with your niece; we love living here.

      marsei

    • Emanate Presence profile image

      Gary R. Smith 4 years ago from the Head to the Heart

      Marsei, you wrote an insightful response to my posted question about authenticity, and that led me here. The story you share about your life with depression is honestly and interestingly written. I was also given a prescription for Prozac, for a diagnosis of obsessive compulsive behavior disorder. What a mouthful. In later years I realized it was a mis-diagnosis, and the 'symptoms' were due to one aspect of my life, as an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person). One of my hubs is on that subject. My niece lives in New Orleans and loves it. Best to you.

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      Thank you so much for taking time to comment. I think it is just about my favorite hub because it got useful information to people. It's just so easy to think we're alone and the only person to ever go through hell!

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      Freezeframe,

      I thank you for your comments. Yes, depressed people are often told to "get ahold of themselves" or worse. I honestly believe very few people who have never been depressed can relate to depression. It's impossible to explain. I think they feel it's just a "bad mood."

      I'm glad I remind you of someone you admired, but I do not cook, Cajun or otherwise!!

      Thanks again for taking time.

      marsei

    • FreezeFrame34 profile image

      FreezeFrame34 5 years ago from Charleston SC

      Marsei, This is such a great hub! Depression is a true disease- I've been told by people who claim they love me, to "stop feeling sorry for myself", "to just get over it", to "stop making excuses" to "stop being so lazy and get up to cook and do the dishes". I've been yelled at to "snap out of it". People need to realize that their negative comments can contribute to negative feelings instead of making others feel better.

      I know a few people who fit all of the classic symptoms of mental illness, but they refuse to go see a doctor or get help.

      I teach special education and often I am helping everyone else deal with their issues and problems, but then I am left with mine....to deal with.....alone....

      You remind me of a wonderful woman I met years ago named Dee. She grew up in New Orleans; moved to Pennsylvania; now lives in South Carolina. She could cook one hell of a cajun meal!

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      Vespawoolf,

      Thank you so much for your comments. This is one of the hubs I am proudest of because I feel it has helped a few people. I think everyone has the feeling you should just "get a hold of yourself," which is what I've often had said to me. It's not that easy.

      Thanks you again for taking time to comment.

      marsei

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 5 years ago from Peru, South America

      This is a poignant hub and so honest. Depression and similar issues are common on my mother's side of the family. It's true, there is still a stigma attached to depression and other similar conditions. You can have heart problems and gain everyone's sympathy, but many people aren't sympathetic to the plight of the depressed. I agree that talk therapy is essential and not just popping pills (except for a chemical imbalance). I'm thrilled you found a great therapist and survive Katrina...two amazing accomplishments!

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      Thank you for your comments. I think that's what we get from writing, giving a little bit of understanding. Thank you for sharing.

      marsei

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 5 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Thanks for sharing your experience with depression. I think it gave me a little bit of understanding. I shared.

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      Saday,

      Thank you so much for taking time to comment. It means a lot when someone praises your work.

      Thank you again. This one meant a lot to me.

      marsei

    • saday profile image

      saday 5 years ago from India

      What a post about Depression, Superb. Thanks a lot for this hub Marsei. Useful and voted up.

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      Kariannr,

      Thank you for your comments. You are right that there is still a stigma attached to any sort of mental illness. I hope we get past that soon. Thank you for

      reading and taking time to comment.

      marsei

    • kariannr profile image

      kariannr 5 years ago from Ogden, Utah

      Grateful for someone who can so bravely tackle this topic. Unfortunately, mental illness is still very much taboo. It's hard to understand if you've never experienced it or closely known someone who has experienced it.

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      Hi, Beata.

      Thanks so much for your comments. I enoyed writing

      this one.

      marsei

    • Beata Stasak profile image

      Beata Stasak 5 years ago from Western Australia

      Beautifully and honestly written, thank you for sharing:)

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      Catgypsy,

      Thanks for your comments. I am glad you alk about anxiety in the same way. Between the two of us, I'm hoping we reach a lot of people. I think the worst of it is over for me -- I'm knocking on wood as I speak. Thank you again for commenting. I'm going to read one of your hubs now as I haven't done my usual "hub hopping" in a while.

      marsei

    • catgypsy profile image

      catgypsy 5 years ago from the South

      Marsei, wonderful hub! I suffer from anxiety and write about it in the same way...something that we need to understand and talk about...not be ashamed of and kept hidden. I'm so glad you have found a glimmer of light in the way you handle it. Very well written and such an inspiration for people suffering from this.

    • Marsei profile image
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      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      Thanks, Laurel. It's been fun.

    • Marsei profile image
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      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      Donna,

      Thank you for your comments. I do think it's good that we realize we're not alone. I used to feel it was a stigma of some sort and have come to realize it's just like any other illness. I think talking to someone is a huge part of getting well and it's wonderful that you did that.

      Thanks again.

      marsei

    • Donna Stebbins profile image

      Donna Stebbins 5 years ago from New England

      Thank you Marsei for being so honest and talking about this subject. As many people's comments reflect, depression is something many of us deal with. I have had bouts since I was a child and still get them now. I don't talk about it much although I have talked to someone and that really did help. I also tried medication but found I did not need it either. I appreciate your article and thank you for not being afraid to talk about it.

      Donna :)

    • Marsei profile image
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      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      Thank you, CrabbyKris!

      I think you're right, most of us do.

      marsei

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      Onegreenparachute,

      Thank you for your comments. Sometimes I think humor is what gets us by in the mucky times. I explored your profile and find we both have an interest in the paranormal. I find most people who have suffered with depression do for some reason.

      Thank you again.

      I loved your story, by the way, "A Prayer Answered."

      marsei

    • crabbykris profile image

      crabbykris 5 years ago from Fort Pierce

      Thank you for this article. I think most people deal with some sort of depression at one time or another in their life. It helps to know you're not alone.

    • onegreenparachute profile image

      Carol 5 years ago from Greenwood, B.C., Canada

      I loved this Hub! You have a terrific sense of humour and write very well in my humble opinion. I too suffer from depression. I kinda wish my SNRI would make my stainless steel sparkle but what the heck - I'm still here, kicking and screaming all the way. Thanks Marsei!

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      Hendrika,

      Thank you for your comments on my hub. I think bringing depression and bipolar disorder into the light is such an important thing. We need to make parents aware to the point that they will know when there is a problem and get the child help.

      I had a dear friend who is no longer alive who also spent long stretches of time hospitalized. She, too, had a wonderful husband who kept the home fires burning, so to speak. I think the most important thing we can do is forgive ourselves for our bad decisions and realize we were under the influence of the plague, as I've come to call it. We have done the very best we could with the awareness we had, which in my case, was limited until the last few years.

      Thank you again.

      marsei

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      Natalie,

      After readying your comments and noticing your profile name, I stopped to read your hub on depression. You have been there and done that and have shared so much of yourself in that hub. It is written well and I was touched to learn that your father was helpful to you. Your remarks may cause someone else to turn to a parent.

      When I finish this comment, I am going to link your hub to mine.

      Thank you for your comments on my hub. I operated a school for a long time and saw several young women who were obviously struggling with depression and trying to understand what was wrong. With the help of my staff, we helped some of them. We lost one young woman in the saddest way, and here's hoping something one of us says stops something like that ever happening to another young person.

      Thank you again for your comments.

      marsei

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      Hendrika 5 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      I think this is a very important hub. So many people have no idea what depression and bipolar are all about. Like you my childhood would have been better if I was diagnosed with bipolar as a child.

      Unfortunately that was not something anyone thought about at that stage, I simply though myself very lazy! The laziest person on earth! I saw my friends handling life and could not understand why I could not cope.

      The whole course of my life would have been better if I had any insight into what was happening to me. I made many very seriously bad decisions not only impacting me but rest of my family as well. What is more my children had to grow up with a mother continually in hospital. Fortunately I have a very good husband and he managed to keep things more or less under control otherwise I do not know what would have happened.

      Thanks for showing all of us that there are people who do understand.

    • help4Depression profile image

      help4Depression 5 years ago

      Wow,you are an amazing writer! You brought me right into the story. Thank you so much for sharing your personal experiences and triumphs. I believe it is so important to share (with others) what we learn through our trials. This helps so many others struggling with Depression. Thank you for your courage and honesty.

    • Marsei profile image
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      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      Windclimber,

      Thank you for your comments. And you "get it." I can tell when you say that depressed people are optimistic and it doesn't show. I have almost left those days behind, but the times when getting out of bed was a challenge required a lot of affirmations and positive thinking.

      Thank you for your comments and for recommending the book, which I plan to read.

      marsei

    • Windclimber profile image

      Windclimber 5 years ago from my boat somewhere on the Chesapeake Bay

      Good job, Marsei! And USEFUL - there are so many people who think depression is merely a bad attitude. (The ironic thing there is that clinically depressed people who are fighting their depression are - of necessity - often more optimistic and positive thinking than the general population; it just doesn't show because they have to struggle and climb their way up to "even ground.")

      So, thank you for writing this hub!

      And a note for all of your readers who are at the point where they're thinking, "Y'know, this sounds a lot like me and my life . . ." Check out Dr. Burn's "Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy." It is an EXCELLENT book detailing how our thinking patterns influence our moods. (I have no problem with taking medicine (anti-depressants can truly be life-changing), but no medicine will "fix" life. I get P.O.'d every time I see that drug commercial where the woman says, ". . . but some days I just couldn't shake my depression." Well, duh. Trust me: this book is helpful.

    • Marsei profile image
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      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      Astradeva,

      Thanks for your comments. I am glad that I have been able to become healthy without anti-depressants, although I think using them caused me to realize I needed to get other help. I know that for some people, they are necessary; I just don't believe my depression has ever been quite severe enough to need them long term.

      I often think about some of my family members and how they would have benefited from SSRIs. Thank you for your comments again. Writing the story was therapy of a sort, you are right there.

      marsei

    • Marsei profile image
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      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      Thanks so much for your words. You look very young in your profile photo, and I can assure you it gets better with time and effort. Although I don't think everyone would agree with me, I believe depression brings gifts in its own way. I know that it has caused me to appreciate the simple act of waking up "okay" and looking forward to the day in a way those without the eperience of that darkness will ever know.

      Thanks you again for comments.

      marsei

    • profile image

      Astradeva 5 years ago

      I was moved deeply by your childhood depressions, it is interesting to follow the way you addessed your condition, drugs are not always the answer they just cover up the condition, but give you a breathing space to adjust, use it wisely, look at what you are eating, cut out all refined foods. B vitamins, (read Adele Davis) help enormously with depression, try torular yeast, if you take one B vitamin you must take them all or you will over time create a worse condition, try a Herbalist, they work wonders with depression and associated conditions, my own Daughter suffers from S.A.D. stay in control, if you like writing, write your life story, it was very moving.

    • Marsei profile image
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      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      Thanks, Denise.

      Marsei

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      supalumbo40 5 years ago from Louisana

      How very reassuring that there is someone that admits to having a problem and sounds "normal" anyway. Depression is on both sides of my family. I often find it difficult to deal with and talk about. Your words are comforting and encouraging.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Congratulations on your hubnugget award. :)

    • Marsei profile image
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      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      Oh, definitely. I was truly in love with life!

      I think the dosage was too high for me. Medicines frequently are too strong for me. I think you're right, that we all have different body chemistries and reactions. I do know people who have been helped tremendously by SSRIs. I think they serve a purpose, just were too much for me!

      Thanks for your comments.

      marsei

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      Bailey-1 5 years ago from Ohio

      Your experience with Prozac was enlightening. It goes to show how we all have such different body chemistry and reactions to drugs. I was beginning to think ALL SSRI's, and SNRI's were a huge hoax, but they seem to work for some people. In your case they worked too well.

    • Marsei profile image
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      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      I was struck by your comments about New York because one of the things I've noticed when visiting there is the "subway stare." People seem to have detached and focused, as you said, on their worries. I do agree with you about controlling worry also. I read a funny thing somewhere not long ago. A man said: Worry works. None of the things I worry about ever happens! Thank you for taking time to comment.

      marsei

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      Deninson Mota 5 years ago from East Elmhurst, NY

      @Marsei

      That's true... Everybody battles against something. I live in NEW YORK and I can attest that a high percent of people here suffer depression. You just have to jump in the train and you'll see it right away. People focused and give to much attention to worries and we forget about the good things. I tell my mom, not to worry when something goes wrong. You solve nothing worrying about a thing. Just face the situation and look for solutions, but worrying won't fix anything. Of course we're human and we have the right to worry when some wrong happen, but we have to be able to control that and life goes on.

    • Marsei profile image
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      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      No meds. The only thing I take every day is for acid reflux! I haven't seen the doc in six months, but it's good knowing he's there. He makes me laugh and put things in perspective.

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 5 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      I've forgotten, do you take meds? I do, but my therapist moved to Utah. My actual shrink lives around 40 miles away, so I don't see him often, though I like him lots.

      I probably should find another therapist...

      Bye,

      Laurel

    • Marsei profile image
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      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      I hope mine is done also. I'm not as afraid of it as I used to be since I have the doctor who helps.

      Hopefully we're both through with it.

      marsei

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 5 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Clinical depression is such, such the pits, isn't it?

      That photo of you up there shows depression perfectly. I've been there, too, and with meds, hope never to go there again!!

      Love,

      Laurel

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      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      Pamela,

      Thank you so much for your comments. That is what I'm hoping to do, reach others. It's a lonely place to be. Thank you for taking time to comment.

      marsei

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 5 years ago from United States

      Depression is a difficult thing to live with and I think it is great that you shared your personal story, as it helps everyone understand depression a little bit better. Congratulations on your nomination. Very good hub, voted up.

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 5 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      I don't actually know, Marsei-maybe such information is in the faq's or the blog or something...I just emailed the team-we'll see what they have to say!

      Bye, hon,

      Laurel

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      We have mutual admiration! I don't really know the significance of it. Who choses the candidates, do you know? I'm new to all of it.

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 5 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      HUBNUGGET MARSEI, you're the sh*t!

      I think I luv you!

      L

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      Thank you. The nomination brought about an interesting happening. I asked my friends to vote, they read the article and I learned almost half of them have been through the same thing and we'd never discussed it. Some of them are friends from college. Shows how well we really know each other, I guess.

      Thanks again,

      marsei

    • Marsei profile image
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      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      The psychologist I saw for a while did talk about that. He thought the dose (20 milligrams) was just too high for what was going on with me. I have been all right for a considerable length of time now, but if I ever get in trouble again, I will remember this and definitely bring it to someone's attention before I pop something in my mouth. Thank you so much for taking time to write about this.

      marsei

    • Marsei profile image
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      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      Hi, Laurel.

      Thank you! What you wrote is wonderful and I would like to do the same and will when I get some family obligations out of the way today. Thank you for thinking of me in such a neat way.

      marsei

    • Marsei profile image
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      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      Thank you for saying that. It is truly appreciated. Knowing that my writing will help someone is why I started this writing project to begin with.

      Thank you again.

      marsei

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 5 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      YES! YES!! My marsei has hit the big time!!! I am so proud of her, ripplemaker, I'm about to explode! She's one up and coming Hubber, that's for sure!

      Marsei, do come visit my profile page and let me know if what I've written is okay with you. Yes?

      Laurel

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Depression can be such a tough thing to face and reading your hub and your personal experiences made me relate to the moments I too have felt the same way. Yes I know that your hub will be of help to someone, many that will come across your hub! Blessings...

      Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination! Read and vote this way https://hubpages.com/community/Categorically-HubNu...

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 5 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      SSRI's can cause that elation when one has bipolar. Has any mental health professional every talked with you about it? The anti-depressant for the bipolar person can trigger a manic episode. Just a suggestion. It's worth the research. Thanks for sharing your story. Very well written.

    • livingpah2004 profile image

      Milli 5 years ago from USA

      Welcome to Hub Page. Excellent article. Voted up!

      Congratulations on your Hub Nugget nomination. Good luck!

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      Thank you, Denise.

      I enjoyed writing that particular hub because I could look back with confidence that the worst of it was over. I'm hoping that reading about my experience will cause others to take some action, which is the hardest thing to do when you are depressed. I remember a friend of mine in college coming and getting in bed with me one morning at 2:00 o'clock. I asked her what was wrong and she said she woke up and thought she was a clock and was going tick tock. It struck me as hilariously funny and we both laughed until we cried. Her bipolar disorder finally won the battle and she has left us, but yes, sometimes laughter is all we have.

      Thank you again for your comments. They are much appreciated. I can see that you did truly "get it."

      marsei

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Marsei-welcome to hubpages and congrats on the hub nugget nomination. You can update the psychologist on the usefulness of depression in unforeseen ways! I would venture to say that one of the things that may have sustained you throughout these bouts of 'plague', as you have dubbed it, is your wonderful sense of humor. 'dirty oven'...'stainless steel'... LOL I get it, really I do-sometimes laughter is all we have left because if we didn't laugh we'd cry.

      Wonderful hub and very useful. I'm glad to have read that you finally saw someone and did not 'settle' for the first person you met. Many people go on and on and don't click with a therapist or worse-they leave and never seek another when it may 'save' their life; poor neighbor next door!

      How difficult it must have been to deal with this level of depression at such a young age without any treatment or intervention. It really does change a childhood when one is constantly wondering 'how long' the happiness will last.

      I'm happy you've weathered more than the storm of Katrina. Good for you! Good luck in the contest. Rated up and interesting/useful.

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      Thank you so much for your comments. I think it's the only way we can learn, from each other. I went through a time where I kept everything in. It doesn't work for me.

      Thank you again.

      marsei

    • r jayanthi profile image

      r jayanthi 5 years ago from india

      Wow marsei,

      That was a powerful hub. I loved it.It was right from your heart and I am sure it has touched every readers heart.thank you for sharing yourself .

      jayanthi

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 5 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Will do, marsei-I'm working on my 2nd part to the surgical complications...at the moment. I'd say around 3 months until I finish writing my already titled and started before I get to the "divine" Hubs.

      Enjoy the lovely day, M, and kiss that feral cat for me-HAHA!!!

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      Good! I'm working outdoors today in my back yard. Feral cat who lives back here is peeking at me from behind the yuccas. Good weather, good day.

      Let me know if and when you want to start the project with the "divine" hubs.

      m

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 5 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Hi again!

      Nothing more to say, but

      I'm doin' great today...

      You?

      =^O^=

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      Thank you for your kind words. It was cathartic, writing this, and I'm hoping made someone in that dark place realize there are a lot of us who visit it.

      Thank you againn for taking time to comment.

      marsei

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 5 years ago from San Francisco

      What a wonderfully illuminating Hub. You've given readers like me tremendous insight into how depression manifests itself, from childhood through adulthood. Thank you for sharing something so personal.

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      Thanks for your kind words.

      marsei

    • anndavis25 profile image

      anndavis25 5 years ago from Clearwater, Fl.

      Marsei, you are a riot! And you are a writer! Where did you learn to write like this?

      Love it and passing it on. AD

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 5 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      GAWD, that sounds, well, terribly tedious...sorry, gal. I'll send you the link to the next installment asap. Okay? Have a ball with the deposition, Marsei!

      L

      =^O^=

      PS: link to the 1st one is: https://hubpages.com/health/Surgical-Complications...

    • Marsei profile image
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      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      I thought I had read them all, but perhaps not. Send me a link to the latest, if you will. I need something inspirational to read. I'm editing the most boring deposition ever taken!

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 5 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      My health is fabulous now, Marsei! I actually had a total hip replacement March 14, then got the stomach-actual-flu! Now THAT was nasty, but all of it's been pretty much that way.

      Have you read my latest hub? I'm writing the new one (Pt.2) right now.

      What's RA? Rheumatoid Arthritis? No, not yet!?!? I have 'degenerative' arthritis-a condition I inherited from my loving family. That's why my age is so odd in this case.

      =^o^=

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      Laurel,

      Is your health improving? I think I remember you saying you had a knee replacement. Do you have RA? You seem too young for that.

      Masei

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 5 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Ahh, good!

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      I just sent it through your profile page.