Since I am writing a book about depression, I am often asked in social situations to describe my own experiences, and I usually end by saying that I am on medication. 'Still?' people ask. 'But you seem fine!' To which I invariably reply that I seem fine because I am fine, and that I am fine in part because of medication. 'So how long do you expect to go on taking this stuff?' people ask. When I say that I will be on medication indefinitely, people who have dealt calmly and sympathetically with the news of suicide attempts, catatonia, missed years of work, significant loss of body weight, and so on stare at me with alarm. 'But it's really bad to be on medicine that way, ' they say. 'Surely now you are strong enough to be able to phase out some of these drugs!' If you say to them that this is like phasing the carburetor out of your car or the buttresses out of Notre Dame, they laugh. 'So maybe you'll stay on a really low maintenance dose?' They ask. You explain that the level of medication you take was chosen because it normalizes the systems that can go haywire, and that a low dose of medication would be like removing half of your carburetor. You add that you have experienced almost no side effects from the medication you are taking, and that there is no evidence of negative effects of long-term medication. You say that you really don't want to get sick again. But wellness is still, in this area, associated not with achieving control of your problem, but with discontinuation of medication. 'Well, I sure hope you get off it sometime soon, ' they say.
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APAAndrew Solomon Quotes. (n.d.). Jar of Quotes. Retrieved , from JarofQuotes.com Web site: https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=since-i-am-writing-book-about-depression-i-am-often-asked-in-social-situations-to-describe-my-own-experiences-i-usually-end-by-saying-that-i-am-on-medication-still-people-ask-but
ChicagoAndrew Solomon Quotes. Jar of Quotes, 2019. https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=since-i-am-writing-book-about-depression-i-am-often-asked-in-social-situations-to-describe-my-own-experiences-i-usually-end-by-saying-that-i-am-on-medication-still-people-ask-but, accessed .
MLA"Andrew Solomon Quotes." Jar of Quotes, 2019. . https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=since-i-am-writing-book-about-depression-i-am-often-asked-in-social-situations-to-describe-my-own-experiences-i-usually-end-by-saying-that-i-am-on-medication-still-people-ask-but
I felt a funeral in my brain, and mourners to and fro kept treading, treading till I felt that sense was breaking through. And when they all were seated, a service, like a drum, kept beating, beating, till I felt my mind was going numb. And then I heard them lift a box and creak across my soul with those same boots of lead again, then space began to toll, as if the heavens were a bell and being were an ear, and I, and silence, some strange race wrecked, solitary, here. Just then, a plank in reason broke, and I fell down and down and hit a world at every plunge, and finished knowing then.
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I met people on college campuses who were defining themselves as genderqueer to express revolutionary feelings, or to communicate their individuality; they were gender fluid without being gender dysphoric. This phenomenon may be culturally significant, but it has only a little bit in common with the people who feel they can have no authentic self in their birth gender.
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Sometimes, people end up thankful for what they mourned. You cannot achieve this state by seeking tragedy, but you can keep yourself open more to sorrow's richness than to unmediated despair. Tragedies with happy endings may be sentimental tripe, or they may be the true meaning of love.
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The most important thing to remember about depression is this: you do not get the time back. It is not tacked on at the end of your life to make up for the disaster years. Whatever time is eaten by a depression is gone forever. The minutes that are ticking by as you experience the illness are minutes you will not know again.
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Listen to the people who love you. Believe that they are worth living for even when you don't believe it. Seek out the memories depression takes away and project them into the future. Be brave; be strong; take your pills. Exercise because it's good for you even if every step weighs a thousand pounds. Eat when food itself disgusts you. Reason with yourself when you have lost your reason.
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The passion for such children contains no ego motive of anticipated reciprocity; one is choosing against, in the poet Richard Wilbur's phrase, 'loving things for reasons'. You find beauty and hope in the existence, rather than the achievements, of such a child. Most parenthood entails some struggle to change, educate and improve one's children; people with multiple severe disabilities may not become anything else, and there is a compelling purity in parental engagement not with what might or should or will be, but with, simply, what is.
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In retrospect, it seems obvious that my research about parenting was also a means to subdue my anxieties about becoming a parent... I grew up afraid of illness and disability, inclined to avert my gaze from anyone who was too different - despite all the ways I knew myself to be different. This book helped me kill that bigoted impulse, which I had always known to be ugly. The obvious melancholy in the stories I heard should, perhaps, have made me shy away from paternity, but it had the opposite effect.
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To look deep into your child's eyes and see in him both yourself and something utterly strange, and then to develop a zealous attachment to every aspect of him, is to achieve parenthood's self-regarding, yet unselfish, abandon. It is astonishing how often such mutuality had been realized - how frequently parents who had supposed that they couldn't care for an exceptional child discover that they can. The parental predisposition to love prevails in the most harrowing of circumstances. There is more imagination in the world than one might think.
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The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality and my life, as I write this, is vital even when sad. I may wake up sometime next year without my mind again; it is not likely to stick around all the time. Meanwhile, however, I have discovered what I would have to call a soul, a part of myself I could never have imagined until one day, seven years ago, when hell came to pay me a surprise visit. It's a precious discovery.
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You are constantly told in depression that your judgment is compromised, but a part of depression is that it touches cognition. That you are having a breakdown does not mean that your life isn't a mess. If there are issues you have successfully skirted or avoided for years, they come cropping back up and stare you full in the face, and one aspect of depression is a deep knowledge that the comforting doctors who assure you that your judgment is bad are wrong. You are in touch with the real terribleness of your life. You can accept rationally that later, after the medication sets in, you will be better able to deal with the terribleness, but you will not be free of it. When you are depressed, the past and future are absorbed entirely by the present moment, as in the world of a three-year-old. You cannot remember a time when you felt better, at least not clearly; and you certainly cannot imagine a future time when you will feel better.
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