A Fire Within Me

I share with you my battle with depression.  I am a staunch supporter of intervention regarding this condition, truly believing that Mental Illness is much like a cancer when not treated.  It can be treated allowing the patients to live normal, healthy and happy lives.

The daily newspapers, local and international T.V. reporting and our social media often post screaming headlines about “temporary insanity.”  Many may think that this is impossible, but I believe the opposite. Let me explain!

I suffer from depression. Though under control with a good medication, my body will sometimes get all mixed up.  I have tried to keep track of such episodes and believe that stress plays a key role. Though I appear in control of my moods most of the time, I am not when these interruptions take place-that is a good way to put it!

For those hours, my body has no reasoning power. I want to throw things, which I do, I want to scream, curse and be all alone. A blackness comes over me and there is no where to run or hide. My father who suffered in a similar way, used to describe being in the bottom of a barrel looking up to see no light! Mine is different, but the same.

After the anger, I am spent. I am very tired physically and mentally. It is like a wave washes over me and I am out of control. For those few hours, I live with no regard to others, I do dangerous things and I am the only one who is in charge. I use terrible language, move quickly slamming doors, breaking dishes and make no apologies. In other words, watch out and keep out of my way!

Sometimes these episodes last for two days, but no longer. When I sleep, I wake up a different person who is peaceful again. The rage is gone and I am normal.  Unfortunately these times are occurring more regularly as I am getting older. This is a problem.

I believe that stress plays a major role. Stress is a normal part of my life but when many things pile up, my body gets out of balance. I think the key to the future is to take a “mental snapshot” of myself each day. If I am not feeling strong, then foregoing major things is a must. Though this is not possible or realistic all the time, the majority of the time it is..so that is what I must consider as a good plan.

I believe that I fought depression all of my life.  When I think back, there were many dark days where I dreaded looking ahead. Even through my husband’s cancer years, these times came and went.  I was especially sad when he was—I believe that is normal.  Yet, now in my later years, I suffer short periods but on a more frequent basis.

Perhaps when the stresses build up , everyone around me should be aware that the “wall could tumble down.”

About the Author

Maryann Hartzell-Curran, a retired educator and counselor, has written a personal account of her journey through the first year of grieving the loss of her husband in her book, “From We to Me,” to help support those who have suffered the loss of a loved one. Maryann founded a successful family therapy practice and taught in the public and private sectors. She also founded and directed a church-based preschool in Lombard, Ill., and gained experience working with the elderly as director of a senior dining center. She has a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s degree in counseling from Illinois Benedictine University.

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