I have this biological thing. I tend toward depression. In 1997, I stopped tending and fell headlong into it.
I had lost all joy in my work quite a while ago. Then in August '96, I got a manager (hired from a competitor) who was very difficult for me to work with. I would describe him as a feminist's nightmare. He touched inappropriately, made sexist comments, including calling an older member of our team "the old broad" (and occasionally "the old bitch"), and tended to be brash and abrasive. These actions were very effective in triggering my PTSD. I felt abused, and told him so in front of his boss. This stopped him from calling the other member of the team "the old broad," but the rest of his behavior did not change. He had an explosive temper and wielded it like a weapon. On Monday morning, January 20, 1997, I had had enough, and went to my Human Resources person for help. She told me she was busy until after 1 p.m. and I agreed to meet with her then. At noon, I met with my psychiatrist, and he gave me two choices: Take medical leave right now, or stay at work and he would have to put me in the hospital before two more months had elapsed. My spouse had come to the appointment with me, and he agreed with the doctor. Vehemently. So I conceded. I contacted my team lead and my human resources rep, and went home. The doctor's official diagnosis was "Major Depression with a co-morbidity of anxiety." In plain English, I was extremely depressed, to the point of my rapidly losing my ability to function, and had panic attacks. This particular diagnosis also means that I was very angry and irritable, which put my family, coven, and friends through a great deal of strain.
That evening, I had a nervous breakdown. "Nervous Breakdown" isn't an official diagnosis, but it's a great description. I collapsed into tears and cried until I was exhausted, then fell asleep and slept for 12 hours. I spent the next two weeks in pajamas and slippers, and only left the house for appointments. I spent the first three months of my medical leave in the basement of my house, going out only when it was absolutely necessary, and then only with company. Dealing with stores and crowds was exhausting and enervating. Thanks to the caring and support of my family, coven, and close friends, (and their insistence that I start getting out of the house once in a while), I gradually began to recover. When I had recovered enough to go back to work, Doug and I discussed it, and I quit that job. I thought I wouldn't be working in the field again. I'm delighted to report that assumption was incorrect.
On the much brighter side: I made it through. I went through times when I was sure I wouldn't, but in the end, I function as a capable human being once again. I left the job that was causing so much pain, went through a few others, and then became physically disabled. If you are suffering in the throes of depression, get help! There are many different ways of healing from this illness. It doesn't have to sentence you to life in hell.
This page created by Margaret Alia Denny
Last updated Saturday, February 11, 2006 .
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