I'm 30 and I'm sitting in my university's engineering lab. I've been here for almost 12 hours because I'm too scared to move or leave. Tears are streaming uncontrollably down my cheeks.
As soon as I was 18, I listened to the only thing I had (Dr.Drew's radio show) and found a psychologist and psychiatrist.
For over a decade, I have:
- I've pushed so hard by seeing a psychologist and psychiatrist.
- Outside of the doctor's office, I researched books on mindfulness, anger, and cognitive psychology.
- I have stopped the hard partying and drugs for so many years now. I first started them only after my suicide attempt at age 20.
- I have forced myself to exercise and run 4-5 times a week. I hate running, but I bite down hard and do it.
- I continue to fight against my parents' wishes. They do not understand why I am so determinded to seek medical help. Instead, they just wish that I'd try harder as the last of my cousins to graduate from a college.
- I have pushed myself academically even though I have so many withdraws and F's from having to leave my class. The academics, itself, is not the problem.
- Diet. I even try to have a healthy diet.. ANYTHING to help my depression.
- Push myself, pursue my dreams: raced the baja 500, got 2 personal training certifications, performed stand-up comedy in front of 500 people, took up judo/mma, raced downhill mtn bikes, became a junior state road cycling champ.
- Social life – It may be hard to, but I go out and join clubs and try to date.
Honestly, I'm probably at the lowest point in my life. I've pushed for so long and so hard. I'm at 2 therapy visits a week and trying new medications. I have tried to stay positive for so long, but I don't know how much more of this I can take.
These things need to change in my life:
I. Psychological Treatment
I've tried cognitive behavior therapy for the majority of my treatment. Everytime something negative happens, I force myself to counter it by thinking of it as temporary vs permanent, non-personal vs personal, specific vs pervasive. I'm trying Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and I'm in consultation for ECT and other treatments. Most people seem to respond with the work I've put in.
II. Understanding – I get the feeling that nobody "gets it."
- My school has a "suicide awareness" club and I was so excited to get involved. My whole battle against depression was such a lonesome effort so I knew the benefits of a support group. AA is so successful because of that reason. However, the club turned down my suggestions to create a support group. They were more interested in making themselves feel good by doing things that did not directly affect depressed people such as: changing the schools athletes' shoe laces to the "official color of suicide", making a parade, taking photos of the words "hope", etc.
- I contacted the school's counseling center to create a general depression support group for its 15,000 students. I spoke to somebody for 30 minutes to see why a support group could not exist. Instead, they had a women's group, a LGBT support group, etc. Nothing for a depressed male or specifically addressing depression. I asked if they needed help advertising their support groups since nobody knew of them. Of course not.
- I contacted the local NAMI to see if they could help me create a moderated support group on campus. I did not get much of a response or a response.
- We all know thetypical stories of sympathy: a physically disabled person, somebody with cancer, a victim of a crime. But what about those that suffer mentally: how we ultimately feel and experience our life.
- We all cheer for people who have gone to jail and are now "putting their lives" back together. My college let one of them speak at graduation. But what about those of us who did not make any mistake? What about those of us who are treated like criminals but were born into our misfortune? I don't have a criminal record.. what about me?
- You know, I can take the mental effort. I can run when I hate it. I can keep going to the doctors. I can push and push and bite down hard. However, I don't know how long I can go without this "love" thing. THAT is what makes me suicidal.
- I knew my parents were not a good source of it and I thought it was just a mushy thing that was unnecessary. "No," I told mysel, "keep pushing for academics and doing serious stuff."
- I have only admitted to my doctor in the past 6 months that this "love" thing is bigger than any of my other challenges. My particular flavor of depression has to do with shame, disrespecting people, letting people down, and disappointing people. The complete opposite of this is unconditional love.
- I've had 2 long term relationships, and they were great. The touch of a human, the companionship, the challenge – it made me a better person, but I know I can't rely on it. It's been a few years since the last one.
- Depression sucks for anybody, but its effect on a male is absolutely cruel. A man's utility to society – confidence, strength, leadership, assertiveness.. it's all depleted with depression. Before any female can be attracted to you, you have to build yourself up from zero. A mentally unstable criminal(the bad boy) may have problems, but he may still be attractive to a few(not all) females. When you're depressed, you don't get any breaks(in the form of love) until you've made it to the top and at least learn to give the impression that you're not broken on the inside.
- I go out and continue to create any opportunity to meet girls. I dress well, keep in shape, and pursue my dreams more than most people that I know of. I've grown up so much in the therpists' office that I feel like I'm more socially skilled than a lot of my peers. I keep aware of the balance of assertiveness, confidence, while respecting boundaries and sensitivities.
This is a plea to the Gods because this is not under my control.
- Ever since pre-school, teachers have brought up my shame, fear, and depression to my parents. As immigrants, they rejected Western Psychology and pulled me out of any treatment.
- Although I was reading sooner than my classmates, my depression turned my straight-A's to C's by 18.
- I could not walk in to the majority of my college classes because of anxiety. I did not quit! I stood outside for up to 30 minutes, trying to gather the willpower to walk in.
- After over 5 years of therapy, I was finally able to complete an academic quarter at the community college! I completed my basic engineering courses, calculus classes, chemistry classes, etc.
- The state university rejected me 3 times despite the fact that I had an associate's degree and made the dean's list my most recent quarters at the community college. Their reasoning was my grades from over 10 years ago and the withdraws as a result of depression.
Do you want to know why people do not try? This IS why! Because when you try to do the right thing and climb, society shuts you down! What else am I supposed to ? I want to get high, I want to get angry, I want to blame him or her, and I want to make excuses! But I don't! I don't have a criminal record, I don't do drugs, I'm going to the doctors, I hold back everything I'm supposed to hold back.
I bite down hard and work my ass off!
I finally made it into the university, but I'm more depressed than ever and withdrawn from all classes. The point of this example is that this is how we've always been treated. I guess I have to learn to forgive society for underestimating our pain and how much we've tried.
But.. I'm not just depressed. I'm defeated.
I've given up my diet and exercise for the first time in many, many years. I just don't care.
I just need a break. Just give me something, please. If I was religious, I would ask the heavens to just give me something to alleviate what I feel. Without that, I don't know if I can continue to push. Nobody can say that I didn't try in this life.