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A Shocking Development!

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
7/8/2009 10:33 AM   :  320 comments   :  18,649 Views

By the time you read this, I will probably be about halfway through my first week of a two- or three-week course of ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) treatment to see if this helps relieve my depression.

In two previous blogs, I had indicated both that I felt pretty uncomfortable with the idea of electric shock treatment (I was a BIG fan of One Flew Over the Cuckooís Nest), and that I was going to try a non-medical approach to dealing with my depression before resorting to additional biological treatments. But here I am in the hospital, getting hooked up to the ECT machine.

What has changed in the past week is the urgency of reducing the effects of this depressive episode on other things. For whatever reason, Iíve been somewhat overwhelmed the last few days with a bunch of new memories and flashbacks related to the childhood abuse I experienced for the first 13 years of my life. I donít know if the depression is reducing my capacity to keep those memories away, or whether the memories have been mucking around in my subconscious for a while and generating the depression. Maybe both. Or neither. All I really do know is whatís happening right now, which is that I canít handle all of this at once and still function in my daily lifeósomething has to give. I havenít been able to sleep for 3 days, and my anxiety level is a steady 14 on a scale of 1-10.

Trying to let the past be the past before itís too late.

Given that Iím 60 now, and that Iíve been dealing with this old childhood baggage in one way or another for my whole life, I figure Iím not going to have many more chances of getting to the bottom of it. So, my desire is to actively and directly deal with this stuff right now while itís coming up on its own, instead of trying to put the lid back on again. That means I need to get myself to the point that Iím strong enough to do thatóand that means getting through the worst of this depression as quickly and easily as possible. They tell me that ECT is the best treatment when a quick response is the goal, so Iíve decided to give it a try. And, honestly, I could do with a week in the hospital right now, with nothing much to do except cope with getting my brain zapped a few times.

Some Background Info
I used to believe that oneís psyche never gives you more than youíre ready to handle at that time, and therefore, that the appearance of new memories and feelings from the past meant that I was ready to handle whatever it was that wanted to make itself known.


In my eagerness to cooperate with this process, I told all my various therapists that I wanted to use whatever special techniques they could offer aimed at uncovering what I couldnít remember or couldnít accept as real when I did remember it.

When I started out for the first time in adult (voluntary) therapy, I didnít remember anything at all about my family life before my mother died when I was 13. I ďknewĒ a lot of information--where we lived, what my father did for work, where I went to school, the names of some friends, and so on. But I had no picture memories or narrative memories of my family or our interactions that actually felt like my own. Just words I could repeat if someone asked for my story. I assumed this was the way it was for everyoneóuntil my first therapist told me that, in fact, most people can remember (with images, feelings, and stories) most of the important details of their lives after the age of 4 or so. The fact that my family and personal memories started at 14, when I started high school, was ďinteresting, and something I might want to explore in therapy.Ē

Right. ďInteresting.Ē Maybe so, in the same way that guerilla warfare or an atomic bomb is interesting. Because thatís how I felt for the next 15 years--like I was constantly walking through a minefield and trying to be prepared to deal with unpredictable assaults from an unseen enemy. A simple bout of good old-fashioned, uncomplicated depression was a welcome break during this time. I donít regret any of the time or effort I spent on trying to figure out and deal with what had actually happened when I was a kid. I know how important that can be for knowing and appreciating yourself as an adult, with all your strengths and weaknesses.

What has been frustrating, though, is that this old business never seems to be done. Whenever I think it is, and that Iíve come to terms with it, a new wave of memories surfaces and knocks me down again like a sneaker wave.

I was pretty dysfunctional, basically, from my divorce and subsequent business failure in 1988, until 2003, when I started losing weight and (a year or so later) hooked up with SparkPeople. After about 18 months as a member, spending a lot of time on the MessageBoards (that was the extent of my social life then, and still is now, for the most part), I was offered a job as ďCoach Dean,Ē and the next chapter of my life was launched.

Iíve really enjoyed the last 3 1/2 years, especially my work at SparkPeople. Even though Iím not in the office and donít see anyone face-to-face very often, I feel pretty close to several of the staff, have a lot of fun teasing some of the tech guys, and the work itself is great. I really love seeing people do well at working on themselves and moving toward their goals, and feeling like I played some small role in that. And I dearly hope this will continue for quite a while into the future, as soon as I can get myself back to more normal functioning. SparkPeople is a unique organization and a very exciting group of people to be part of.

The heart of the matter

I think that, somewhere down deep inside, a part of me doesnít believe I can ever have a decent social life as long as am still ďkeeping family secretsĒ from myself and others. When I'm around others, I'm constantly "on-guard" and unable to relax and simply be myself. At this point, all my friends are people Iíve either never met in person or seen only a time or two. All my I work as a coach and trainer is done online as well. If my internet and phone service ever go down at the same time, I might as well be marooned on an island in the middle of the ocean.

The saddest part of all this is that this is the way I like thingsóor at least thatís what I tell myself. When Iím actually around living, breathing human beings for a significant length of time, I donít do well at allóIím prone to panic attacks, bouts of extreme self-doubt and self-consciousness, and actual physical meltdown (extreme sweating, difficulty concentrating enough to participate in a discussion, etc).

My life isnít totally bleak, though. In addition to my job, I enjoy my biking and hiking outdoors. And even if I didnít have all my history and psychological baggage to contend with, Iím sure I would naturally be a pretty shy person who had only a small circle of friends, so itís not as if I ďhad it allĒ at one point and lost it due to some accident or mistake.

But it does feel to me like the next step in my personal journey will be about building a wider and deeper set of connections with other people, in ďreal lifeĒ. I think that my recent surgery and the dependency it caused for several weeks really brought home to me how isolated I am. Aside from my daughter and almost son-in-law, who live nearby, and my sons, who donít, there is really no one who was physically in my life. That doesnít feel good anymore. Iím sure itís contributing to my depression and anxiety, both because it doesnít feel good in itself, and because knowing that I need to do something about this generates a pretty huge amount of anxiety and fear.

What I need, I think, is a real confidante--someone I can talk to about anything at all thatís going on, including the unfinished childhood business, without worrying about traumatizing them in the process. I suppose thatís exactly what a therapist is supposed to provide, but thatís not exactly what I think I need. I need something thatís more like a two-way street, not ďtreatment.Ē I need to know whether a regular person can actually stand to see the real me, past and all, and still want to be around me, because I think Iíve convinced myself that will never happen. And I need to know that I can open the door to my internal ďtoxic waste dumpĒ without hurting anyone.

I donít think thereís any way to do this intellectually. I can tell myself it all wasnít my fault, that I did nothing I didnít have to do to survive, and that itís perfectly safe to know, experience, and talk about anything that happened then or is happening now with me. But Iím just not going to believe it until I manage to do it, which is probably the most terrifying thing Iíve ever considered doing.

Who knowsómaybe Iíll run into a kindrid spirit whoís in the hospital for the same reasons I am, and weíll be able to give each other what we both need.

Anyway, Iíll let you know whatís happening as soon as I get out of the hospital again, probably in a couple days.


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Comments

  • 270
    Coach Dean, you are very brave for writing this article about yourself. I don't think that you are alone in having this kind of problems, either. I had an Aunt, years ago, who went through the shock treatments. She came home after a stay in the hospital, and didn't know where her stuff in the kitchen ,etc was. However, she did get better, and as far as I know she didn't have to go through these treatments anymore. My husband had depression, and he still takes medication, because it can always come back. However, it helped him talking to the therapist about things. He also talked to the doctor, ever so often. I don't remember how long he went through all of this. There was also different treatments ,and medication tried , before finding the right one. I'm so glad that they finally found the medication that is helping him, so far so good. They also diagnoised him with having bipolar disorder, and the medication is for this too. It's an ongoing , every day thing to deal with, because their is no cure. Hopefully, the medication will continue helping him, so he can handle things, and not need to do anything else.
    I hope that you find out what works for you ,real soon. I enjoy reading your articles, you are an inspirtion to all. You are needed. I've always been a shy, withdrawn person, too. I take medication to help me to deal with everyday life as well. I do fine on the computer,too. I hope you can find inner peace, so you can start enjoying life, and feeling better. Bless you, always - 7/13/2009   9:57:19 PM
  • MISSKRISMAE
    269
    Thank you for sharing your story. It takes guts to share your personal thoughts and feelings with others, especially on an issue like this. All the courage and motivation to you in your journey. - 7/13/2009   7:41:57 PM
  • 268
    Dear Coach Dean,

    From reading your article, I didn't honestly understand much about what exactly is in your past and what exactly you are going through. I read that you are 60, which seemed a bit strange to me because I felt like I was reading something from someone much younger, someone with a lot of umph in their writing, more energy.

    I had a childhood too, just like everybody else...granted I wasn't conscious most of the time to it, for I am what they call a late bloomer. I'm 25 and yet I act like a teenager.
    I wanted to share my thoughts with you so that in a strange way I find clarity for myself as well. For as I type and edit what I write, I realize what I have learned and make stronger connections within my understanding.

    With that in mind, please do read through my post with utmost objective indifference, for all I utter are sounds which are given meaning to communicate something so profound inside that the words fall short of the true message to be conveyed.

    I believe a lot of people find peace by sharing their emotions and feelings of their past. Its a culture that we all are so accustomed to that we don't notice it. The thought of going to a "therapist" who gets paid to listen, and reads books to learn what to say to you to keep you talking.
    What I am trying to convey is that the more you talk about something, the bigger it gets. Because thoughts are energy, and when you given them power, they can control you and that makes your mind stronger than you, and then you feel weak for you have no control over your thoughts and ultimately over your words, actions and to top it off, what you think, say and do are not inline.
    Words and thoughts are very powerful. Sure I said, that words are sounds, that are given meaning. We give them this meaning, and for how ever many years we are alive, we believe this to be true that the sound "good" means, well...good. or bad, or sad, or mad etc...But in a logical way, words have a very strong limitation. Like I mentioned earlier, they are merely a means of communication. What exactly does the word "good" mean to you? Does that word show the same meaning and significance to me? Definitely not. However, we always fall under this assumption that "good" means "good" to everyone, so we delude ourselves into thinking that others understand us. Oh boy are we wrong! Totally absolutely.....again, these are words right? Understanding stems from something beyond words. It is spiritual growth and maturity. It cannot be defined or described for it is the the core you, not you the biker, not you the writer, not you the depressed, nor you the happy....it is not your body, not your mind, not your thoughts, not your good side or bad side.....its beyond all those.......it is given many names, "understanding", "truth", "faith", "god", and yet all these words fall short of giving you the real message.

    Another point I wanted to share with you was that you are given only what you can handle, for the universe never has an imbalance. Whatever situations are given to you in life are given to you because you have the power within you to overcome them. That is what life is, its a game where you have to advance to the next level by fulfilling tasks. All the 8 billion different creatures on this planet are part of this game, and they have their own battles to fight and overcome. As you can tell, I believe in rebirth and reincarnation...but that is secondary, even if I didn't, what I say still applies.

    You are your own best friend, you know best and you are your witness and your guide. You are given all this "ammunition" to fight whatever it is that is given to you. The worst thing you can do is to play the "damzel in distress." For then you are the slave of your night in shining armor.
    There is nothing in this world, not even death that can destroy you. No matter how horrible something is, it passes. That is the beauty of it, nothing is forever, not even pain, not joy, not sadness, not family, not husband or children. They all come and they all go. There is a subtle pain in all these ephemeral changes that we go through, there is a pain of being born, and life is a journey where we are to move on from stage to stage, but the pain and pleasure are combined so don't feel guilty, don't hold on to the past, release it, set it free. Don't analyze it for it is dead.

    Going for EMT is great, don't doubt it for a second. Trust yourself or if you can't yet, then only trust those in this site for they are close to you. Don't share things with strangers who have no emotional commitment to you or to your cure.

    All the best on your journey and it is never too late!
    Gluck with everything and the universe has already heard your prayers and will answer them for sure.

    There is a saying that my husband always tells me, " der hai, par andher nahin"

    It means, that "there might be a delay and you might have to wait, but, there is no darkness, there is only light...so your wishes will be granted"

    All the best again and I hope everything goes well.

    Thanks for reading and God Bless. - 7/13/2009   6:19:23 PM
  • SKOOZY
    267
    The shock treatments really work for depression. We dont know why, but it IS true. Sometimes you have to repeat the treatment, but it's still better than meds. You might try group therapy to find that Kindred Spirit. Ask your therapist if there is a group available. They are usually relatively small, so maybe you won't get nervous there. I hope it all workd out for you. - 7/13/2009   2:52:59 PM
  • 266
    Dear Coach Dean,
    My heart goes out to you just reading your story. Not to sound too cliche but there is One who loves you more than you can imagine and He knows more about you than even you do. Nothing you could do will ever change His love for you! I can only recommend a book that may help. Written by a man with a traumatic childhood as well and who endured a horrific tragedy in his adulthood. It is a beautiful story about healing through the tragedies of life. It is called "The Shack". http://theshackbook.com/index.html I truly believe you can find healing in the reading of this book.
    I hope this helps you at least a little.
    My prayers go out to you to find peace and help deal with the issues you need to face.
    Denise - 7/13/2009   1:06:55 PM
  • 265
    Wow, thanks for sharing. I had a mildly traumatic childhood, while my husband's was so bad that going to Vietnam was a relief even though he came back with PTSD. We've been married for 35 years now and I realize that as he approaches 60, the depression cycles are getting worse. Currently a ton of meds are getting him through the day, but your experiences are giving me hope that perhaps ECT will help him even more. Thanks for having the courage to share your life with us. It's helping me to better understand what my husband is going through as well. - 7/13/2009   12:12:55 PM
  • 264
    You're a very brave person to not only try to face the past and make a change, but to do what it takes to make that change. Not all of us are that brave and I wish you all luck and success in this. - 7/13/2009   9:42:20 AM
  • 263
    Big hugs, Coach! Don't ever fear reaching out - there are so many of us in that same boat WITH you! Both online and in "real life" - *everyone* needs a friend, so when you reach out, *know* that you are fulfilling a need in someone else's life as well as your own! - 7/13/2009   9:01:27 AM
  • 262
    Dear Coach Dean,
    Just dropping in to say I trust the treatment is going well, and continuing loving healing is sent your way. - 7/13/2009   7:12:49 AM
  • SLAFAZIA
    261
    Coach Dean,

    You have incredible courage, my thoughts are with you!

    I married a man with severe agoraphobia and panic attacks. We divorced less than a year later but it was because of his fear, like you he felt that he was eventually going to scare me away from him. I loved him dearly and did not want to let go but in the end I had to respect his decision to try and make peace with himself. I still talk to him and wish everyday that he finds the strength and courage that I know he has. Bottom line to my story is there are people out there who will be your confidant, that won't be afraid of what you are telling them and will do everything in their power to help you be the amazing being that you are suppose to be.

    I send you love and hope. Things happen the way they are suppose to and you WILL find that special person in its due time.

    - 7/13/2009   12:39:59 AM
  • 260
    Dean, I can relate to how you feel. I am not clinically depressed but I too have a hard time remembering things when I was a younger child. I can remember my relationship with my parents and friend when I was in high school but before that, I only have fragmented memories. At one point I wanted to seek out why my brain chose to block off some experience in my past but my friend who was a counselor advised me not to dig deep as long as my missing memory didn't affect my function as a normal adult. I agreed with her so I never touched that part of my life. Maybe one day I will feel the need to find out. But for now, I will let bygone be bygone. Best wishes! - 7/12/2009   8:44:12 PM
  • 259
    Dear Coach Dean,

    Your writing here has motivated me so much. You have really helped me change my life. To learn that you also deal with depression makes me admire you that much more.

    I also suffer from depression, and feel like I'm constantly trying to keep that black dog at bay.

    I just wanted to thank you for touching my life in one of the most useful ways possible, and to let you know that you're NOT alone in this!

    I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. You are an amazing person.

    - 7/12/2009   5:56:59 PM
  • CATHYMC4
    258
    I will send out positive energies for you. I have struggled with cyclical depression for years. I was so happy to have finally been prescribed and antidepressant that worked. I still cycle, but it is not half as bad. ECT can be good. Good Luck to you! - 7/12/2009   5:28:29 PM
  • 257
    I feel for all who are dealing with depression. I am not sure how politically correct it is to talk about God, but I do believe that if you reach out to Him for help He can deliver you. Ask God to come into your heart and establish a personal relationship with HIm. God is good and I know He can deliver all of us from whatever we deal with, in our lives. Try Jesus. - 7/12/2009   2:51:55 PM
  • 256
    I have to say that you just brought up an "interesting" thought that I need to bring to my hubby's attention. He talks a lot about when he was young - like 5 or 6, and then life as a teen, but not much about what's in between that time... and his family pictures match that gap.

    My heart goes out to you and know that you're on the right path just from the words you use, and your desire to see life on the other side of this. I have always found inspiration, humor and compassion in your articles and I'm humbled to see you face your own adversities with the same attitude.

    Many hugs!

    Stephanie - 7/12/2009   2:33:03 PM
  • 255
    I remember asking my doctor for ECT, when I couldn't stand the depression, intolerable emotional pain. My doctor told me it only worked for people who didn't know why they were depressed, not for people like me who knew what the depression was about. I lived in some black hole for 10 years... it's better now, but it will never be completely gone, what happened happened.

    I found out other people couldn't handle what happened to me, and I had to stay quiet about it, pretend it wasn't a big part of me... Which meant having only the appearance of friends.

    I have always enjoyed movies such as "Schindlers List" or "Shawshank Redemption" because I thought to myself, if they could live with what's happened to them then I have a chance at life too.

    I think their are more of us then anyone realizes, we are silent, we learned we needed to be to function.

    Keeping my fingers crossed and thinking positive thoughts for you.

    Blue
    - 7/12/2009   1:46:57 PM
  • 254
    Good for you. I respect your decision and I, to some extent, understand the obstacle this has been in your life. I am 60, also. It would be good to deal with this to as full an extent as possible with all due haste. May we live long and may we experience peace. - 7/12/2009   1:20:01 PM
  • RMONICO
    253
    I am a nursing student and I have finished my first year of training. In my clinical hours I worked in a mental hospital for one week. With my training I have learned that ect is more effective than any other drug out there. I also sat in on many therapy sessions and spoke with many people. Your story sounds like many others. You are not the only one out there and the more you are in the hospital and speak with others you will realize that there are many people who suffer from abuse and the afflictions that cause their depression. You are not toxic waste but the people that abused you are the toxic waste. Good luck and heal! - 7/12/2009   10:32:48 AM
  • 252
    Coach Dean - I wish you all the luck in the world. I'm glad that you are trying to get the help you need to deal with every thing that you have been through. I hope the ECT treatments work for you. My sister had those done years ago and I didn't agree with them then and I still don't. But, that is just my feelings since I saw what they did to her, as her experience with them was not a good one. I truely hope that you make out better than she did. I watched the video that they show you before you decide to have them done as she had asked me to be there with her at that time. I questioned some of what was in that video and feel that I was given answers that they wanted me to hear...not truely the trueth about it all. Good Luck!!! Please keep us posted. - 7/12/2009   10:24:25 AM
  • 251
    Thank you, Dean, for sharing this with us. My 40-year-old son recently told me that he is thinking of having ECT, and I told him it scared the crap out of me. I see now that it really isn't my business. I cannot know what he has been going through. Thank you and best of everything to you. - 7/12/2009   10:09:04 AM
  • 250
    I am sorry that you experienced the childhood pain that you did. What you are experiencing now will not last forever. Blessings, and hugs. I want to thank you for sharing this, and your SP weight loss journey. - 7/12/2009   10:01:49 AM
  • 249
    Good luck to you. I hope you find peace. - 7/12/2009   9:24:37 AM
  • 248
    My thoughts are with you and I truly believe that you will find the relief that you need. - 7/12/2009   7:57:50 AM
  • 247
    Sending positive thoughts your way Coach! - 7/11/2009   11:02:48 PM
  • 246
    Coach Dean,
    I'm hoping that you find that person you can feel safe with. They may have to take you in installments, but I'm sure they are out their. Please know that you are NOT alone. There are an amazingly huge number of people dealing with depression and mental illness wandering out there in the world. All afraid to let anyone else know their situation.
    Peace and healing to you.
    Frances
    - 7/11/2009   9:56:43 PM
  • 245
    Thinking of you1! Pat - 7/11/2009   8:25:31 PM
  • MIZLOO
    244
    My favorite doctor recently confided in me that his 80 year old mom had recently, finally, agreed to have ECT - she, too had been frightened by Cuckoo's Nest. The effects were amazing in the most positive way imaginable and he is so glad to have his Mom back. ECT is no longer what it was 25 years ago. I'm both sorry for the psychic pain you are experiencing and delighted that you are, as the Buddhists say "taking positive action for the good."

    One suggestion you might consider is to check out your community for an unprogrammed Quaker Meeting. Sitting in silence for an hour once a week, surrounded by others also sitting quietly, can be a "blessed" relief from the sensory overload that is part and parcel of 21st century living. No one will try to evangelize you - I know one woman who joined a Quaker Meeting after attending regularly for 15 years. When I asked her why someone who had attended so often, had not joined earlier, she said no one had ever invited her to!

    A final thought: The glut of "tell-all" memoirs in circulation has had the welcome effect of educating readers to the vast varieties of human experience. No longer must survivors of trauma rely only on other survivors of the same trauma for understanding and support. One can find kindly and supportive ears in many places, as you have already found via the Net.

    "May you be at peace; may your heart remain open; may you awaken to the Light of your own true nature; may you be healed; may you be a source of healing for all beings." - 7/11/2009   8:17:11 PM
  • 243
    You should read an article in the Discover magazine about memory, trauma and what is being done about it. In a nutshell, memories constantly change, and the process of remembering changes the memory. so there is a new, still experimental treatment being done for post traumatic stress disorder that involves memory.

    The article is titled "Out of the Past" and is in the July/August 2009 Discover magazine. Feel free to contact me if you'd like more info. - 7/11/2009   7:41:09 PM
  • 242
    Coach Dean: I think you are on to something with this installment of your blog. I am glad you are getting treatment, and I like the idea of a social safety net. I felt bad for you, reading how depressed you were, and I am hopeful that when you read this, you will already be feeling a lot better. I wish you all the best and hope that you find your kindred spirit. Everybody needs one. I believe there are better times ahead. Hang in there. - 7/11/2009   7:34:41 PM
  • 241
    I hope this does it for you. - 7/11/2009   6:57:55 PM
  • 240
    Hey Dean!

    The best friend you could ever have is the One Who made you. He will never leave you or forsake. The WORD is alive it cuts right to the core of our spirits and ministers to that aching part that can never be healed or made whole by intellectual means. It goes beyond.

    Psalms 119 is an awesome place to start. The LORD is good and HIS mercy endures forever!!! - 7/11/2009   5:51:00 PM
  • 239
    Dean,
    I've been trying to read some stuff to help me out of my depression. I'm sure it isn't as bad or all consuming as what you have faced, and it's good for me to see that those who have more to deal with can still deal with it. However, no matter how severe, it is still pain. My troubles feel as though they stem from my overweight.....but usually that is just a symptom of the problem, not the problem itself. One of the things that I grieve over is that I am so open. Especially with e-mail. Then later, I rethink everything that I wrote......and I get embarrassed that I am so open. I lay it all out there.....and maybe I shouldn't. It is so easy for me to tell it like it is on-line......and I'm sure some of my friends are shocked sometimes. Then, I rethink it and I think......I shouldn't have revealed that about myself. Some old friends from high school that I reconnected with through e-mail probably think....."Man, I didn't know she was really like that....." I don't know if I just have repressed myself for so long.......trying to be what I thought others wanted me to be. Maybe this is why I can't leave anything to the imagination!! I don't know.....but sometimes I wish I wasn't quite so honest. It's not about other people......it's honesty about myself that I hid for many years......my thoughts and true feelings. I'll probably regret this after I send it. The regret happens after I've reread it and sent it....then I think...."Why did I say that??" and the usual, "No one will like me if they see the real me." And, deep down inside....I want to be liked and loved for the real me....not the front I put on. Why do you think I weigh 262 pounds?? Because I am hiding. And, suppressing. I guess I really do want to lose this weight.....and therefore all the suppressed feelings have to come out or the weight won't come off. SO, it comes out in my e-mail. This need to be liked and the lack of confidence that I am liked.....I wish it wasn't quite so important to me....

    I have friends who have gone through terrible childhood episodes and have had to deal with memories as they came back. I will tell you that, though it was terrible and took many years and much patience......they did get through it and I believe are better for it. I'm not a psychologist(although I am going back to school for that at age 52), but I do know that having friends helped one of my friends in particular. You probably do need to connect with someone or reconnect with one of your old friends. I have a girlfriend that went all the way through school with me. She is someone who knows about everything there is to know about me and guess what???? She still likes to call me and we still try to get together every couple of years. She lives in another state and travels.....so we stay in contact through e-mail. She is the only one that I think really knows me and still wants to be my friend. She still makes me laugh......and she laughs with me!! So, when you get back on an even keel.......maybe you can think of someone that you know from way back. You'd be surprised at how....as we are getting older.......we all desire to see and touch base with people from our early past......grammer school or high school chums. Even people we went to college with. There's someone out there that is thinking...."What ever happened to Dean? We used to..................." People are more nostalgic than I ever thought. I thought I was the only one. I guess not..... I've actually been surprised at some of the folks who remembered me from high school and contacted me through classmates.

    Maybe when you read this, you'll have already found a new friend at the hospital. I hope that is that case. I know we all need someone who cares for us....all of us....even with our baggage. I'll say a prayer for you that you'll find someone soon! - 7/11/2009   3:55:55 PM
  • 238
    Dean,
    I've been trying to read some stuff to help me out of my depression. I'm sure it isn't as bad or all consuming as what you have faced, and it's good for me to see that those who have more to deal with can still deal with it. However, no matter how severe, it is still pain. My troubles feel as though they stem from my overweight.....but usually that is just a symptom of the problem, not the problem itself. One of the things that I grieve over is that I am so open. Especially with e-mail. Then later, I rethink everything that I wrote......and I get embarrassed that I am so open. I lay it all out there.....and maybe I shouldn't. It is so easy for me to tell it like it is on-line......and I'm sure some of my friends are shocked sometimes. Then, I rethink it and I think......I shouldn't have revealed that about myself. Some old friends from high school that I reconnected with through e-mail probably think....."Man, I didn't know she was really like that....." I don't know if I just have repressed myself for so long.......trying to be what I thought others wanted me to be. Maybe this is why I can't leave anything to the imagination!! I don't know.....but sometimes I wish I wasn't quite so honest. It's not about other people......it's honesty about myself that I hid for many years......my thoughts and true feelings. I'll probably regret this after I send it. The regret happens after I've reread it and sent it....then I think...."Why did I say that??" and the usual, "No one will like me if they see the real me." And, deep down inside....I want to be liked and loved for the real me....not the front I put on. Why do you think I weigh 262 pounds?? Because I am hiding. And, suppressing. I guess I really do want to lose this weight.....and therefore all the suppressed feelings have to come out or the weight won't come off. SO, it comes out in my e-mail. This need to be liked and the lack of confidence that I am liked.....I wish it wasn't quite so important to me....

    I have friends who have gone through terrible childhood episodes and have had to deal with memories as they came back. I will tell you that, though it was terrible and took many years and much patience......they did get through it and I believe are better for it. I'm not a psychologist(although I am going back to school for that at age 52), but I do know that having friends helped one of my friends in particular. You probably do need to connect with someone or reconnect with one of your old friends. I have a girlfriend that went all the way through school with me. She is someone who knows about everything there is to know about me and guess what???? She still likes to call me and we still try to get together every couple of years. She lives in another state and travels.....so we stay in contact through e-mail. She is the only one that I think really knows me and still wants to be my friend. She still makes me laugh......and she laughs with me!! So, when you get back on an even keel.......maybe you can think of someone that you know from way back. You'd be surprised at how....as we are getting older.......we all desire to see and touch base with people from our early past......grammer school or high school chums. Even people we went to college with. There's someone out there that is thinking...."What ever happened to Dean? We used to..................." People are more nostalgic than I ever thought. I thought I was the only one. I guess not..... I've actually been surprised at some of the folks who remembered me from high school and contacted me through classmates.

    Maybe when you read this, you'll have already found a new friend at the hospital. I hope that is that case. I know we all need someone who cares for us....all of us....even with our baggage. I'll say a prayer for you that you'll find someone soon! - 7/11/2009   3:55:55 PM
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    Your blog is very moving and I relate to a lot of it. My thoughts are with you and I hope this treatment will give you the support you need.
    Jackie - 7/11/2009   1:55:03 PM
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    Dean, All the best to you and I will keep you in my prayers. - 7/11/2009   1:27:32 PM
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    Coach Dean, I'm not sure what to say. I deal with dementia patients every day. I know our minds are complicated and precious gifts that can bring us great joy and great pain.
    I struggled with Depression myself. I've come to accept the struggle. There are times that I feel it is winning and times I feel I am winning. Thank God, for the times that I am winning.
    I hope you find what you need, and know you are not alone. Knowing I'm not alone has made my struggle much easier.
    I wish you the best!
    Hugs,
    Marcia - 7/11/2009   12:33:24 PM
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    Coach Dean, Thank you fr your openness and honesty in your blog! I pray that you will soon find that person who can be your two way street, and that you will somehow find a way to meaningfully deal with your past! Know that you are not alone, and keep fighting! You are in my prayers! - 7/11/2009   10:33:33 AM
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    You will walk in the sun again. Clouds are not forever. The breezes of hope lift our eyes to the fragrance of life. Keep choosing life, Dean, and you will walk in the sun again. - 7/11/2009   9:16:39 AM
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    Dear Coach Dean--I was so glad to hear that you decided to have ECT. Two of my uncles had the procedures as have two of my friends. Though my uncles are dead now--no link to the ECT--in fact it helped them tremendously. I really believe that each of us is scarred by our past in more or less degrees. It sounds as if you have had a particularly traumatic childhood. Between us my husband an I have logged many many years of therapy. It mainly was in the early years of our marriage, so while others were saving for a home, all our extra money was going for treatment. We don't regret a penny of it--it gave us the tools to deal with our lives. Don't get me wrong--we still have difficulties-- at times more than others--this stuff stays with you--but you get really good at dealing with it. There are also other things that are helpful. Lately we have gotten into reading about Buddhism. I have also taken classes on meditation and do practice at times--I wish I could say daily--but I don't practice daily. There are many avenues to pursue to help yourself. An as far as having a relationship--I used to work with a psychiatrist who said,"For every pot there is a cover". It sounds gross in a way but it wasn't meant in that way and I think it is a truism. When you are ready for such a relationship--the universe will provide it. Meanwhile I hope that your work remains a satisfaction for you. As I have said before, your writing is, for me, the most meaningful--now that I know more about you I know why. Your life experience comes through as does your humanity. I don't know if you will ever know the extent to which you are a help to us on this website--but I hope you can give yourself credit anyway. I send you my best for a successful course of treatment and my gratitude for your wisdom and courage in sharing your life with us. People like you add to the world in a very positive and inestimable way. Thank you. - 7/11/2009   6:32:20 AM
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    HUGS! - 7/11/2009   3:57:11 AM
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    Dear Coach Dean I have been reading your blogs and the tough time you are having right now. I didn't know how to respond. Just thought I would let you know, I am thinking of you, and do hope that it all works out the way you want it too. - 7/11/2009   12:42:38 AM
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    as abipolar with depression mostly i can relate. you're in my heart and prayers. - 7/10/2009   10:49:12 PM
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    Hey Coach,
    One of the things that I learned in community organizing training was the difference between "public" and "private" relationships. A professional relationship , whether with a Dr., lawyer, client, or merchant, is a public relationship. A relationship with a friend or family member is a private relationship.
    Sometimes the distinctions become a little "mushy" when we are talking about public relationships that are intimate, like with a therapist, clergy person, or coach. But because the intimacy is one sided, and is for the purpose of improving the life of the "client" and not the professional, it really is still a public relationship.
    It sounds like you need to develop some "private" relationships, but without much experience, you are not clear on how to navigate the social "land-mines" that are part of the distance between here and there. You are certainly not the first person who has had to traverse this particular landscape. There is one lesson that I can share about this particular journey.
    Take your time.
    Don't feel like you have to reveal too much right away. Personal space (including emotional space) is important to developing friendships. If you reveal too much quickly, and try to get too close too soon, you can't always undo the awkwardness that will arise. You can always reveal more later.
    There is no "best friend" out there whom you are destined to meet, who will have perfect friendship chemistry with you the first time your eyes meet. At least, such things are very rare. Go ahead and work on slowly developing several friendships. One of them may eventually become a confidant, or not, but you will have friends either way, and you won't have all your eggs in one basket.
    Just like in dating, there are bound to be some people who are not ready to respond to your friendship overtures. It can feel like rejection of you, when it really is a matter of being over scheduled, too wrapped up in other demands, or their own fear of rejection that gets in the way. Keeping it casual and light until you know each other enough to trust allows everyone the opportunity to try on the relationship before risking too much. Interacting with people around common interests, (a book group, class, or hiking club for instance) can be a safe place to take those first steps toward friendship.
    I hope the hospital therapy goes well, and that you will look for support from your "public relationships" as you find your way into a network of "private relationships." I have you in my thoughts and prayers. - 7/10/2009   2:52:39 PM
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    Coach Dean,
    Thanks for sharing. I pray that this be the first step to an eventual breakthrough and recovery for you. Keep being an inspiration to others as you have been, and trust God to work it out for you. With God, all things are possible.

    I pray that this treatment will set you free in Jesus name.

    - 7/10/2009   1:15:26 PM
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    While I am not a fan of ECT, I do hope it works for you. You have so much going on in your life, so many successes and so many accomplishments. You are such an inspiration to so many of us. I hope you find the peace you are looking for. - 7/10/2009   10:43:52 AM
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    I wish you strength and hope. I want you to know that what you are doing is very important to you and to many, many others. You touch many lives and your honesty has helped many who have been reading and following your journey. I hope your therapist or someone on your team is an expert on DID (dissociative disorder), a PTSD. When you remember parts of your life like a movie, or a book you have read, it is an indicator of dissociation....My prayer for you is that you will find a friend who can listen and share with you. - 7/10/2009   10:27:30 AM
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    I wish you all the best. - 7/10/2009   9:02:39 AM
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    You are a very courageous person to share your story!
    I hope the ECT treatments lead to what you are hoping for.
    God Bless! - 7/10/2009   8:17:54 AM
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    Thanks for sharing your story,,,
    Not sure how to address it but to say you are loved here.
    Hope all goes well, and eager to read more of your articles and blog.
    Praying you will be back soon. - 7/10/2009   8:07:42 AM
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    God bless you Coach Dean. I have always been inspired by your words of wisdom and your candor. I pray you have the courage and strength to break through this so you will be at peace. Good luck to you. - 7/10/2009   7:27:17 AM

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