I am an American living in Germany. I am 43 years old and have been diagnosed with chronic deep depression, PTSD and a general personality disorder that leads me to be a bit obsessive and/or compulsive. I have lived with varying intensities of depression since my teenage years. I have stood with my toes on the line between life and death several times, and taken the step and failed a few times.
I have been fortunate to have some wonderful accomplishments during my life. However, the depression makes it difficult for me to be happy/ proud/ appreciative of my life, so far. Consequently, I constantly feel disconnected and misunderstood by the world around me. I feel as though I live a double life: strong and ambitious on the outside, but weak and shameful on the inside. I have become a master at hiding my feelings to keep others from feeling uncomfortable around me.
I have be an inpatient for approximately two years of intensive treatment at two university psychiatric clinics. I came initially following a suicidal attempt, and had to extend my treatment due to additional suicide attempts during the last year. In addition to trying a long list of anti-depressant medication, I have participated in art and sport therapies, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), electro convulsive therapy (ECT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), schema therapy, meta cognitive therapy (MCT), cognitive behavioral analysis system of psychotherapy (CBASP) and eye movement and desisitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR).
I have kept a journal of my thoughts, feelings and observations during the last months. This has been extraordinarily helpful in enabling me to keep track of my moods and see patterns in my life. My journal has become a powerful tool to incorporate with my other structured therapies. On this blog, I open my journal to you to read. I understand that we all walk our own path through life and that our experience/ struggle with depression is intensely personal, but maybe someone might find something in my journal that resonates with their experience.
Depression is painful, scary, exhausting, paralyzing, humiliating and isolating. This blog is a small step for me to challenge the isolating shame and embarrassment that I live with. I am making the pages of my journal public simply because there may be someone else experiencing the same things as I. Living with depression is hard enough. We don’t need to also feel alone. This is my attempt to help.
I have chosen to honestly and openly share my journal exactly as it was written in the moment. Consequently, there will certainly be sloppy text, misspellings, omitted words, improper punctuation, strong lanuage and countless grammar mistakes. When I am writing in my journal, I take a vacation from grammar rules and politeness in exchange for expediency in getting my thoughts and feelings on paper. This is all to say that comments related to illegible handwriting, word choice, spelling and grammar are unnecessary.
Please keep in mind that I am not a medical professional. Even though I have considerable experience with the mental health system, I cannot offer advice on medical treatments or strategies. Also, be aware that my journal entries may be explicit in describing my thoughts and feelings. Consequently, please be cautious of entries that may be emotionally intense. Children with an interest in mental illness should not read my blog without responsible adult supervision.
Thank you for visiting my blog. I wish you strength and health. If you would like to contact me directly, the blog email address is: email@example.com