A Conversation for Depression Survival - a Personal Account
Personal experience with depression
Alfredo Started conversation Nov 4, 2002
It must have been 1984
I saw Elvis on television in one of his last performances in Las Vegas.
Probably his last one.
All cliché's passed by, including a 60 year old human parasite, who held many shawls on his arm and at ány chance he got, he hang one of these shawls around the neck of Elvis.
And Elvis threw these things, as a robot, into the audience.
Those were the people who had paid a fortune for the guarantee to get "a chance of thé catch in their liftetime".....
Finally Elvis sung "Are you lonesome tonight?" and when he had to speak the monologue, he seemed to be unable to remind these words and - almost crying - he muttered somewhat untill he finally faked some humor and the audience decided to believe him, to protect their night out with Elvis.
"Here stands a man being on fire", were the words that came in my mind, seeing it all.
"He feels his end is near", I concluded.
Recognition about myself, unfortunately.
In the summer of 1984 I suddenly lost 12 kilo in two weeks time and my weight became just 54 kilo, while I didn't have any physical illness. (it later appeared to be a véry strong depression)
I can't remember that I thought it was that dreadful, although someone around me used to call me "Dachau" because of it.
I díd feel surpised, because of this huge loss of weight, but those profiled cheekbones gave my head "finally the look of a MAN" I said to myself.
But there happened even móre insíde that same head.
More and more I got a killing headache for the coming months and the only effective weapon for me was a gigantic amount of tranquillizers, combined with painkillers and alcohol. Every day and night the same ,while sometimes listening to Paul Simon's song "american tune".
I used to wear a dark blue, very long shawl,that I had suddenly bought in an obscure shop.
It didn't leave my neck for one minute in those days.
(When I saw at Sept.11 in 2001 some people waving with shirts at the top floors of the Twin Towers in New York I was suddenly reminded of that blue shawl of despair..)
At a saturday I walked in a huge shoppingcentre and I recognized a girl, that walked towards me. I had met her in my work as a social worker in that city.
When we almost met, she suddenly put her arms around my neck, started to cry and laid her head on my shoulder. After a few seconds she looked at me and said; "Sorry, please excuse me, please excuse me" and walked away.
And I went on in mý direction and she in hers.
And all of this went on for months and months.
Meanwhile one of my elder brothers died at the age of 43, because of alcoholabuse.
After the funeral I read a few pages of his diary on a notepad. He wrote, that he was going to make a great journey and it appeared, he had already packed his suitcase. He added one of his worries; "who will take care of my chickens?".
Slow but sure I felt death was also approaching my door.
It felt as an inevitable road, all the way down, although I was just 35 years old.
Until I finally ran out of my home, without saying ánything to my American wife and four daughters. I jumped into my car and speeded out of town, until I finally arrived in a village where we all had lived just a year ago.
I rang the bell of a house of someone whom I had only met once at a reception and when he opened the door I asked him if I could have a word with him.
"That's oké", he replied and we both walked half a mile to a small pub in the village.
There was almost nobody there, except a female bartender.
We sat at one of the tables at the window and I told him what had happenend to me in the last few months and when I was finished he only said; "If I look at your situation as it is now, you won't live any longer than one year. At the utmost two years".
He could not have spoken anything better to me, because by intuïtion I felt completely understood and what more does anyone wish in a situation that feels inevitably.
But whíle he went on speaking to me, I suddenly saw someone standing behind him.
A being of light, as it seemed to me. No face. Just standing there. It was very clear and remained about five, or even ten seconds.
But I did not speak about it.
Finally he was offering me to help me for free (being a professional therapist), but that he first wanted to confer with his wife about it.
Finally I arrived at home and I told my wife(in those days), that Richard had offered to help me. She reacted carefully; a mixture of hope and unbelieve.
"Yes, I am allowed to líve again", I said, "but I have to unwrap this present all by myself".
I would nót die; I knew it, because of what I had experienced.
And so it happened.
I was very surprised by what I had experienced in those ten seconds, although it did not feel tótally out of the order in my life.
I never spoke with anyone about it.
A good choice, I believe.
Analysing doesn't really add anything.
But sharing - like here - may do so.
I haven't become religious.
Ten years later I - being a single again- walked in that summer the most beautifull journey of my life; the Pyrenees, from West to East.
"En los montes Pyrineos, me tengo de ir a vivir.
que dicen que alli se gana la gloria a antes de morir" ,
are the words of a very old Spanish folksong.
"In the Pyrenees mountains I ought to go and live.
For they say that there you get to paradise before dying"
And my Journal at H2G2 has somehow the same meaning to me.
Finding a Home in my own Galaxy?
Greatings from Lively Amsterdam (and excuses for my English)
Personal experience with depression
Alfredo Posted Dec 25, 2002
My writing wasn't meant to be a black & white story, succes-story or whatéver else.
It's an account of an episode with extreme experiences.
That period is behind me.
Although depressions and sleeplesness are part of my life, although not in the same way and I have grown and learned.
It fluctuates with the circumstances.
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