Don't petition the White House, Use Change.org

Don’t petition the White House, Use Change.org

Nov 18, 2012 Aaron Krager No Comments
Secessionists. I first want to say thank you for finally learning something from history. The last time so many desired to rid themselves of a tyrannical president they declared war on the Union. Thus, your use of a peaceful means through petitions on the White House’s site is commendable. Furthermore, each state now finds themselves represented by a petition and signatures from people possibly wanting to secede from the United States. Texas leads the way with more than 100,000 people asking the White House to address the issue. This is the same state governed by Rick Perry who drummed up his base of supporters with calls for seceding prior to his Republican bid for President. The irony seemed lost on him. Governor Perry is obviously not a viable option to lead the cause. He hardly put up a fight against a weak group seeking his party’s nomination. I also question...
The Country Moved to the Left Last Night

The Country Moved to the Left Last Night

The whole campaign season did not just depend upon the presidential race that finally came to an end last night. Yes, the country voted clearly to give Barack Obama another four years in the White House. He received more than 50 percent of the vote and won handily in the electoral college. Yet, it is what happened down the ballot that shows the nation’s move toward progressive values. It appears that Democrats will pick up a couple seats in the lower chamber but the real change happened on the senatorial level. Voters said no way to Republicans Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock after they attempted to scapegoat women and downplay the trauma of rape and sexual abuse. Furthermore, women won in Massachusetts, North Dakota, Hawaii, and Wisconsin for their first terms. All four of them will be more progressive legislators than their predecessors. In Wisconsin Tammy Baldwin will be the...
Republicans, Rape, Life, and Control of Women

Republicans, Rape, Life, and Control of Women

Oct 24, 2012 Aaron Krager No Comments
During last night’s Indiana Senate debate the Republican candidate, Richard Mourdock, did more than stick his foot in his mouth. I believe life begins at conception. The only exception I have for to have an abortion is in the case of the life of the mother. I struggled with myself for a long time but I came to realize life is that gift from God, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape. It is something that God intended to happen. Mourdock joined a club made exclusively of Republicans but a club that seems to be growing as the November election nears. Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh made a reprehensible comment about exceptions for the life of the mother following his debate. “There is no such exception. With modern technology and science, you can’t find one instance.” Complete crap as this woman explains. Of course who can forget Missouri...

Slow Death by Depression

Feb 27, 2012 Aaron Krager 19 Comments

Imagine the lyrics below with Lauryn Hill’s voice. The chorus stuck in my mind the past couple of weeks as I thought about my struggle with depression.

Strumming my pain with his fingers

Singing my life with his words

Killing me softly with his song

Killing me softly with his song

Telling my whole life with his words

Killing me softly with his song

Depression kills not in an instant but through a torturous process of draining the life out of you. For the most part the illness numbs the body and the mind. The numbness hinders one from enjoying old hobbies or time with good friends. In a way it paralyzes progress and healing. It prevents one from walking the path to recovery.

In the beginning the words feel like Tom Morello’s screeching guitar. Imagine the hideous music your kid blasts from their bedroom living in your brain. The guitar effect makes sense in small doses and with proper context. It is a small part to the larger song being played. But when it does not end the song ceases.

The harshness of the sound can no longer be heard. The melodies existing outside of the overwhelming sound can now be heard. But these are just as constant and wear thin.

Let me explain it a little better before I lose you in the simile. Imagine all of the worst things you believe about yourself, the imperfections you do not want others to notice, and the fear of what people think of you. Multiply it by the largest number you can fathom. Now those words beat down on you with such debilitating force that the only comfort to be found exists in your bed, if you are lucky.

Strangely, the words can form a rhythm in that you can expect a verses or two followed with the catchy chorus. You know the one that sticks with you all day after hearing it on the radio. Well, those words coming down like hammer and nails encompass their own song. And it is stuck on repeat. The power button turns off everything… so that is not a viable option.

I could throw out a few other analogies but it would probably dilute what I am trying to express. Honestly, I can no longer dream of a life where I do not have to battle depression. I cannot access the emotions felt during past moments. Memories feel more scripted or acted out with wannabe actors. The crushing sadness or exalting happiness disappeared. I do not mean to come off as overdramatic but for me this feels like the truth. It is what I am experiencing, what I am living, and what I am in a war with.

As a result, I am tired. Tired of the battling. Tired of the medication. Tired of trying to talk about something I hardly feel anymore. Tired of the passing time.

Depression seems to have lulled me into this state. My pain strummed away. My life told through depression’s point of view. And killing me slowly and softly.

Continuing with the song the lyrics feature these two lines later in the song:

I felt he found my letters, and read each one out loud

I prayed that he would finish, but he just kept right on

Exposed. It can feel that way at times and the shame and fear associated with it can tear through you. Thus, you hide or seclude yourself. Others cannot see how you feel or the damage done.

I wish I could even fantasize about not being depressed. Then I might feel hopeful of a possible ending to it all. Instead, I try to reason my way out of it. Logic does not work. Imagine trying to rationalize with a dog during a tug-of-war with their favorite toy. Or rationalizing with Republicans on any number of issues.

Saying enough is enough does not work either. I might as well try to move a brick wall.

Self-pity went out the door long ago.

Placing my predicament on a scale that encompasses other people’s pain and problems just made me feel pathetic, worthless, and filled me with self-hate. Trying to relate to that scale today only serves as reminder of those old feelings.

Hollywood loves to provide a climatic moment where the protagonist suddenly realizes all their problems have a simple solution. A love interest cures all. A faithful pet cheers one up. A new philosophy of life changes habits overnight. None of that is true. Not for me. Instead this slow death caused by depression just might last a lifetime. Realizing just that, right there, this could stay with me until I die of natural causes, a tragic accident, or through self-means (not contemplating) actually invokes a few subtle feelings of anger and fear.

This disease robbed me of the last 21 months and threatens to steal my life.

Uff da!

  • Cindi Knox

    It’s a painful place. I, and many of my friends battle this. Some have overcome it, a few have lost the battle, but most of us continue to struggle with it to some degree.

    I won’t tell you my battle is easier or harder than yours. It’s impossible to know. And I can’t tell you that you’ll get past this, because I don’t know that either.

    What I can tell you is that at least one person – me – values you highly. And I have great respect for anyone willing to talk about this pain.

    If you can find some hope or comfort in that, I will be glad for it. Even if it gets you through one more day.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=705915465 Deborah Newell Tornello

    *solidarity*

    *hugs*Aaron, I know.  I know this so well.  My “flavor” of brain cooties is the double-sided hell, but that does not mean I get an equal amount of joyful, sunny phases to make up for those weeks when I feel as though I am trying to swim laps in a pool of wet cement, getting sadder and more exhausted and why-bother-ish with every struggling pass.It just means that I live at the poles, at the extremes, and that the sadness and self-hate and despair occasionally morph into bouts of frenzied energy and I realize with horror that I have not done (X, Y, or Z) in weeks, and now I’m going to catch the hell up and do EVERYTHING! And then, let’s paint the house! Plant a garden! Write forty poems! And then there is the loveliest state of all (that’s sarcasm), where the energy is so high, and the words come so fast, I cannot believe how slow and stupid people around me are.  And how slowly they drive!  And how utterly bog-stupid these politicians are, saying this crap–do they think we’re ALL stupid? And why, oh why, does Rick Santorum choose *this* week to say things that are going to make my head explode.  I am already as agitated and sleepless as it gets.

    Family who deal with this all exercise like mad.  My father ran marathons until his soccer knees gave out; now he speed walks.  It keeps the lid on.  I really must get back to something, anything; I used to run 3 miles per day, and I swear, it make an enormous difference. If running is not possible for you, perhaps brisk walking with hand weights?   You need to do it for 30 minutes, 3-4 times a week.  Build those dopamine circuits.

    We should be virtual exercise buddies!

    Feel better; be well; most of all, speak to yourself kindly. Would you or I EVER say to a dear friend the kind of awful things we say to ourselves?  And expect that person to remain a friend?  Of course not.

    Be loving to yourself. I will try to do likewise.

    XXX
    DNT

  • alphaleah

    Aaron, I do not know you, but you are not alone. I and millions of others are with you.

    I consider my depression (296.3 Major Depression, Recurrent) to be a chronic and potentially terminal illness that I have the responsibility of managing similar to how someone with diabetes manages their illness.What has helped me is everything. I have to be willing to do anything and everything necessary to take my life back from this soul-sucking illness.I have to take medication; I have to get enough restorative sleep (key word: restorative, which can also require medication, supplements or a sleep study to check for apnea); I have to address my thyroid (and get it finely tuned by someone who *really* knows what they’re doing and checks serum levels of T3 and T4, not just TSH); I have to address my adrenal functioning (which for me means taking cortisol); I have to eat well; I have to take supplements (especially B-vitamins which I take orally and by IV); I have to address my life circumstances and admit hard truths; I have to go to therapy as needed (I have years of sequential individual and group therapy under my belt, which other than helping to save my life also helped me learn how to live); I have to listen when my partner tells me she’s feeling like I’m going downward (our loved ones often notice temper or behavioral changes before we feel the cognitive and mood shifts inside ourselves); I have to get enough light (my depression can be worsened or precipitated by the lack of light in winter); and I have to re-read certain poems and/or listen to certain music that keep me sane and on track.You get the idea. Everything. Sometimes everything all at once. 

    Here are two poems that have saved me, literally, in the past: The Journey by Mary Oliver http://www.panhala.net/Archive/The_Journey.html
    and
    Wild Geese by Mary Oliver http://www.panhala.net/Archive/Wild_Geese.html

    Most of all, what is vital is I have to remain conscious of the fact that I am not and will never be “normal” in the sense of being someone who doesn’t have this disease. It took decades for me to get to a place of willingness, surrender, acceptance about that fact. Aaron, yes, you have this horrible disease. But it doesn’t have to be terminal, and it can be managed. From your post, it sounds like you’ve achieved the recognition that it took me decades to achieve (and I’m a psychotherapist – lol).You are who you are. I am who I am. We are both pretty fucking interesting and good writers too. Depression is not our defining characteristic. 

    Wishing you all possible courage – Leah

  • Vickster58

    Aaron…. i know you…. i believe in you…. i see so much courage and fight in you since forever- when i was overwhelmed by a problem, i’d call your mom and ask her to ask you…..(dementia??- that’s a topic for another day…lol)
    When we look at each other and think that the ‘other’ cannot possibly understand, i’m here to say we do! Our society has a special set of laws that are only for PERFECT people…… although my personal journey has been a challenge, there ain’t no elephant or donkey that can find my perfect peace…. God is at the heart of ALL the answers….. even little ones…. one step at a time…..sending mucho love and respect….for ALWAYS!
    vickie

  • Your favorite Vulcan

    Love this post. Think the world of both of you.
    Today’s recommdation? The Mental illness happy hour podcast.

    It helps to hear people talking about their mental illness. People who are creative and smart. Paul Gilmartin is on the left politically and has interesting creative people as guests. Check it out.

    As to Deborahs comment, when I have a burst of energy it feels like,” I have been screwing around for years (ESP the last 5) and then get overwhelmed. That puts me in polarization mode. Arggh!

  • Aunt Brenda

    Your description is actually like the destroyer coming in the night -John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill 23  and destroy; I
    have come so that they may have
    life, and may have it abundantly. 24  With any battle we take on – we should ask for our lord’s armor to fight – and rebuke what the devil is sending; being the destroyer. Heart disease/Diabetes/Depression/cancer/mental illness or any other debilitating disease. Rebuke it and claim healing as it’s a gift and promise from our savior. He is truly the only way, the best medicine any one of us could ask for! Keeping you in prayer and may he cover you and lift you up from this darkness. Psalm 43:5 has helped me through many a tough times! Lean on those words and that prayer, as he will never leave you. Love you much! Aunt B! 

  • quirkydi

    If you have lung or pancreatic cancer, your healthcare provider will put an order
    in for hospice. The pain is treated with medications that work. You are surrounded by compassion and people that have dedicated their lives to making yours as com
    -fortable as possible. 

    Watching a loved one suffer from debilitating depression has confirmed for me
    how tragic the lack of care is for him and others. That anyone should be in this much pain and made to feel shame is unconscionable. 

    When I hear Dan Rather and other public figures speak publicly about their depression, it seems so often they found the magic combination of meds and if the depressed person could just find the right Dr. and the right pill all will be well. 

    We have to care for our depressed friends and family just as we would if they had cancer or some chronic debilitating disease with compassion and pain control. We need treatments that consider the impact on the mind, body and soul and take their entire life experience into consideration. We need results. 

    I was directed here by another site. I hope you have people in your life to care for you. Let people know what you need if they can’t figure it out. 

    Sending you healing thoughts through those internet tubes.

  • Melel1968

    Aaron~ It’s a dark  journey and at times we can feel so alone and afraid to reach out to anyone because of the stigma of depression and anxiety that is out there. It is so misunderstood and not true to it’s symptoms at times for the medications to work with the therapy. I can remember when I felt like I could just scream until I could cry No more and I couldn’t even tell u why or what was the matter with me? I had soo much Anger inside and so much pain and No place for it to go.Knowing u have it and it’s not going away it’s there for life .  Depression felt like a dark gutter in an alley down in the ghetto where the rats had been eating out of the garbage for weeks…leading me further into denial of the mindset of not questioning my mind of the untruths..believing I’m not GOOD enough! I’m not a good Mother! Self-hate and not wanting to be here anymore.. the fear you feel when you don’t know where your at and how you even got here? Why can’t I feel better.. Question everything I ever believed….grasping for anything or anyone as your life saver..love interest=happiness- no..children= unconditional love- no..job trying to find yourself? Who am I?? Still asking ourselves this.. I found something by chance a couple weeks ago on You-tube maybe you would be interested in listening to her. I was quite amazed at her words~ Byron Katie “The Work” I am reading her book “Loving what is” It’s all about questioning your mind about thing
     we keep letting us get bothered or struggle with.  FOUR QUESTIONS! 1)Is it TRUE? 2) can I absolutely know that it’s true? 3) How do I react when I think that thought? 4) Who would I be with out that thought?  That’s the WORK Questioning the Mind and Dropping the THOUGHT! Changing us because only WE can change not the other person! Coming out of the Darkness and  Awakening to a Peace of Mind takes years and Work and I know we are all looking for it..there’s No easy fix but if someone has found it This Byron Katie may have! I have more clarity of where my life should be headed now more than ever. I will be praying for you and let me know what you think. Keep moving foward one day at a time that’s all WE can do Aaron,  God Bless, Aunt Missy

  • Kathysart_decoration

    Just a thought for you. You might want to do your own thyroid testing. There are a few online labs where you order your own tests, such as T3, T4 and TSH. Very legitimate and you use local labs. HealthcheckUSA is one and another is called Labworks, I believe. I have used them for many years as I don’t have health insurance. These tests are very reasonably priced. FYI, if you don’t know, if you take these tests, do them early morning before taking any meds, if you are even doing that.
    I don’t have a thyroid, so this has been a life-saver for me. After 30 years, though, I can read these tests myself and know when to go to a doc to change the meds I am taking. Hope this is helpful to you

  • skc636

    Aaron, no matter what the topic is your writing is always thought provoking and well written.  This article brought back thoughts of the time following my divorce. I took adult tennis lessons. The instructor kept saying hit it harder and hitting  that ball harder felt so good. And every summer since it continues to feel good. Since that experience was before the days of brain research, it was only later that science gave words to my experience.  So I agree with the post that physical exercise has a place on life’s journey.

    The lyrics to that song have taken on new meaning for me, Aunt Sandy   

  • Axle

    yes… I understand exactly…each small step is an effort…seemingly so pathetic that even the step seems unworthy of credit…I/we are actually standing  in our own way… of recovering our old lives…our feelings of worthlessness hold us hostage…feelings of worthlessness keep us from having any expectations…living goes on because our humanity remains… other people would be inconvenienced by our departure…   

  • Joe-rezac

    I know what it is like to live like this. Just search for something. I know that therebisn’t anything like hope but if you find something that changes your state of mind even a bit go for it. Play paintball, go to a strip club for the hell of it. I hope you have some friends because I’ve found that sometimes they can help. Dig deeper than yourself and ask yourself how you want to die.

  • Prisonerovsociety

    I just feel tired. Drained by a life surrounded by mean and or decietful people. I never even get mad anymore, just real sad.

  • Prisonerovsociety

    I see too much. Too deep. Sometimes I wish I was mentaly handycaped. They say ignorance is bliss…

    Sounds like a happy place to me.

  • Shshshshsh

    S

  • Jay

    I am only 16 and I have been battling depression for five years now. I was never molested, raped, abused, nothing. However I have spent a good portion of my teen years in hospitals and mental clinics for multiple problems. I truly believe this will never go away. I am scarred for life, no one believes me anymore, I am done with this battle. I feel defeated. Medications have not worked, I have tried so many. I have seen so many doctors and treatment centers. I give up.

  • http://www.aaronkrager.com AaronKrager

    Jay,

    I truly understand. I am sorry that you have suffered for so long at such a young age. It simply is not fair. 

    It often seems that we suffer alone in our depression. I am sure during your time in and out of hospitals/clinics you have realized that you are not alone in the struggle. Millions of people feel the pain and agony from this terrible affliction. Truly.

    I believe you when you say it may never go away and that it has scared you.  As you read above, my depression feels like it has to set me free (death) in order for it end.

    I wrote the post nearly nine months ago and I still do not see the end. I do not know what the future holds nor do I know if I will ever overcome this. But I am still here. The horrific pain, sorrow, agony, anger and so much more that I’ve felt in the last nine months (and the time prior to writing this) set my mind, body, and soul on fire. It hurts. 

    Please reach out to a professional. You’ve spoken with many already. There is someone or something out there that can help ease the pain. Even just a little can prove worthwhile.

    You can email me at ajk(at)aaronkrager.com to take this to a more private platform. I’d also advise calling the suicide prevention hotline if you feel like you are strongly considering giving up in the most literal of senses. One number to call is 800-273-8255.

    Peace,
    Aaron

  • Melel1968

    Jay ~ Please don’t feel like there is no answer to your problem..you may not have met the right Dr or tried the right medication for you..or not have been diagnosed properly. Don’t believe the  “Inner Battle” we so call it as “Depression”Because It’s really a ”Evil” that lies to us all and takes u down a long dark alley..giving it the Power it needs to survive on and exist in u. This is why you need people in your corner to help you thru and a good counselor does that. Their able to take the misconceptions of the World that you keep in Focus and turn it around to Truth for you. You are every bit worth the work and I don’t know if you believe in a Higher Power but I do, I will pray that you can find comfort in knowing that God is with you because YOU are a child of GOD.  He knows your hurting, as a teen the world can be so confusing and feel alone. Your not alone, everyone has been in a situation of anxiety or depression one time in their lives, maybe mild or severe. Some won’t adimit it because of the stigma, others will realize that we’re ALL HUMAN! God Created us that way..Keep fighting the fight..As David fought Goliath..this is your Goliath..take everday as a battle and slowly win it day by day as you make it thru..it’s a process..not everyday is going to be a good day..but with the love of family, friends and good people ..counselors..you can get through this.. U can always send me a message thru this ,we get all his feeds..I will keep u in my prayers..Mel

  • Laurie_jean61

     Hi Jay
    my name is Laurie and Aaron is my only son. I am also one who has dealt with mild depression and to be honest most of my life. For years I tried to find strength in my faith to bring me through the toughest times. I have had many long conversations with with the Lord to give me strength and resilience to bring me through the darkest hours of my life. For years I went through life thinking I could not show my weakness. It was not until I was blessed with my son who has struggled and fought to overcome and live with depression that I decided to seek help myself. The strength of others can lift you up to a new high. My most sincere and deepest prayer today and for days to come will be that you respond to these post. Please fight for YOU because you are worth it. You are loved by many.

    It is just sometimes we as parents are not perfect and need to seek education and information to go the next step in helping those we love most in our lives, our children. May God give to guidance and strength in your time of need. I will keep you in my prayers!

    Laurie

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