Personal Stories - Depression

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“Social situations, including school, were torture. I bulldozed my way through life, including dabbling in alcohol and substance abuse for relief of my anxiety and depression. ”

Not Really a Rebel

I have suffered from social anxiety disorder since I was about 10 years old, or about 34 years. I was a very intelligent child, but when teachers noticed a difference in me, I started trying to be invisible. Social situations, including school, were torture. I bulldozed my way through life, including dabbling in alcohol and substance abuse for relief of my anxiety and depression. I find it very interesting that the disorder is marked by a morbid fear of authority figures. And here I thought I was just being a rebel!

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“Most shocking to me was that my anxiety would never fully go away, although I could recover and learn to live with it.”

Achieving Happiness

I went through some pretty tough times when I had my first full-blown panic attack.

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“Some days are better than others, but that’s okay.”

Beyond the Blues: Dealing With Recurrent Depression

Jan Silver MaguireI experienced my first bout of what I now know was depression when I was 11—uncontrollable crying, not wanting to get out of bed and go to school, and feelings of worthlessness. I was more sensitive than ever about being “left out” and the mercurial slights that characterize preteen girlhood. Nevertheless, I remained the consummate perfectionist. For instance, anything less than an “A” in school would validate my sense of inadequacy.

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“I never considered that an underlying condition was hampering my ability to handle the stress. I thought, this is just how life is. ”

Living at the Speed of Life

“I’m back!” That was the phrase I’d said to myself starting in middle school when my malaise lifted and a cycle of joy came around. I seemed to live in a world moving in slow motion. It was only when “I was back” that I returned to normal life speed. This slow-to-normal oscillation went on well into my thirties. But I had no idea I was depressed.

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“Dude, what’s your problem?”

No Shame in Having Depression and Anxiety

I have learned that anxiety and depression go hand-in-hand, and there is no shame in having either — although it’s tough for many people to get their arms around that concept. When I struggled with both in my last couple years as the Texas Rangers’ baseball play-by-play announcer, the few people in whom I confided expressed genuine shock. “Depressed? About what? You’ve got a great job! Legions of adoring fans! A wonderful family! Dude, what’s your problem?”

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“Eventually, I began a tailspin that I am convinced led directly to losing my job, further intensifying these unidentified, uncontrollable, and fearful feelings.”

Persistence Out of Anxiety and Depression

I had my first experience with severe long-term depression at age 23 when a series of events converged simultaneously. I couldn't sleep, and my lack of appetite had me losing such a significant amount of weight that I feared I would end up in the hospital. I forced myself to eat and eventually gained back the weight, and later an appetite. Being on my own at this age in the late 1980s with limited knowledge of depression, I wouldn't realize what was happening to me until years later.

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