When I published my story about receiving magnetic therapy for my depression in the Austin Chronicle (and, in slightly modified form, in the Fort Worth Weekly), I held back. Mainly for the sake of keeping matters within those assigned 4,000 words.
Unnecessary paragraphs attempting to tell my story from the beginning were clipped before I filed the story. Intimate personal details weren’t germane to a story about an evolving new form of depression treatment. The treatment was the subject, not me.
“My first panic attack struck when I was 15. It hit with the suddenness and weight of an ocean dropping on top of me. … I wandered the house until I found my mom at the back door. Grunts and gestures inspired her to place me on her lap like an infant and rock and sing.”
“It took another dozen years before I was diagnosed with depression and offered Prozac for the first time. Childhood trauma, likely sexual abuse, was suspected by the variety of therapists I sought out over the years. While several children in my Virginia hometown were abused and a neighbor jailed, I had no memories … only phantom pains, phobias, and recurring nightmares.”
The place my suffering was formed was a painful one. It in no way was my total reality (I recall a damn happy childhood for the most part), but this thing — whatever its origin — came to color everything; to corrupt each moment just enough to make life a hard march.
I’ve had some months of profound relief thanks to sTMS, but after months of steadily tightening depression, I notice familiar voices again. One such voice told me this morning as I was making breakfast, “Why won’t anyone help me?”
It was not my adult voice, not even about today. It was a helpless plea from far away. A voice from another place. A place where I was alone, perhaps, and no one would help.
I share it now, because as useless as I have come to feel again in the outflow of this paralyzing sadness, I have one thing I can still offer: I can endeavor to tell the truth.
The voice — one that inhabits a loneliness and a guilt that is bottomless (trust me, I’ve explored it) — is part of my truth. Maybe I just need to confess that it is still with me.
I know many who struggle with depression and anxiety and the like have these voices from other times that echo from beyond. Voices that seemingly can’t be pacified, whatever therapeutic approach we choose.
I have come to believe it is an emotional echo rather than a subconscious-inhabiting childhood self that some insist is there, still suffering, alone, calling out. For me it is a dead voice that is will resound whatever my state, whatever my response. It is something I simply can’t reach, and if I could, would not be able to dismantle.
I’m wondering about your voices, though. What they say. And if they are communicative, rational.