Monday, June 02, 2014

Depression. The New Normal.

Well I bit the bullet yesterday and flat out asked Thomas if he is suicidal. This is always one of those scary questions that you don't want to hear the answer to when your loved one is depressed. I worry so much about him when he's depressed and I know how quickly he can reach that point. I did ask him though and his answer was a confident, "no, not at all!" For that I am so thankful. It has been just over a year since his last hospitalization and I'm trying to put as much time between hospitalizations as possible. I don't know what the future holds for him and if I can keep him out of the hospital and home with me then we're doing good. Besides, the hospital in my town is a huge warehouse where they keep people their requisite 72 hours and then dump them out. They seem to want no part of helping someone become truly stable. When Thomas was last there, the vast majority of the people there were just waiting to be moved to our Godforsaken state hospital, a place I pray Thomas will never end up. He's terrified of our regular hospital, I can't imagine putting him in a state run facility. I'm so down on state hospitals because years ago when I was studying psychology in college I had to do a work program at the Eastern Washington State Hospital and oh my gosh did that place leave an impression on me. Even working there I didn't want to be there so I can imagine what it must have felt like for the patients. So, for my boy, I pray there will be better options for him if he ever needs long term hospitalization.

What's bothering me about Thomas now is that his depression is increasing even more and becoming more frequent. I went in to his room yesterday and I told him that it is said that anger is a cover for depression and he seemed to agree with that but then since I said that, he has switched from anger to full on depression. I try to figure out what is the lesser of the two evils and based on how I watch him attempt to cope with anger (which is not very well at all--in fact it's kind of scary), I think I'd rather he be depressed. Somehow helping that, for me as his mom, is easier to deal with than the anger. When he's angry he shuts down, when he's depressed he talks and as long as he's talking I feel like I have some power over the situation and can help.

Last night was his second shift in a row and he went in to it with a depression level of 5/10. Again, that is high for Thomas. I'm a bit taken aback by the number because it wasn't that long ago he was happily shooting down all symptom 1-10 questions with a 0 or a 1. Now here we are back at a 5 with something. He will work again tonight so this will be really putting him to the test. Someone here on the page suggested that he finds a distraction for himself before work. I think that is a good idea as does his therapist and we've been working on that where the anger is concerned. Now that we're working with depression though we're going to need some new tactics. The thing is, he does distract himself all the time. He's always on his computer watching YouTube videos or playing games which I think would keep his mind busy. Then again, at least for me, I can "keep busy" when I am depressed but I still feel it in my gut which puts a pall over everything I do. I imagine it's not much different for him.

Today is a new day though so we'll see how it goes. My biggest concern is that he works so much this week and that will sustain his depression for much longer than I am comfortable with for him. With the switch from anger to depression, I am going to have to put some thought to how to help him now that it's changed.

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