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Essay on Personal Narrative: Living Like Eeyore

It was a Tuesday in February when it first happened. Unexpectantly waking up in the morning, realizing that the bottle of pills taken the previous night did not do what the Internet said they would. When you are someone like me, actions and thoughts like this occur on a daily basis. Nobody wants to live this way, constantly dreading each day and hoping the next will bring a stable supply of neurotransmitters like serotonin or dopamine. These chemicals in the brain, when in excess or in insufficient amount, cause depression.

As a person with dysthymia (Eeyore Depression), everyday life is a challenge; simple tasks become strenuous, thoughts become askew from random triggers, and being understood by others is a rarity. Since the level of the neurotransmitters differs from day to day, each day is not the same as the previous. The difficulties in everyday life can only be understood by comparison. People with stable neurotransmitter levels perform and execute tasks equivalent to first world countries. However, people with unstable neurotransmitter levels, when given the same task, work at the rate of a third world country.

The time it takes to complete a task is significantly longer for someone with depression. Depression was a common factor among the parents in Jonathan Kozol’s novel, Fire in the Ashes. Most of these adults have been subjugated to violence that has resulted in their homelessness and unemployment. Vicky, an unemployed and homeless mother of two, describes life with depression as “psychological and physical exhaustion” that makes her become “zombie-like” and feel like she “was walkin’ in [her] sleep” (Kozol 14).

On average, “zombie-like” is the best way to describe how I feel as I am going through my day. Since the body is sluggish and will not work with as much strength or speed and the mind is often absent, simple every day tasks become exhausting and challenging. Before I knew about dysthymia, I often wondered why my thoughts could change drastically in a split second. Seemingly unexpectedly my thoughts can travel from schoolwork or television into complex notions from Sir Isaac Newton.

What I later discover is that certain words or actions can evoke a state of metacognitive thinking similar to the content in this quotation from Sir Isaac Newton: I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoothe pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me. At the moment I am still unsure which words or actions change the way I think, and it should also be noted that my thoughts transcend the concepts of this quotation and always make a turn to the dark side.

Without medication, dysthymia is a mild yet permanent depression; depressing and suicidal thoughts always occur during my metacognitive state. Even though anti-depressants like Prozac can help people with depression, I choose not to take them. Anti-depressants aid in the stability of neurotransmitters in the brain; they solve the sluggish feeling and change the way one thinks, eliminating depressing and suicidal thoughts. Even though this sounds like a victory for the person suffering from depression, the results are often temporary.

When I was taking Prozac, the first couple of days were blissful; I was vibrant and radiating bliss. However as time progressed, I became depressed again and my symptoms escalated. Taking Prozac was temporarily effective but I did not like feeling my thoughts change when I took Prozac, like literally feeling my thoughts change from morbidity to bliss. It is a frightening experience, not knowing if thoughts are really yours or if they are simply produced by medication. When I stopped taking Prozac, I did not know how long it would take for it all to be out of my system.

This quotation from Ralph Ellison’s novel, Invisible Man, best illustrates my rational after ending the use of Prozac: “When I discover who I am, I’ll be free. ” I had to find myself again, even though ‘myself’ included dysthymia and being misunderstood, but I was okay with that as long as I could think for myself. I have yet to meet any one that understands me. When someone says that they do, in my heart I know that they did not. Even other people with depression, we rarely understand every aspect of each other’s depression.

I have gotten used to being misunderstood, I occupy my time trying to please others and faking smiles. “I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me,” (Ellison 1). It is easier for people to act like they do not see the pain, the struggle, or any problem, than to address the difficulties in my life or people like me. Even the woman that gave birth to me refuses to acknowledge the full extent of my disability. Being understood is difficult when I myself do not understand why I am as I am. It is simpler to act as if nothing is wrong when in the presence of others.

When I try to understand and be myself with dysthymia, “I was never more hated than when I tried to be honest. Or when, even as just now I’ve tried to articulate exactly what I felt to be the truth. No one is satisfied,” (Ellison) no one understands. With dysthymia, I have become an invisible man that is rarely understood. I struggle through life like a gloomy donkey following a bear around, slowly but surely. I understand a lot about life, but not why I was given life. The contradiction with depression is wanting to be alone, but needing not to be.

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