A fixer-upper / Para refaccionar

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

ANYONE WHO’S READ MY BLOG for a while knows I live with clinical depression. I’ve had it most of my life but wasn’t diagnosed or treated until I was over 30.

I had a first-grade teacher (a tall redhead whom I adored; her name was Mrs. Wiener — seriously) who wrote and told my parents I was “a fine boy and an excellent student, but he needs help with his emotional problems.” I found the note and my report cards in my father’s night table after he died. When I showed it to my mother, she snapped, “She didn’t know what she was talking about!” I was already on medication for depression. I honestly don’t know what would have been done all those years ago that wouldn’t have made things worse.

Not everyone saw the depressed parts of me but I was a seething mess inside — raging, jealous, resentful, unreasonable, insecure, hopeless, dishonest, dissatisfied. Sometimes it showed; sometimes I hid it well.

I have been consistently on anti-depressants for about 10 years now. On and off them for many years prior. I would regularly decide I was fine and didn’t need them anymore. Within a year, I was crashing again. It took me ages to listen to my doctors who asked, “If you were diabetic, would you not take your insulin?” Well, I am now diabetic (thanks to both my grandmothers) but I don’t take insulin. However, I do take a pill twice a day. No argument there.

I know lifestyle is important. Staying fit, keeping mind and body active, eating well, avoiding alcohol and drugs. But many who haven’t lived with depression don’t understand that doing all that doesn’t stop the depression and sometimes it doesn’t make one bit of difference.

I’ve been having crashing depressions lately. If you don’t like my mood, just wait a few minutes. Anti-depressant medications are known to “poop out” (the medical term) and it may be time for me to start on something new. Being a fixer-upper myself, I wonder if that’s why I’m always drawn to them — like the one pictured today. I saw it on a walk last week and immediately wanted it.

By the way, I’m the fifth from the left, Dwight D. Eisenhower was president, and he’s joined on the bulletin board by John F. Kennedy, Richard M. Nixon, and Nkita Kruschev.


CUALQUIERA QUE HAYA LEÍDO MI blog por un tiempo sabe que vivo con depresión clínica. Lo he tenido la mayor parte de mi vida, pero no me diagnosticaron ni me trataron hasta que tuve más de 30 años.

Tuve una maestra de primer grado (una pelirroja alta a la que adoraba; su nombre era Sra. Wiener — en realidad) que escribió y le dijo a mis padres yo era “un buen chico y un excelente estudiante, pero necesita ayuda con sus problemas emocionales”. Encontré la nota y mis boletas de calificaciones en la mesa de noche de mi padre después de su muerte. Cuando se lo mostré a mi madre, ella espetó: “¡Ella no sabía de lo que estaba hablando!” Ya estaba tomando medicamentos para la depresión. Sinceramente, no sé qué se habría hecho hace tantos años que no hubiera empeorado las cosas.

No todos vieron mis partes deprimidas, pero yo era un desastre hirviente por dentro: furiosa, celosa, resentida, irrazonable, insegura, desesperanzada, deshonesta, insatisfecha. A veces se mostraba; a veces lo escondía bien.

He estado constantemente tomando antidepresivos durante aproximadamente 10 años. Dentro y fuera de ellos durante muchos años antes. Solía ​​decidir que estaba bien y que ya no los necesitaba. Dentro de un año, estaba chocando de nuevo. Me tomó mucho tiempo escuchar a mis médicos que me preguntaban: “Si fuera diabético, ¿no se inyectaría la insulina?” Bueno, ahora soy diabético (gracias a mis dos abuelas) pero no uso insulina. Sin embargo, tomo una pastilla dos veces al día. No hay argumento allí.

Sé que el estilo de vida es importante. Mantenerse en forma, mantener la mente y el cuerpo activos, comer bien, evitar el alcohol y las drogas. Pero muchos de los que no han vivido con depresión no entienden que hacer todo eso no detiene la depresión y, a veces, no hace ninguna diferencia.

He estado teniendo depresiones estrepitosas últimamente. Si no te gusta mi estado de ánimo, espera unos minutos. Se sabe que los medicamentos antidepresivos “hacen popó” (el término médico) y puede que sea hora de que empiece con algo nuevo. Siendo yo mismo un reparador superior, me pregunto si es por eso que siempre me siento atraído por ellos, como el que se muestra hoy. Lo vi en un paseo la semana pasada e inmediatamente lo quise.

Por cierto, soy el quinto desde la izquierda, Dwight D. Eisenhower fue presidente, y se le unieron en el tablón de anuncios John F. Kennedy, Richard M. Nixon, y Nkita Khruschev.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

34 thoughts on “A fixer-upper / Para refaccionar”

  1. Mitchell, I admire you. Thank you for sharing your ups and downs, your gifts, your terrific friends, and your beautiful home.

  2. Looking at all those bright, smiling faces you can’t but wonder how their lives have turned out. It sounds like your teacher was pretty perceptive, but like you said, in those days there probably wasn’t much they could do for you without making things worse.

    My 21 year-old grandson is on the autism spectrum and he’s had several changes already to his medications to help elevate mood, etc. (He had a seizure a couple of years ago, so meds. for that have been added to the mix.) If what you’re taking is no longer working, don’t give up. There must be others or combinations of others that can help you. Wishing you all the best!

    1. TexasTrailerParkTrash:
      I wonder the same thing. I did find one recently on Facebook. He was a lawyer, is now retired, and has a large extended family. (That’s what is public on his account.) There are a few others I remember and am curious about.

      I’ve been on many different meds over the years. I’ve only hit two that didn’t work at all for me, so I’m hoping to find something good again — which reminds me, that won’t happen if I don’t call the psychiatrist!

  3. Thank you for sharing this, Mitchell. You know yourself very well. Hope whatever you decide to do will make you feel better for longer periods of time.

  4. You may be a fixer upper, but you’ve got great bones! The struggle must get very tiring, but I am glad you have been able to dig deep and keep at it. Your strength is amazing.
    You could have stolen that photo from my album! I would have been the little girl with the appliquéd tulip on her dress. I picked you out right away.

    1. Wilma:
      My mother said I had the bones of royalty. Fine and strong. I later learned her great-great-grandfather was a beggar!

      I wish I could remember that little girl’s name. I remember her face. She was a sweet kid. Did you live in Massapequa?!?

  5. I’m sorry you struggle with depression, but appreciate your candidness about it. Every story helps de-stigmatize it. I battle with anxiety and medicate for it. I hope you continue to have more good days than bad. *hug*

    1. Sassybear:
      Anxiety is something else I struggle with sometimes. SO glad you have medication that works. That can be devastating.

  6. There should be no stigma attached to taking prescribed medication for any reason! I hope your doctor can recommend a new, zippier Rx for you, if it’s time to switch things up.

    Oh, class photos from elementary school! I have a few like those too. I wonder if they still take class photos anymore?

    1. Debra:
      I have a couple other class photos. I, too, wonder if they still take them. I only ever see the individual ones from family and friends.

  7. Walk over this way a.n.y. afternoon for a cup of cunt coffee. We also have cunt tea and cunt cakes! We would love to give you hugs!!!!!

    1. Kathleen:
      You WILL see my one of these days. It’s a 45-minute walk from here. I do that all the time!

  8. I will always applaud your sharing your story because when you do you might help one person, or more, and that’s a good thing.
    I think everyone suffers some form of depression; I do, and though I would consider it mild, I know when it hits and I know a ‘Take a walk’ or a ‘Take a nap’ or a ‘Get over it’ doesn’t help.
    Glad you have found your solutions and know that if it works for you it’s for you and it’s good.

    PS I love that fixer upper. Oh the things I could do ,,,,

    1. Bob:
      Thanks. I hope it makes a difference to someone.

      I have seen so many fixer uppers that I fantasize about. There’s a beautiful house nearby right across the street from the beach, with a pool and lots of property, and even a guest house and other out buildings. It looks like it would need an ENORMOUS amount of work. But, I’ll bet we could pick it up for €1 million. (And, yes, I fantasize about it every time I walk by.) One of these days, I’ll share photos. It’s behind a high wall, so I can’t get the best views. (There is Google maps, however!)

  9. I picked you out in the photo before reading this, handsome is lifelong. Thank you for sharing, good docs, better living through modern chemistry

  10. Oh Scoot, where to start? Okay, hugs ((Scoot)). Depression is a bitch and I love slapping her. Fifth from the left, ha! As if we couldn’t pick you out of line up from birth! Keep up the fine fight, sweetie. Being a fixer upper is so much better than being scheduled for demolition. Don’t ask how I know 🙂

    1. Deedles:
      I like that! At least I’m not scheduled for demolition; although aren’t we all, eventually?

      1. Well, it’s not the best of metaphors, but I was trying not to say ‘self’ demolition. That kind I’d come close to on several occasions before turning 18. Now I’m more on the murderous side. Funnily, I’ve only been this way since BH retired in December 🙂 No worries, I still haven’t bought a bat! Not making light of things. Humor has kept me alive for years. It’s driven everybody else nuts, though.

      2. Deedles:
        Well, your humor has NOT driven me nuts. And YOU make life worth living. That email I sent with the video, it turns out, was in response to this comment about BH’s retirement!

  11. Years ago, I read somewhere that “no one gets out of childhood unscathed” and I think that’s true for most people whether or not they realize it. Thank Jeebus for Swiss chocolate!

    1. Tundra:
      So true! And, yes, thank goddess for Swiss chocolate. I had three pieces yesterday. Have so far abstained today (but plan to have a piece after lunch).

  12. I love that class picture! And yes, as I understand it, meds may need to be adjusted or changed over time as the body gets used to them. It may be time for a tune-up! Sorry you’ve been dealing more with “moods” (not to trivialize them) lately.

    1. Steve:
      I used to read Mad Magazine and I loved the stamps that were often included in the back. My favorite when I was 11 was “Watch out. You-Know-Who’s in a bad mood today.”

  13. At the end of the day, we are all fixer uppers. Admire your willingness to talk about it. As the mother of one son with bipolar (mania/depression), I’ve had a front row seat to the devastation that untreated mental health issues wreak on the individual (and their families). Finding decent mental health practitioners–whether psychiatrist or psychologist or therapist–is one of THE hardest things to get access to in the US (and probably most everywhere else). Sought treatment repeatedly for him in his teens and then spent years (once he hit 18) trying to get help for him when he didn’t want it, but clearly needed it–driving around trying to find him in the middle of the night–phone calls from police in other cities–driving to New England when he was found wandering up there–multiple hospitalizations. The stories are endless. And that’s just my family. Thankfully, he’s been ‘stable’ for about 10 years (in mid 40s)–unable to work, had heart attack at 35 and suffers terrible anxiety despite all his meds–but fortunately has a wife who loves him and still has the same psychiatrist who frankly saved his life (almost.did not come out of the last psychosis). I live in dread of her retirement because I know she is the only doctor he trusts. So, yes, one way or the other, we are all fixers uppers–in need of love, tender care and a few repairs here and there. Thinking of you and hoping for better days.

    1. Mary:
      Thanks for your insights and understanding. I am so glad your son has been doing well for 10 years. That’s major. And that he has a good life after so many challenges and heartache. It must be such a huge relief to you. Parents have no clue what may come when they have children. My heart goes out to you for all those years … and for now. I’m currently at least not in a constant hole. It’s more like a kiddie roller coaster. I WILL be fine … dammit! Sending you hugs!

  14. I understand the challenges with depression several of my family are under some type of doctors care but it is always huge challenges. It is beyond hard to find help.
    Hugs from Tucson.

    1. Anon in Tucson:
      Each time we moved I had to find a new psychiatrist for my prescriptions. That’s a lot of psychiatrists. I’ve had three I trusted and thought were good.

  15. Parents too often have an idealized notion of what they want their children to be, and a note like that from a teacher, well, it’s less than ideal I’m afraid. But that doesn’t make the parent right.

    1. Kirk:
      You’re so right. I got the impression from the note and my mother’s reaction that it wasn’t the first time the teacher had brought it up.

    1. Urspo:
      I didn’t even know there was an English word for desrick. If you translate “shanty”, one option is chabola.

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