“Try.” A word consisting of three letters. A small word? No! Why? Because to “try” means to put out an effort to accomplish a specific goal. Go ahead and ask yourself, “how often have I set goals and succeeded? I don’t know about you, but I’ve set many goals over my life time and have been lucky enough to achieve many, but certainly not all. It all has to do with the motivation, desire, capacity and capability to “try.”
In December 2011, after suffering depression and anxiety for over 35 years, I was formally diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder – Severe; and, Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Despite the multitude of psychotropic (anti-depressant) medications and cocktails thereof over many years, I’ve was also diagnosed as being “medication resistant,” because nothing worked. So, after research on my part, and consultation with my psychiatrist, it was suggested that I try electroconvulsive therapy (ECT – otherwise known as “shock therapy”). Well, that didn’t work either.
So, Patty said it was time to get a psychological evaluation by a neuro-psychologist. I did. The result: a diagnosis of Frontotemporal Degeneration (FTD). The doctor’s conclusion was that my frontal lobes are being affected first. He said that the frontal lobes control emotions. Hence, given that this is a physiological issue and not a chemical one, the meds couldn’t ever work to solve my depression.
As time goes by, my emotions are all over the place. I can experience depression, anxiety, irritability, anger, sensory overload and a combination of all in one day’s roller coaster ride. Or, if I’m “lucky,” I can experience just one of those emotions in a day. But, I experience at least one every day.
That’s why it’s important to “TRY.” You ask, “try what?”: anything to help chase the dragon away, at least for a while.
For example, this morning I was experiencing anxiety. It became increasingly stronger as the early morning hours ticked by. So, in an effort to accomplish the goal of getting away from the dragon, I took my daily walk. After approximately one hour of walking, the anxiety increased to such an intensity that I started crying. Yep, I’m walking the trail (which, thankfully was not crowded) and crying out load with tears rolling down my face. I couldn’t stop. So, I called Patty.
She said that she’d come and get me. I told her, “no, I have to fight this and literally get the anxiety out of my chest. In other words, I had to put out the effort to accomplish the goal of getting away from the dragon (in other words), I had to “TRY” by walking it off. As I continued to “try,” I passed a friend, Lorie Burch. She looked at me and asked if I was okay. When she stepped up to me and put her arms around me, I lost it. Lorie held me sobbing on the trail. She was an angel. I called Patty again, who had not left for work yet, and sobbed into the phone. On her way to work, she drove by to check on me. I was still upset, but I told her I was going to keep walking (“trying”). A short time later, my youngest daughter, Ashley, was waiting in her car about a mile away from where Patty stopped me. She was the backup “tow truck” in case I needed to be hauled in. I was still upset, but told her I was going to keep going (“trying”). So, I did.
I finished my walk and then did my weight workout. Guess what? The majority of the anxiety disappeared by the end of my workout. As I write this, I have a miniscule amount of anxiety (not even really worth mentioning).
My point: don’t give into your emotions, if possible, whether you are an FTD’er or his/her family. “TRY” anything that you think might help; but, “TRY!” Anything worth accomplishing requires “trying,” and if you really want to get it, you have to, at the very least, “TRY!”
(Note from Patty as she puts this onto the blog a couple of hours later: Rich slid into severe depression, again, about an hour after his workout. He is now escaping into sleep to try to keep the dragon away. It breaks my heart to watch him be so tortured.)