|Jesse Jackson Jr.|
|The Legend, the Dad, Jesse Jackson Sr.|
Our biggest local news is that Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., son of the legendary political figure and civil rights leader, Jesse Jackson, Sr., is in Arizona receiving intensive medical treatment in a residential facility. Rumors are flying that the congressman is there for alcohol or drug addiction, but the official word is much less exciting. He's suffering from a mood disorder.
It was really annoying yesterday, if you listened to the news on radio. Every third sentence had to be about this story. Forget privacy, forget respect. He's suffering from depression, and he can't work and why can't it be left at that? This shouldn't be the most catastrophic or interesting story of the day! Hasn't some terrorist been stopped mid-air in China?
Then today it comes up in therapy not once, but twice, patient's versions of: I knew, he had it! I could just tell. One week gaunt, the next week perky. Then listless, then . . .nothing about Jesse in the news for months! And now, THIS!
And I realized that it is a good thing. It is a good thing that psychiatric illness is normalized on the news, that we can talk about it, that people recognize depression, especially, as a fairly common illness, not something that can be helped if only we (a) just worked out! (b) ate right, (c) married into the right family, etc., etc. It happens to everyone, depression, which is what these broadcasts recognize. Or more importantly, to me, a cutting edge population, the clinical population, feels less alone. They are the people in the know, and they are telling us, what's what. Delicious.
(2) Adult Asperger's and Depression
|This one explains so much!|
And yet, like other AAA patients, his sense of humor has me on the floor.
He shows me a link to a tee shirt he found online that says, I'm not rude. . .I have Asperger's, and he tells me he could never wear it. Too embarrassing. We talk at length about his sense of despair, his inability to hit the mark, socially. his inability to put words on feelings his whole life. He hasn't got feelings so much as rationale. His rationale, and only his, since empathy he tells me, for someone like him, is like Greek to a Jew.
(3) The Runaway Train of Depression
We talk a lot about how depression can feel like a runaway train. Women in particular can't stop the crying, especially if they are suffering before menses, PMS. It's like, sure, we're depressed. But our bodies have to cope with our hormones, too? Or is it all, hormonal. Feels like that, sometimes.
It doesn't matter, really. What matters is the feeling that this is unstoppable, that the tears will never dry, a feeling of loss of control, a feeling of serious crazy. Insanity. What is crazy if not lack of control? Nothing. A person feels as close to insane with these feelings. It is not unlike the insanity people with Asperger's feel, like they are aliens, can't speak this unintelligible language, the language of social cues.
Segue to Asperger's just a moment, because it can be so depressing (my last referral had no idea he had the diagnosis, came in with suicidal ideation). Why do they want to be together in groups! What's with these get-togethers? Ridiculous. This is how it feels to have Asperger's, and this is how it feels under depression.)
Even imitating the natives, it is hard to be one of them-- both conditions. But merely having Asperger's, being unable to read what is expected, not knowing what anyone wants from you if it is not spelled out, a person does feel out of control, a mistake will happen at any moment in a social situation.
And it does. Insanity, not unlike the insanity we feel when we can't "manage" our emotions, especially sadness. We're supposed to be able to do that, right? Manage them! And guess what? Sometimes, that's impossible.
So what is the cure for this craziness? For both crazinesses. For the runaway train, those tears that don't stop? People who are in a relationship can, and often do, ask a partner to hold them. Holding therapy is nothing new. We use it for kids all the time. Kid has a tantrum? Hold him. Kid is sad? Hold him. And let the child determine when it is time to let go.
Same for a woman, or a man, weeping, thinking depression is insanity, off the charts, unstoppable. If she can get someone to hold her, if he can get someone to hold him, it helps.
There's usually a problem with that, however, which is that sometimes the trigger for the tears is something that this partner said, or something not done. So asking for a hug puts a vulnerable individual in a position of potential rejection. They just argued. Timing is bad.
This is where I say, Own the craziness. Just like with Asperger's. Own that you feel out of touch, insane, that you are in a crazy place and it is nobody's fault, least of all that partner's. Even if it is, you don't say that, not if you want to neutralize the fight and start over, get the drug, the feeling of human arms around you.
That's the cure. It really is. One of them, at least.