Monday, August 8, 2011

Depression: What's it like? Plus a little good news too...

Hey Everyone,

I thought I'd update you on the innerworkings of Andy Lipman. I haven't done that in a while. I haven't talked in the third person in a while either. Ha Ha!

First though, some outstanding news. The Zucker Foundation and Wish for Wendy are working together to find a cure. The Zucker Foundation is going to match up to $100,000 at Wish for Wendy this year so if we raise $100,000, the Zucker Foundation will give us another $100,000. This gives us a chance to break our annual high and also allows us to raise more money for a cure that appears to be closer than ever. Thank you to the Zucker Family Foundation and my aunt, Anita Zucker.

I'm excited for Andrea as her USTA team continues to dominate. They are now in the second round of the playoffs. Avery starts kindergarten next week. Ethan starts preschool the following week and turns 3 this week. I will be 38 on September 4th. What is the significance? It will be the first time I have been ahead of the median life expectancy for cystic fibrosis. My softball team begins their quest for a championship tonight as we have the first round of the playoffs. This has been my best season since I was in my twenties. I've had 11 hits in my last 12 at-bats. I hadn't hit a triple in years. I have 3 this season and an inside the park homerun. It's kind of crazy. All of a sudden I've discovered the Fountain of Youth.

Now let me tell you how I've been feeling. Well, I've been seeing my therapist for more than 18 months now and he tells me that I'm doing great and to keep working on stuff. He also tells me that one of my issues is survivor's guilt. I've never heard of the expression but apparently it is a psychological term that means I feel guilty for still being here and my friend Rusty being gone. I still think about Rusty often but I try not to focus as much on talking about him in the blog. He was a very special guy who had a very profound effect on me, most of which I didn't realize until he was already gone. The pretrial hearing for Rusty's case begins tomorrow. I will be following it very closely. I pray that justice prevails.

What's it like to feel clinical depression as it is officially called? When I'm depressed, I think a lot about how horrible everything is. I feel like life is going along just fine and all of a sudden I hit a Dead End sign. I can't seem to find my way out. I start thinking about death and what's the point of what I do in life because one day everything will go to black. It's morbid. I know that. It's a sickness really. I go into these moments where I get crazy too. The months that I'm on my TOBI (like this month), I'm always rushing. I have a plan in my head. This is what a morning and evening in my head is like:

I have to do my therapy soon before I'm running late. I don't want to leave Andrea and the kids to go downstairs and do it for the next few hours. I hope they don't think I'm avoiding them. I have to do it now.

After I do my nasal treatments (5 minutes) and do my forty minutes of therapy (half of which are spent running in place), I spend the next 20 minutes working out (in the evening, I clean up or play with the kids or sometimes I shoot a few games of pool). After those 20 minutes, I do my 40 minute TOBI session. I work my meditation period into my TOBI. I usually do the serenity prayer and pray for the people I love or worry about. In the morning, as soon as my TOBI is over, I rush to shower and get ready and leave for work. In the evening, I rush to be with Andrea and the kids if they're not already asleep. The other night, I was shaking, wanting to get stuff done. It's not healthy and I need to just relax. It's difficult though. Sometimes I feel like I'm missing out on everything when I'm doing my therapy. I think that started when I was a kid and my cousins got to go to the beach while my parents did my postural drainage. I'd get there and they'd already found shells, built sand castles or swam in the waves. It was a never ending feeling of being behind.

The other thing about my therapy is hearing the TV. My machine is so loud that I probably should use closed captioning but instead I've learned to read lips while watching my shows. Fortunately, most of the time I'm watching the Braves so I don't need the commentators. I can do that myself.

I had a dark moment the other night while I watching "The Lovely Bones" with Mark Wahlberg about a girl who is killed and views the world from Heaven. I started thinking about death and being in a dark place and feeling helpless. Immediately I turned it off and coped by listening to some music.

I really do appreciate the friendships I have. I have some great people in my life but it saddens me the friendships that I've lost. I realize though that if I'm not willing to work on that friendship or that other person is not willing to put in any effort or neither of us feels the need to save the friendship then it's just not worth saving. Recently I realized that one of my most sacred friendships is just not worth fighting for anymore and that really hurts. That's life I suppose. Relationships change over time but that doesn't make the ones I lose less disappointing.

"Why do bad things happen to good people?"

I've been thinking about that expression lately. "Bad" things happen to everyone, but those people have some good memories too. I think about Rusty and how he got to meet both his children and marry a wonderful woman. I think about my uncle Jerry. He got to meet his grandchild before he passed. I think about Wendy. She got to see the world and while it was only 16 days, she got to meet her mommy and daddy and that's a wonderful gift. She also is going to be associated with a cure for CF one day. I plan on keeping that promise to her.

I'm so lucky if I look at all of the good things that have happened to me. I married a wonderful woman. I have 2 beautiful kids. I have great parents, a terrific sister, generous in-laws and amazing friends. I just recently became the first cystic fibrosis patient to be on the Georgia Chapter Board of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

I choose to look at all of these positive things and not worry so much about the negative. I can control my mindset so I'd prefer to be happy and look fondly upon my world. There have been and are going to be more "bad" things that happen to me but it can't take away from everything I've been blessed to be a part of. I know that but sometimes I need to remind myself of that fact.

Please stay positive and know that "good" things happen to "ALL" people. We just have to recognize them, remember them and use those memories on those "tougher" days.

I wish everyone a good week or at least I wish everyone a positive outlook.


1 comment:

  1. "most of the time I'm watching the Braves so I don't need the commentators. I can do that myself" ANDY! When we have a cure for CF one of the first things we need to do is get u n Valerie together to watch a game! She always says what the commentators say, BEFORE they say it :) Yall can be the commentators, and get a few more folks who have CF in their lives to b Braves fans! LOL! :)
    Now, seriously...Happy late birthday Andrea. I do hope everyone does great at the beginning of this school year, it sounds busy. I remember when I had 3, in 3 different schools. A word of advice, it is busy BUT at least once a week take time to make a special memory. It becomes so routine, and sometimes there are not special memories that just occur. I am seeing my son move to live on campus this year, and in the back of my mind I know Valerie will go next year. I look back at the days of me driving them to and from school and I miss that so much! I'd give almost anything to go back and do it over and slow down a little bit. I understand the part about "why am I still here and what am I supposed to do"...well, paraphrased a bit, in more or my own words, but I get it. Valerie and I have this very conversation often. She wonders why some of her friends are not here anymore, or why some of the ones who got new lungs are and they don't appreciate them and why didn't they go to someone else. It is amazing the conversations you have with a person who has CF, they know and realize so much more than any other person I've ever met.
    SO...I really didn't want to bring you down, I wanted to post a happy I will do that now :)
    Let me thank you for what you are doing for me and my child! The hard work you are doing is paying off, and you are so kind to give so much of yourself to help us, too. We love you, consider you our "Cyster" (broster sounds not good) soo you are a member of our family. Valerie is going through a new phase in life, again, and spends lots of time thinking. It seems she is not talking to me as much as she was, and then she starts talking again. I am in lost territory here and rely on reading your posts to help me figure out what she might be thinking. Most of the time she has matched your thoughts about CF and life. I wonder, is it like a cycle of seasons? It sure seems to be, like at Christmas she thinks of this more, and in the winter it's something else. What do ya think?
    I guess I'd better close for now, before I write a blog. Ha...we do NOT need me to do that.!
    OH...AND GO BRAVES!!!!!!
    Love ya Cyster,
    Valerie and Sue Pettit