Updated: Jun 28
I'm not sure at what point my husband, Abel, named my illness, but in his own unique way of separating the person he loved from the disease he hated, it became Ed: Extreme depression. Ed is the "third person" in our marriage. Ed eats with us, watches TV with us, and goes on vacation with us. Sometimes Ed occupies more space than the air in the room. Ed is an asshole, to be clear. Even the dogs don't like Ed. The cats are neutral.
Abel recognizes Ed by the interactions we have. When I label myself as a failure for a mistake I've made or list reasons I'm not capable of accomplishing a task, Abel stops the conversation to say, "Hello, Ed."
Ed hates being called out. Like suddenly connecting to the Internet, my cognitive functions go online. I recognize that what I'm feeling isn't necessarily accurate and now I have to choose to continue in my line of thinking, or engage in the challenge of trying to break out of the cycle. Honestly, I still mostly choose option one.
As a spouse, Abel took on the responsibility of reading books about depression and seeking out and attending support groups for spouses. He put in the effort to figure out how to love someone who struggles to love himself. He's listened intently as I've expressed my fears and anxiety. He's waited patiently when I've gone into a cocoon he couldn't penetrate. And he's held me lovingly when I've begged for him to let me die. He's taught me that I'm more than the disease of depression.
I am kind, funny, compassionate, curious, personable, and intelligent. I am passionate about education, learning, and science. I am an introvert with extrovert tendencies. I am a hell of a musician. I love my family, my children, and our high maintenance doodles.
I am more than depression. So are you.
For those of us who struggle with depression, we can't ignore the life altering ways in which it affects us and our families. Depression can sideline ambitions and plans, negatively impact relationships, and push us into dark places where living no longer feels like a choice.
On the good days, we live, love, and laugh. We hope our families remembers the good days. We hope they know that just because our brains have locked us in a prison for now, doesn't mean we won't return.
Killing ED. The book.
At Abel's suggestion, I started to write an article on the topic of depression for Medium. I'd begun receiving ketamine treatments from my doctor and my thinking had become clearer. I dived head-first into the research and soon discovered there was more information than I could fit into a single article. But I wondered if I would be able to stay focused enough to start writing another book.
Abel reminded me that the beauty and appeal of Killing Ed was that my plan of attack was looking for cure and it is an ongoing process. I write during the good times and come back to writing after the bad times. I'm aware that there will also be times when I'll abandon the project and fight to keep from destroying it. Such is the life of someone struggling with extreme depression.
The Killing Ed blog contains yet unpublished excerpts from the Killing Ed book, as well as information I'm learning in the process. Mental illness is complex and so is the research. Living with the day-to-day struggle of depression is also complex, especially when it includes partners, children, and friends.
I have been fortunate on my personal journey. I have a spouse who loves me fiercely. His sense of self and unusual resiliency has taught me more about love and commitment than I knew existed. The way we've navigated this journey as a couple has been challenging and sometimes unconventional.
As a parent who has depression, with kids now in their early twenties, I'm still working through how to handle the past and present. Like most parents, there are things I wish I had done differently. At the same time, I recognize the reality of depression means some circumstances simply could not have been changed.
Killing Ed is about finding ultimate freedom from depression while learning to live in grace with self-compassion. My journey is not done, but I do hope to one day write the sequal: Ed is Dead. In the meantime, help me build a community of hope, support, and solidarity by signing up to receive notifications about new blogs and upcoming events. Feel free to comment and even reach out if you need to.