Dr. Pierre B. Bland
By DR. PIERRE B. BLAND
My writing production has been poor at best this summer, to the consternation of both my editor and myself. Thankfully my editor has been much more understanding than I have been forgiving of my lack of production. As I continue my latest bout with depression, some days, actually many days, it is a task and a challenge just to get through the day, much less with the expectation of being both productive and creative. Writing is always in the back of my mind, but my limited energies are rationed and elsewise utilized.
Besides being cathartic, I enjoy writing. It often times allows me to be frankly honest about my current station in life, but at an arm’s length.
An episode of depression causes one to to take a very close look at life, pain, and futility – real and imagined. The recent high profile suicide of a musician and the near monthly demise of at least one troubled soul via the frequent freight trains which travel through my town tend to magnify my examination of those factors. Anyone who has dealt with significant depression has dealt with the thought and reality of suicide. I would be less than truthful not to count myself in that number.
Back in the summer of 2006, the weather in my head was less than ideal and had been for a while. I was isolated and extremely stressed in what I thought to be my ideal job at an university in the Pacific Northwest. I was seeing a therapist to no avail while the storm in my head intensified. I awoke on the morning of July 4, sat on the side of the bed, and flipped a coin from the bedside table. It came up heads; I proceeded to take 34 OxyContin tablets which were left over from a recent shoulder reconstruction, settled into my rocking chair and awaited the inevitable. I then discovered a strange thing about the word “inevitable;” it is not as straight forward and intransigent as we think. In an unexplained and unexpected moment of clarity, I walked to the kitchen, induced evacuation of my stomach and called 911. To keep my mind on something other than my situation as I awaited assistance, I counted the pills, now scattered about the sink. I kept counting 32 and not the 34 pills I knew I had taken. No problem, my shoulder was pretty sore that morning. I must have slept on it wrong. With time and help, I recovered from that ordeal, learning several lesions in the process.
The first lesson learned was the word inevitable does not mean “certain to happen or unavoidable;” It means whatever God and the universe determines it means. Period. The most salient point learned is to incorporate the concept of “endurance” very intimately into my life. Nothing, not even depression, last forever. With the right tactics and assistance, I have learned to endure my episodes instead of allowing them to consume me and succumb to them. It is not easy, but can be done.
Simply explained, I bend but I don’t break.
Dr. Pierre Bland is a small and exotic animal practitioner in Oakland Park, FL. He can be reached at 954-673-8579.