Marty

Age at interview: 28
Age at diagnosis: 11
Gender: Male
Outline:

Marty has struggled with depression, anxiety, and other issues since childhood. He has spent time in juvenile homes, prison, and hospitals. Medication, religion, his fiancé, pride in work and the prospect of fatherhood are all very helpful for his depression.

Background:

Marty lives with his girlfriend in temporary housing. He is currently looking for work and a good place to live in preparation for the birth of his first child. He is Caucasian.

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Marty’s depression began when he was seven or eight. He had trouble getting out of bed for school and then difficulty dealing with the stress of school while he was there. His mother had substance abuse problems of her own, and was not able to help Marty deal with his emerging issues at that time. Before too long Marty discovered that his mother’s prescription Xanax pills made him feel much better, like he was “meant to be taking them” because it helped him “interact and speak with people… and accomplish things”. After repeating cycles of drug use, missing school, and conflict with his parents, truancy officers intervened and Marty went to a group home.

Through his adolescence and into young adulthood, Marty lived sometimes on his own and at other times in institutional settings like the group home, psychiatric hospitals, and prison. The group home and even prison provided access to some treatment for neurotic depression, anxiety and other mental health issues that Marty found very valuable. Group therapy was hard to get used to, but over time he “started talking and fitting in and relating with this one or relating with that one and it was pretty helpful.” Some individual therapy was valuable too. Medications he was given while living in institutions always helped, but he did not have insurance or money for pills when he was released and so repeatedly returned to self-medicating with alcohol and drugs. He also attempted suicide on several occasions.

For Marty, having a structured everyday life is crucial for maintaining good mental health, because “being stuck in your own head and free time is very bad”. On the other hand, “being told what to do”, having a clear purpose, and being able to demonstrate leadership skills to put himself “over that hurdle” – as he has done working at various restaurants – is very good. Having a fiancé and expecting his first child is providing a clear sense of direction for getting over the hurdle of finding a stable place to live and a steady job.

Religion has often pulled Marty “out of the hole of depression and anxiety”. He puts his “belief in God and started listening to God”, who has assisted him in countless ways. He advises other young adults to find a safe place to be, “somewhere that makes you happy. And if you say well nothing makes me happy and nothing, nowhere makes me happy, then that’s bullcrap, because you haven’t found it yet, you know. And it’s out there, if you can just find it, you’ll be ok.” Also don’t let depression control you and “seek help if you need it”, even getting a “second opinion” if need be.

 

Marty describes how he could not get out of bed.

Marty describes how he could not get out of bed.

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I would just stay in my room, under my covers. And I, I remember looking outside the window and just thinking to myself, watching cars go by and just thinking to myself how, how do you get in your car and just go you know, go about your day? I remember that, that was a big part of me thinking about my depression.

 

Marty describes how he could not get out of bed.

Marty describes how he could not get out of bed.

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I would just stay in my room, under my covers. And I, I remember looking outside the window and just thinking to myself, watching cars go by and just thinking to myself how, how do you get in your car and just go, you know, go about your day? I remember that, that was a big part of me thinking about my depression.

 

Marty describes how drugs and alcohol helped him express his true self.

Marty describes how drugs and alcohol helped him express his true self.

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I would say, alcohol was a big part of it, too – I forgot to mention that – alcohol was a great deal. It, it takes me out of my body. Oh, well, I can’t say that – it takes me out of the mindset, alcohol especially. It’s liquid courage for me to be who I want to be and for me to be who I believe I am inside. I believed that it just brought out who I am deep down inside. Aside, you know, the anxiety, let’s say the anxiety, the depression, was all up here, and when I drink, it just gets pushed down and my true self comes out and I’m able to talk to women or, or, or go and, you know, jump off the cliff into the water because it, that’s who I am inside, deep down inside. Or, you know, if I’m laying in bed not doing anything – no drugs, no anything, and just looking out my window and looking at the birds or people walking by and wondering how they’re even functioning in life. Taking a shot or two, or, or doing a bag of heroin would make me go enjoy, go enjoy life. It would help me to enjoy my life, that I believe God wanted me to enjoy. And, yeah, heroin is bad, so is cigarettes, you know? I’m not defending heroin at all. It ruined my life, actually, but, it, I, I just, and, and, and I know, it stuffed everything down and there was an extreme explosion of what was stuffed down throughout the years, of me self-prescribing, -medicating, and drinking. It exploded and, you know, I ended up in jail for that. But, it shoved everything away that I was ever scared of or depressed about. It gave me motivation to get up in the morning knowing I had a bag of dope or I had a pint of E and J in my closet.

 

For Marty, belief in god offered a reservoir of strength to which he could turn in the darkest times.

For Marty, belief in god offered a reservoir of strength to which he could turn in the darkest times.

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I put my belief in God and started listening to God, because God granted us free will, so he’s not going to go, I believe he’s not going to go and control me I used to say that I believe, let me rephrase that. I believe he’s assisted me in helping me over my depression and shown me a path of the righteous, you know, of being able to get out of the hole of depression and anxiety.

 

Marty finds that tapping into a sense of 'purpose in this Earth' provides him with a structured belief system to lift him out of his patterns of depression.

Marty finds that tapping into a sense of 'purpose in this Earth' provides him with a structured belief system to lift him out of his patterns of depression.

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I enjoy the structure I enjoy all of that and being told what to do. I believe there’s a purpose in this Earth for me and if it has something to do with maybe me being on the opposite side, maybe helping other people that I went through, I don’t know, but to answer your question having structure like that takes me out of my own head and puts me into a deepened, greater being, a greater purpose to help myself and others instead of just pulling the covers over my head and saying this is it, this is all life has to offer.