Joan:
There have been times when I think I will "loose" it. I am always on the run, trying to keep strong and not hurt too much. Some people don't realize that Clinical / Manic Depression is destructive to those around the afflicted.

While I was cleaning I found a set of car keys in a potted plant from long ago (during Ernie's manic incidents I was always hiding keys). The next moment I was on my knees sobbing. All the memories come back. A close family and children who are loving and supportive, always there for their father and me are my greatest blessings. As I look around I see a closet door askew - dents in the wall in the hallway, a missing vase I treasured. Reminants of past frustration and anger beyond normal tolerance. But I am here and he is here and we are together.
Joan:
My life with Ernie is not as I imagined our retirement years to be. I work full time as a job coach helping people get off welfare, attain and maintain jobs in three counties. then come home to deal with life here day to day. There are times I lament the lost relationship Ernie and I had - Although close, loving - he's different therefore we're different. But I am grateful for all we have. There are men who don't make it back being diagnosed after the age of 60.
TOGETHER

Joan 1997
After keeping a "schedule" as an outpatient for six weeks Ernie returned to work. He actually seemed OK for a while. Worked for several months, until he relapsed in a manic depression. Another SHOCK!

We were aware that a relapse was possible but no one had alerted us of this possibility! -- Shopping for a new car, driving for miles at odd hours for oysters or fine cuisine - sometimes dressed in Pyjamas, phoning old flames from high school and sending them flowers. He seemed thrilled at first to feel this way, he had energy and fire, but he still could not sleep at night. Soon I was monitoring his every move. He would be off -- never telling me where. When I hid the car keys, he walked.

I remember a summer evening, I was preparing dinner, talking to Ernie. I turned to place his plate down and he was gone. He had decided he felt like shrimp and made a run to his favorite seafood restaurant. Unfortunately he locked his keys in the car and I had to rescue him.
The Depths of Depression
by Jeanine Pohlhaus
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