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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Coming out... depressed may be more difficult than coming out of the closet. As some of my regular readers may know, I have not posted very recently in many months, since the rupture of a long-term relationship. Since then, I have entered into a "circumstantial" depression, call it what you will...
Right now, I am actually on my way out of it.
My life from the outside is fully functional, I continue to work, and to love work. In fact, in all modesty I don't think I have ever been a more caring and empathetic veterinarian, and have never felt like such a good diagnostician.
A part of me is hiding, though. A significant part of me hides behind a very thick veil of diversions, activities, and (sometimes) feigning of happiness. Another part of me is truly happy, truly functional, truly "me."
My friends and family in whom I can confide have been nothing but supportive, loving, and caring, though there is only so much they can do. It goes without saying that I am also receiving professional help...
I am discovering that my true purpose is not to be someone's better half, though I must confide I don't always buy this. Then what is my true purpose? There must be something, someone, waiting for me, and for whom I am also waiting.
I have decided to "come out" so that perhaps others may realize they are not alone, that we are all human, and that through suffering we can achieve greatness.


Chris McGrath said...

Clifford -
Good for you... this is tough to do. Had to do it myself... so I know where you're coming from. If you want to take a read of someone else's experience, check out

Stay strong,

GoLightly said...

Well, of course, you're feeling better, you are in Florida??

Must be nice:)

Seriously, hang in there.

Be happy in yourself, everything else will follow.
I KNOW it's hard to be happy.
It's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it.

Heck, you're a vet. Consider yourself envied.

and have a Merry Christmas!!

SweetPea said...

Well... my life has been somewhat down the same road... so hang in there. You are definitely NOT alone.

Y.L.G. said... son's wife decided she didn't want to be married anymore - he was completely blindsided - took the baby and walked.

At least you are getting some support; he's 3,000 miles away, not easy. My other son, several years ago had a unexpected breakup but is now happily married with kids and enjoying a new and grand life.

We had a flood in our condo; everything was destroyed. Homeless for a month then we found a beautiful house and new community where we can raise our dogs with a great yard.

Life can sure throw curve balls - and with each event something can be learned - be it through the event, or soul searching and from the unexpected it can turn into something great!

Your followers care very much and your writing is poignant and heartfelt. You might not see it now ...or maybe you are starting too - but wait until the next time you pick up a client's new puppy; I'm sure you'll have a big smile on your face or the next time you save an animals life or being there to console someone with the empathy and compassion that you have - you'll reassure yourself that you are in the best profession! Secondly how proud you should be in achieving your new degree -
I know your readers think you are very intelligent ('re in Florida and ...we're freezing!) Heh Heh..but you do have a lot of avid readers who actually do care what you say -

You'll come through this, and I have a feeling that 2,010 will be your best year ever!


Diane said...

I know the feeling. I was hospitalized and/or on disability from work for about two months this summer because of a depressive episode that made it impossible for me to function (the episode itself was brought on by a hellishly stressful job/totally unsupportive family members on top of some genetic background). It's a chronic disease, and like any other chronic disease, there are good days and bad days.

GoLightly said...

Merry Christmas, Doc!

Lioness said...

I have just found your blog - I googled Horner Syndrome Images and here I am, call it serendipity.

I know nothing about your life but I am rather familiar with reactive depression (see death, see break up with unexpected revolting findings) and coming out in one's blog (see psoriasis). There was a time after my best friend was killed - years really - when blogging literally, quite literally, saved my sanity. I had a wonderful support net IRL but there truly is something about the kindness of strangers that is very effective. Ending long-term relationships is horrendous, even if it was the right thing to do (and again, I know nothing of your circumnstances), and only a twat would not be affected. To be honest, I am still quite astonished that I managed to pass my exams (I was still in vet school then, which was a horror of its own), it truly was bad.

Am not sure that suffering makes us stronger though. Empathetically speaking, I'm glad you feel it but as for me - there certainly used to be more of me before my best friend died. (The breakup actually didn't leave everlasting marks because finding out the person you were with is a complete tosser - well, after the initial horror it certainly helps with the coping.) I've learnt we can be chewed and spat out by pain and survive but am still not sure that's an intrinsically good thing since I had much rather not be chewed and spat out. On the bright side, I now believe life is too long to be lived without quality so am far more willing to cut off toxic influences regardless of source, which would make you right.

I fully realise I am a complete stranger (and a rambling one, sorry about that) but what you're experiencing sounds - normal, I suppose is the word, and I am only saying it because there were many times when I felt I'd never feel "normal" again. I have just gone forageing in my archives because one of the comments someone left me that helped me the most (from Nezua, at The Unapologetic Mexican) was this: "It's all a rhythm. remembering this helps with pain, maybe...on, off, up, down, light waves, sound waves, respiration, ocean tides, day, night, healing, pain...all a rhythm. you'll find your beat."

You seem to already be finding yours.

TorontoVet said...

Thank you all for your heartfelt words. I am doing very well by the way.

Anonymoose said...

Hello Cliff, I hope this cheers you up! Check out the linked post above... you're featured (and looking sexy btw).

Robyn said...

I found this blog when looking for blogs by veterinarians, and never expected to see a post like this among the allergies and joint injuries! You're far from alone in suffering from depression. I am glad that time is helping, and I hope you will consider treatment (if you haven't already). Therapy may have literally saved my life once.

PloddingAlong said...

I've been depressed since my teens, and I'm now 52. I wish I could be open about it, but I tried that when I was younger and hated the way people thought about it. Of course the stigma is lessening all the time, but sadly it's still there. I have become very good at hiding it and most people would never know, but internally it takes more out of me than I care to admit.

I guess my point, if I have one, is to say that you aren't alone. There are many of us living with this cloud over our heads and coping to varying degrees. I'm lucky; my medication really helps and I have learned to be an amazing actress when I have to. You're in good company.

I'm a rescuer, and one thing I know for sure is the animals need us - all of us. They need me, and they need you. We all just have to keep doing what we do. :)

H said...


Nice blog, I came across while browsing. I came out long time ago and its been a good thing. You are doing a good thing for the animals. Keep it up.