Posted by: anniewilson | September 18, 2008

Could it be Depression?

Depression is as paralyzing as any physical injury, as acutely painful as a migraine and as parasitic as is cancer. But unlike those types of afflictions, depression doesn’t present itself with any acute symptoms. Depression is insidious and chronic yet the damage it does is absolutely as serious as any other life altering illness.

Depression is much easier to cure than it is to live with. The problem is that most people don’t recognize it for what it is. Even if someone admits to being depressed, they can always find a “good reason” for it. Most of us could easily blame our spouse and no one would question that. The problem is that even if you are in the midst of a situational depression, you ARE at risk of acquiring a dreadful case of clinical depression that absolutely won’t go away by itself.

At times during our lives, situational depression will pop up when we least expect it. Deaths, divorces and major changes in our lives can make the strongest of us a bit depressed. Many times we get over those events with little but a sad memory. But all too often, the situation passes yet the depression lingers on.

A temporary sadness can easily develop into a clinical depression that will demand a lot of your attention. Depression doesn’t necessarily ask you to do things, it just asks you not to do anything productive or fun. Even your favorite activities seem like a drag when depression tells you not to bother. Why should you do something when there’s a perfectly good bed to lie on? The depression is happiest when it’s just the two of you, alone under the blankets.

Once depression has seduced you with the comfort of crawling into a cozy bed, it won’t let you sleep because that’s the perfect time for depression’s sister, anxiety, to speak to you. Anxiety will remind you of all the things that need to be done and then depression comes in to let you know how futile it is for you to bother fixing those things. After all, you just spent an entire day in bed, it’s easy for anxiety to convince you that you are incapable of fixing those things. Between depression and anxiety, life becomes a daunting task.

After a very short period of situational depression, chemical changes take place in the synapses of your neurons. There’s no special diet for that, it needs to be treated medically just like epilepsy. If left to progress unabated, depression, like a cancer, will literally suck the life right out of you.

Along with a lot of help from anxiety, depression can leave a person in such an emotional hole that eventually seems far too deep to climb out of without help. The depressed mind knows that there isn’t any way that it can accomplish anything productive. Anxiety helps keep the mind isolated by telling it that the only safe place is the familiar surroundings of your home. Trips out of the house…even on the most beautiful of all days…seem somehow doomed to fail. The fear that anxiety brings with it is a paralytic fear that is difficult to understand but paralyzing just the same.

Eventually, it barely seems worth getting dressed in the morning. You walk around in the same clothes for days and feed yourself only when it occurs to you. It may occur to you once a week or 10 times a day. One way or another, there’s nothing at all healthy about the diet your eating. Sooner or later none of your clothes really fit anyway, so there’s another reason not to get dressed.

Slowly but surely, all hope for a better life slips away. You continue to live only for your loved ones until you feel as though you’re a burden on them. That’s when depression stabs you with the blade of worthlessness. It occurs to you that perhaps your family would be better off if you weren’t around at all.

If depression is allowed to exist in any one person long enough, other people begin to walk away. Depression is quite jealous, it will find a way to push people out of your life. The final goal of depression is to stay with you until it has demolished every part of the person that you were and if you don’t stop and pay attention, all that is you will be gone.

Well meaning friends and family members will say stupid things like, “Why don’t you just do it?” They look at you as though you’re too stupid to have thought of that. The idea of a paralyzing fear is lost on those who have never experienced it. They assume that you’re lazy or that you enjoy what has happened to your life as though it were a conscious decision. Now they’ve heaped guilt upon the depression, anxiety and feelings of hopelessness. Just when you think that things couldn’t be any worse, someone or something will pop up to show you how wrong you are. The pit of despair seems bottomless when you get deep enough into it.

Although little productive effort is put into the depressed person’s life, every single day is a struggle. And that’s why it’s easier to fix the depression than it is to live with it. Since depression leaves no rash, no obvious deformity nor any other real outward symptoms, the depressed person needs to confide in someone. The best person to mention it to would be a doctor.

Good doctors know that the illness is as real as is diabetes. They don’t sit in judgement and they are there simply to help you live your life to the highest standards possible. They want to see you be the best you can be. There’s no overnight treatment available for depression. Most plans of care require weeks, at least, before improvement is noticed.

Those are weeks that could be spent deep in the throws of sadness and the time is going to pass anyway. Why not let it pass with treatment for the depression? If you can’t think of a good enough reason to seek help, just grab onto a glimmer of hope. You may find that hope in your children, your parents or your spouse. Look anywhere for that hope, no matter how small it may seem, and cling to it until you begin to have something that you haven’t had in months, even years…hope for your self.

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Responses

  1. I’ve observed that those who don’t struggle with depression tend to have no empathy towards those who do. You know, ‘suck it up man, get on with life’. I struggled with depression for a couple of decades. I tried therapy, anti-depressants, etc. I despaired of hope until I decided to find a solution myself – to heck with the experts. What worked for me is affirmations for depression combined with brainwave entrainment. This combination has made all the years wasted by depression seem like a bad dream!

  2. When you say “brainwave”, do you mean ECT? I’m curious, please let me know!

    🙂

  3. Yes, please provide more info on the brainwave entrainment you underwent. I’m on meds and affirmations don’t help.

  4. Yeah, I can’t imagine that an “affirmation” would correct a chemical inbalance. Also, the idea that affirmations would work sort of imply that you can “will” yourself out of depression and that’s not the case. I would love to hear more about the brain stuff!

  5. I like this post very much. I like the progression of it, how you add every symptom to the long list…. you can feel the burden increasing as you read. I’m tired already.


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