What is depression
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
I don't know.
When I was younger and diagnosed with "neurosis" I was told that it was all in my head (more on that later), that I was 'acting like this to get attention', and that I needed a psychiatrist.
Hmmm. Many, many years of talk therapy and various drug therapies later, I can tell you what depression is NOT!
- it is not an effort to gain attention. Far from it. When I'm in a real down-swing, I want everyone to go somewhere else and leave me entirely alone. Just the effort to talk to someone, or put on a 'nice' face, or even get dressed, is more than I can bear. Never mind trying to attract attention! And I certainly don't want a doctor mucking in my medication load just then.
- It is not 'all in my head'. I definitely do not make up these feelings. I don't make up the suicidal thoughts and attempts. I don't make up pushing people I deeply love away just to see them hurt.
- It is 'all in my head' if you believe the current medical thinking that the basis of depression is the inability of the brain to produce certain chemicals the existence of which leaves the non-depressed world in a much better, more capable frame of mind. This concept leaves me feeling more helpless than ever. You mean there really is no hope? No cure? Nothing but a bucket of pills every single day for the rest of my life? Man, that's depression-producing all by itself!
Depression IS the single biggest problem in my life. I have a whole lot of health issues...I'll write about them later...but this one really changes my life in ways I simply do not approve of. I want a happy life, full of friends and activities and a real job that I can hold for longer than six months. I want my kids to not have to worry about what frame of mind they'll find me in next. I want a life without all these pills and without the work I do every minute of every day to stay on an at=least-acceptable keel and get through my list of 'stuff to do'...stuff like taking those evil pills, and feeding the cat, and taking a shower. Y'know: basic activities of a day.
Depression IS lack of sleep. Ok, laugh if you want to. Depression makes it hard for me to get to sleep. To stay asleep. To actually rest while I'm asleep (should I write about those dreams?). To not wake up, unable to fall back to sleep, at 4 in the morning..... so, essentially, I'm always exhausted, and all I want is to rest. Which is, of course, impossible.
Believe it or not, I do succeed some days. I make a list every morning of everything I want to get done (some as simple as "brush teeth"!). If I get through the list, it's a good day. If I don't, well, there's always tomorrow...at least that's what I tell myself, and I'd be real pleased if no one disabused me of that notion. I do manage to convey to my family just how much I love and appreciate them, and I do manage to covey to friends that they are cherished friends.
Now, if I could only shed the 'fat girl' label, and find a job....