I have suffered from severe episodes of clinical depression, diagnosed at age 10 through present (age 42).
I have a great psychiatrist and family dr. and am balanced on medication to normalize my messed up chemistry, and it works a lot of the time, but occasionally I need rebalancing.
I think a few important things many people may not realize are:
1. Anyone, of any age can suffer from depression. Don't brush it off, thinking it will pass, it may not and it may even become life threatening! My first thoughts of suicide were at age 10 and my parents didn't know it!
2. You can have a beautiful, wonderful marriage and great kids and a good job and everything going perfectly for you and STILL get depressed. It does not have to be caused by something. Depression that is caused by something outside of yourself is a little different, it is SITUATIONAL depression and is still something to be addressed for sure, BUT clinical depression is caused REGARDLESS of what is going on outside of you. It is your chemistry off balance. You may even feel GUILTY for feeling depressed thinking you have no right or reason to and are ashamed to let people know. Clinical depression CAN be helped even if you have suffered all your life and it is common to think, no way can someone help me, THIS IS JUST THE WAY I AM. (I think all of us have thought that before getting help)
3. To those who mean well... telling your depressed loved one or friend to just cheer up or take a walk or get some sunshine or whatever it is that helps you when you wake up in a bad mood is only frustrating because nothing anyone says or does can FIX a clinical depressed episode it IS GOOD to have unconditional love and support and compassion just don't make the person feel guilty if your ways don't work for them. They are going to turn everything as something against themselves most likely. This is a SERIOUS illness and needs professional care
4. Not everyone who is depressed is suicidal. Like the article said just feeling like it is too hard to get out of bed, or it is hard work to get up to use the bathroom, or not worth the trouble to get dressed or comb your hair. If making a phone call to get help seems like too much of a bother, if the things you normally look forward to doing and enjoy all have lost their interest, if you eat too much or too little, or sleep too much or too little, if you feel like a burden, if everything is overwhelming even otherwise simple things, if you feel isolative and don't feel like talking to anyone, even those you love, if you even though you aren't suicidal you may think how nice it would be to just sleep and not feel ANYTHING, or if you feel drawn to alchohol or drugs for an escape from these feelings (which only make it worse.) If this feeling comes and goes, and you never know how long it will stay, nothing in your life HAS to be going wrong, it just pops up and then eventually it wanes away and you hope it never comes back, but eventually it always does. It can be so bad that even when you are happy you live in fear and anxiety of knowing this happy feeling is only temporary because the depression always comes back.
Medication and other treatments CAN help. Please ask for help. It is not anything to feel ashamed of and you are NOT a weaker person. as a matter of fact you are probably stronger than most from learning how to live through this over and over again so far, but this can be life threatening so please ask for help. And if one medication does not help try another because each person is so individual. This can also be hereditary so if someone you know and love suffered from this, it is more likely you or your children MIGHT too.
- 2/8/2010 4:48:38 PM