Thursday, May 09, 2013

Thoughts About Depression

Day 3 of art journaling first thing in the morning, and I'm still loving it.

I got to thinking about depression today because of this Hyperbole and a Half post that The Bloggess pointed people to recently. There is a difference between event-related depression and the depression that happens when your brain stops producing the right chemicals at the right rate. The symptoms can be very similar -- though the conditions are not.

I have been in two situations in my life where I have felt (and doctors have agreed) that I was depressed. The first was after my daughter was born (postpartum) and the other was after she died (trauma-related). In the middle of it, I felt all the same symptoms that a brain-chemical-induced depression produces, and doctors treated me the same as they would someone with a wonky brain. But the medicine didn't help. The only thing that helped was talking, exercising, eating right, meditating, reading, and indulging -- really, self-care is what helped.

So even though I have been through depression, I still can't fully understand what someone with a brain-chemical-induced depression is going through. I didn't understand Jeremy when he went through it years ago, and I don't understand some of my family members who suffer from it. My compulsion is to tell them what worked for me -- but I have to resist because our depressions are different animals.

I don't think depression is understood nearly well enough by medical or psychological professionals. I think they like to lump all depression together -- and that's dangerous. It's not a one-size-fits-all condition.

If you are like me, and you love someone who suffers from brain-chemical-induced depression and you just can't relate, definitely read that Hyperbole post. It sure opened my eyes. It didn't necessarily give me tools to help my loved ones, but it let me see through their eyes a little.

1 comment:

  1. Unfortunately there is still very much a "you can fix it through willpower" mentality among many people. Mike put it very well to me when I was resisting taking medication. He told me that no one would tell a diabetic to stop taking insulin and think themselves cured. My body simply does not make the right chemicals. I am not a lesser person, I am not lazy, and I don't lack willpower. It took me a long time to admit that but I am who I really am when I am on the right medication. Now I will also say that I have to take much less medication when I eat right, exercise and meditate, proving that a holistic approach is important. You should not be ashamed of situational depression, and I am not ashamed of having chronic depression.