February 12, 2008

Depression, the Universe and Everything

I think you ought to know I'm feeling very depressed
- Marvin the paranoid android, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

There's something you should know. I have been diagnosed with depression. What a time I'm having: diabetes, high blood pressure, lack of substantial income, depression. The thing is, depression was the first major diagnosis. Oh, and allergies when I was a kid.

I used to talk about it more, and I sort of lost track while simply dealing with it. But I think I can serve a purpose by making this Weblog posting.

I'm not getting you down at all, am I?
- Marvin

First of all, it's not just a case of "the blues" or "being down". Everyone gets depressed now and then. No, I'm talking about a clinical diagnosis. True clinical depression involves brain chemistry, and the imbalances thereof. When you're depressed in this way, circumstantial depression gets worse; it hits you harder than other people. Other times, you're depressed and simply don't care about anything.

Some signs of depression are:

  • It lasts a long time
  • Loss of interest in things that normally bring pleasure
  • Sleeplessness
  • Lethargy
  • Seeing the dark side of things
  • Short attention span
There are more, but you can search those out on the Internet yourselves.

Funny, how just when you think life can't possibly get any worse it suddenly does.
- Marvin

I used to take antidepressants. Yes, used to. You see, I learned about thinking things through and not seeing the darker side of things so quickly. In another post, I mentioned Albert Ellis and his REBT therapy (look it up, I'm busy). Also, some Buddhist principles; both have helped me. Things are what they are, not what I think they should be. Addendum, November 2010: Since then, I have rededicated my life to Christ. The logic of Ellis still applies, but I have God himself living inside of me and I get help from the Bible.

There is someone I know who says, "You don't understand. I got depression!" So? I have it, too, but I won't let depression "have" me! (I hate it when someone will use an infirmity, real or imagined, as an excuse for not trying to do something for himself or herself.) Under therapist supervision, I went off the meds. Here's a kicker: fish oil. That's right, you heard me. Fish oil. I prefer "Nature Made" brand. I take it for circulation and heart stuff, but guess what? It has antidepressant side effects. Not sure how well it works, but I prefer it to relying on medication. I also gave up therapy. Too expensive over too many years. Friends help, though. I do have some that actually care and don't just pretend.

Do you want me to sit in the corner and rust, or just fall apart where I'm standing?
- Marvin

I still have to watch it, though. When I get into some of my "spells", I'm glad I do not own guns, so I don't use a bullet on myself. Yes, sometimes I get the urge to jump off the Kingston-Rhinecliff bridge or swallow a 9mm hollow point. So, I have to make myself a "safe promise" and see it through for another day. It's something how much of a difference another sunrise can make.

So, if you have depression and it's major, look for some online depression screenings. See a doctor. Suicidal people should dial 911 (in the US, of course) or call a trusted friend. Or e-mail. I have people that care about me, and I care about, and we help each other. Sometimes, a kind word can help and you don't even know you've done it. Get with your pastor or a trusted Christian friend.

Life's bad enough as it is without wanting to invent any more of it.
- Marvin

What am I saying? First, if you have depression, get help. Second, I'm an example that you can function with it. Third, it cycles up and down, so wait it out.

Wearily I sit here, pain and misery my only companions.
- Marvin

Don't use it as a crutch, either. You become a walking joke. Fight back. OK, that's enough for today. Be good to yourselves. Stay out of shadows.

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