DEPRESSION IS AN ILLNESS THAT CAN BE SUCCESSFULLY TREATED
If you have experienced any similar feelings as described below – and if you find that your sadness has taken over your life to the point of not being able to function in the way you once could, it’s time to get some help. Please…..I know what you’re thinking. You’re not crazy – and you’re not a mental case. You may just have a very real illness, and just like a broken arm, you need treatment for it. Please don’t be embarrassed – there are many who have been in your shoes, (I know, because I’m one of them!) and with the right treatment (yes, medications DO help the chemical imbalance!) and therapy (don’t let this word frighten you – it merely means an understanding knowledgeable person to talk to about your feelings) there can – and will – be healing.
There are many resources to help people through bouts of depression. Go HERE to learn more about a self-help resource we would highly recommend. Of course, there are instances of Clinical Depression that require much more than self help remedies. These suggestions can, of course, be practiced along WITH professional medical care.
I wanted to talk a bit about this subject because, honestly, it is one that is very near and dear to my heart. Yes, we’ve all had periods in our lives of feeling down, sick of winter and the seemingly never ending darkness, or frustrated with family or work problems. Feeling sad, maybe because of a break-up, or missing someone you love who has departed. Those are all normal emotions. Life has it’s ups and downs – always has, always will. But when these feelings become the norm instead of the exception, it’s time to take a second look.
So how do you tell the difference? After all, if someone you care for passes away, of course the sadness is going to last for longer than a day, right? So don’t diagnose me as depressed! (Many take offense to this anyway – afterall, if I’m depressed, then I have a MENTAL ILLNESS, right?) I am NOT crazy. I’m sad, ok? Not CRAZY.
LIFE? OR DEPRESSION?
The major difference between general sadness and true depression lies in the magnitude of the hold these feelings have over you. If my puppy gets hit by a car, and the vet can’t do anything to help him, of course I’m sad. I miss him. He was my buddy, my best friend. I’m not going to forget all about him by the next day – or even the next week. I’ll probably never forget. But as time passes, I will find pleasure in other things. I will still remember Fido, and have fond memories of him, but I will not dwell on the loss. I may allow an occasional melancholy moment as I think about all the good times, but I will not allow the loss of my pet to take over my life. In fact, one day I may even want to get another dog.
On the other hand, my husband decides to cheat on me with another woman. I am crushed upon learning about the affairs, as I had complete trust in this man. I loved him, he was my present – my past – my future. Now what? He casts me aside for another woman? How dare he ruin my life? How DARE he leave me? What am I supposed to do now? I don’t know how to live alone. I need him in order to be happy. I can’t go on without him. I’d rather die. I’m miserable, and full of resentment, and oh, so sad.
HOW DO I SEPARATE SADNESS FROM DEPRESSION?
Fixating on this new way of life – and hating every single minute of it – isn’t helpful in the healing process. I’m going to talk about it to everyone who will listen – friends, family, and co-workers. Soon I notice people are avoiding me. Now I have lost not only the one person I thought had my back, but all my friends and family too! I’m beyond sad……I’m heartbroken. So alone. I’m sick. And I’m so, so tired…..all the time.
Depression – that’s what the ad on tv said. No, can’t be that – I’m just going through something. DEPRESSION. I can hardly breathe at times. I cry a lot. I won’t go out in public, because, quite frankly, I don’t have the energy to get dressed anyway. I’m probably going to lose my job, because I call off too much. Oh well – that’s all I have left anyway – a stupid, dead-end job. I just wish I’d go to sleep and never wake up.
I JUST WANT IT TO GO AWAY
Maybe if I took some pills…….no, they’d probably fail me too – and I’d just wake up with brain damage or something. Or worse – wake up in a hospital with a straight jacket on. Life just can’t get any worse. And all because “he” left me for another woman. I’m empty – oh, so empty. I don’t even have feelings anymore. I don’t feel like eating – but when I do, it’s junk food. Yes, junk food always cheers me up – for the moment, anyway. So here’s to another bag of potato chips, and a bottle of wine.
All the encouragement of my well meaning family and friends goes by the wayside. “You should go see a doctor.” “You need to start acting your age.” “Stop behaving this way – you’re embarrassing us.” Yeah – big help there. Haven’t you noticed that I already feel as low as scum in the bottom of a barrel? Those intended “uplifting” comments and suggestions aren’t helping. I WANT to wallow in pity. No, I really don’t want to…….but what choice do I have? He did this to me. It’s HIS fault. It wasn’t my fault – I was a good wife. I didn’t ask for this life. I’m not the cause of all these problems.
WHEN DEATH SEEMS EASIER THAN DEPRESSION
Now I’ve hit the absolute rock bottom pit of life. I can’t function – simple daily tasks, like dressing, fixing a meal, or even showering seem completely overwhelming. Darkness follows me everywhere. There is no escape. I try to pray and I cannot even find the words. I attempt to read something intended to raise my spirits, and I read the same paragraph a hundred times with no comprehension of the words. My head feels as though it’s ready to explode, and yet…..I can’t muster up one single “makes sense” thought. I can no longer communicate – just words, ramble, nonsense. Almost everyone has deserted me now….after all, who wants to hang out with Negative Nancy? If only they knew…..how desperately I wanted to find help.
IS ANYBODY LISTENING?
Oh please, God, help me out of this. I feel like I’m being thrust at full speed through the darkness and into the unknown evils waiting to cause me unbearable painful suffering. I have no control – I could ask for help, but I don’t know how. Nobody cares anyway, so why bother? I could just fade away today, and nobody would even notice. I cry out to God, and it seems He has even forgotten me. Please, oh please, just take me. I can’t deal with this – I can’t go on anymore.
You are not alone – although it may feel as though you are right now, there IS light coming. Be willing to accept help. That is the first step. Talk things out – it’s excellent therapy. Take medication exactly as prescribed. Seek help from your higher power. Learn to meditate. Force yourself to take small steps – a walk around the block, for instance. Breathe deeply – allow yourself to take in every detail – the droplet of dew on a leaf; the beautiful sunrise, the adorable puppy out for his morning walk, the chirping of the birds….and soon…….oh yes……healing will come.
More resources for help in your battle against Depression: