An Illness, Not a Weakness

February 26th, 2009

Recently, someone called me and asked respectively, “How do you feel when your depressed?” This person knows of my history and our relationship has a mutual feeling of safety. I shared spots of my story telling, ”Everyone has bad days, but clinical depression is like a heavy blanket on your shoulders.” The feeling lasts and is chronic. It may ebb and flow like the tide, but it is always with you. The shouldered blanket may feel warm and safe, all the while feeling damp and scary. I talked about how symptoms are different for each and vary in scope. During my severe episodes I lack pleasure in all activities. I lie around, have bouts of uncontrolled sobbing, my stomach gets very upset, and I want to sleep all the time. I curl up like a cat does on it’s pillow, shutting out all those around me. I develop what I call the “less-suffix-syndrome.” “I am worthless, useless, hopeless, powerless . . . I summed it up by saying, “If you have feelings like this you need to see someone.” I also added “Even mild signs can bring about a clinical situation, when a person’s sadness is no longer appropriate, it becomes a consistent and pervasive hum that nags you everyday.” If this goes on for 2-3 weeks, again you need to see someone.

Other things induce depression such as loss, grief, self worth, failure, illness, and medication.  Regardless of the cause, the symptoms need to be treated with coveted care. Whether a person’s depression, is episodic or chronic if the feelings are debilitating it becomes clinical. Being honest with yourself and others works far in overcoming the sometimes long lasting effects of depression.

I am so glad I am finally helping myself. Maintaining my mental health through medication, proper rest, therapy, pdoc dialogue, and self-care have all helped to extricate my woeful existence into a brightened reality. Hopefully, my words to this person were helpful. As I was about to hang up the phone I said, “Depression is an illness, not a weakness.”

I hope I didn’t sound like one of those cheesy advertisements. I am not a doctor or therapist, my only wish is to share parts of my journey and hopefully point others in the right direction.

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