Depression. My view from the ground

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“You are allowed to feel messed up and inside out. It doesn’t mean you’re defective – it just means you’re human.” – David Mitchell

Another day, and I feel blessed that I have woken up. I am healthy and, as I type this sentence, I am fortunate to be lying in a warm house with my cat resting against me. A lucky man indeed.

I try not to publish blogs for the sake of putting words online. I also try not to be personal- other than talking about things in the world that I observe and want to share.

But at the moment, depression is something that worries me. We are know someone who, right now, is gripped my depression. I certainly do and it is my duty to help them through it. I won’t go into the detail of who it involves but it’s personal.

I read a comment from someone who’s view is that depression doesn’t really exist. It’s all in the mind and can be overcome by how we think. All I can say is wow!

Having being diagnosed with depression 12 years ago, had I had that comment made to me then any chance of recovery would have been severely damaged. Dangerous words.

I fully understand and agree that we are all entitled to our opinions. However, given that depression is a medically diagnosed illness I really want to understand the deep impact it has on the person suffering.

It is worrying that many still either don’t believe depression existing or that there are others that see it as a weakness. Yet, of later more and more celebrities and sports stars are stepping forward and revealing their suffering.

There are a lot of definitions or explanations around depression, so I have selected one that helped my understanding – “An illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts and that affects the way a person eats, sleeps, feels about himself or herself, and thinks about things. Depression is not the same as a passing blue mood. It is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be wished away. People with depression cannot merely ‘pull themselves together’ and get better. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years. Appropriate treatment, however, can help most people with depression. The signs and symptoms of depression include loss of interest in activities that were once interesting or enjoyable, including sex; loss of appetite, with weight loss, or overeating, with weight gain; loss of emotional expression (flat affect); a persistently sad, anxious, or empty mood; feelings of hopelessness, pessimism, guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness; social withdrawal; unusual fatigue, low energy level, a feeling of being slowed down; sleep disturbance and insomnia, early-morning awakening or oversleeping; trouble concentrating, remembering, or making decisions; unusual restlessness or irritability; persistent physical problems such as headaches, digestive disorders, or chronic pain that do not respond to treatment, and thoughts of death or suicide or suicide attempts.”

Sorry if that is a long explanation but I think it captures a lot around what is a growing issue.

As I said above, I was diagnosed with depression 12 years ago. Before going to my doctor, I couldn’t work out what was wrong with me. Looking at the above, I can remember constant sadness and anxiety. But also anger and frustration. But perhaps the latter feelings were because I couldn’t work out what was wrong. I felt weak because I wasn’t coping with what I perceived was how life should be. However, one day, enough was enough, I went to the doctor, broke down and was diagnosed accordingly.

After that, I went through several months of coming to terms I was ill – yes, ill. My nearest and dearest at the time helped me to understand that my condition was an illness – not a weakness. I was convinced by her that the prescribed medication was essential to help me on my road to recovery. It was good advice and my chemical imbalance was balanced and eventually I could stop taking the medication. But, in reality, the depression never goes away. Like any deep seated illness, it remains. I’m just aware that it is there.

However, having had the illness helps me to understand that it is just that – an illness. So, why do some believe it is just a state of mind, and can be overcome through positive thinking? There is no doubt positive thinking can help you during your recovery. But, when depression takes hold, my belief is that you need professional help and, if prescribed through that professional help, medication to support the process of combating the illness.

I appreciate that there are the conspiracy theorists who believe that medication being prescribed is just filling the bank accounts of the pharmaceutical industry chiefs. That the media focus on depression being at epidemic levels, which sends us running to the nearest chemist for our medication. Why? Because they are all interlinked. Hell, I nearly bought into this. But, then, when i turned off the noise from the conspiracy theorists, I remembered ………. I was diagnosed with depression. It was diagnosed by a medical expert. I took medication to help fix my illness, and I’m glad I listened to the advice!

So, what’s the message? If you suffer from depression, please don’t hide. Please don’t be ashamed. Please don’t listen to the people who dare to suggest it’s all in your head. Please take about it. Please understand that you are not on your own. Please see that there is help. Please know that you can overcome it. Please keep the faith. Please. Xxx

To close, I’ve just heard “Love My Life” by Robbie Williams. Here’s the lyrics. I hope you can see why I thought they were appropriate.

“Tell your soul to me
I will never let go completely
One day our hands will be
Strong enough to hold me

I might not be there for all your battles
But you’ll win them eventually
I’ll pray that I’m giving you all that matters
So one day you’ll say to me

I love my life
I am powerful
I am beautiful
I am free
I love my life
I am wonderful
I am magical
I am me
I love my life

I am not my mistakes
And God knows I’ve made a few
I started to question the angels
And the answer they gave was you

I can not promise there won’t be sadness
I wish I could take it from you
But you’ll find the courage to face the madness
And see it because it’s true

I love my life
I am powerful
I am beautiful
I am free
I love my life
I am wonderful
I am magical
I am me
I love my life

Find the
Others
With hearts
Like yours
Run far
Run free
I’m with you

I love my life
I am powerful
I am beautiful
I am free
I love my life
I am wonderful
I am magical
I am me
I love my life
I am powerful
I am beautiful
I am free
I love my life
I am wonderful
I am magical
I am me
I love my life

And finally
I’m where I wanna be”
Take care.

 

 

Jon

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