Let’s Get This Conversation Started!

Depression is a medical illness that can interfere with a person’s life.  It affects your mind, mood, and body, as well as sleep patterns.  The illness can affect how you feel about yourself, life, and how you think about things in general.  It can affect your relationships, and just about everything else in your life.  Depression is not something you can just wish away, or talk yourself out of, and can last for weeks or months.

Man, don’t I know that.  Everything in that paragraph is true for me.  I am always exhausted, and just want to sleep some days.  I used to feel confident in my abilities and intelligence, and now I constantly criticize and second guess.  I have pushed a lot of people away, or have tried to anyway.  I have always had trouble with being social, but it has become to the point of not having a lot of friends I visit with in person.  I rarely talk on the phone, I am much more comfortable texting.  My relationship with my husband had becomes strained at one point.  No matter how much I tried to talk and think myself out of it, it was a feeling in my mind and my body.  I still felt the pain, even behind my happy mask.

Below I have made some lists on symptoms, different types, and causes of depression.

There are a few symptoms of depression:

  • Prolonged sadness or unexplained crying spells
  • Significant changes in appetite and sleep patterns
  • Irritability, anger, worry, agitation, anxiety
  • Pessimism, indifference
  • Loss of energy, persistent lethargy
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness
  • Inability to concentrate, indecisiveness
  • Inability to take pleasure in former interests, social withdrawal
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, 2009)

There are also several different forms of depression:

  • Major depressive disorder
  • Dysthymic disorder
  • Psychotic depression
  • Postpartum depression
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (womenshealth.gov, 2010)

There are also several causes for depression:

  • Genetics
  • Chemical imbalance
  • Hormonal factors
  • Stress
  • Medical Illness (womenshealth.gov, 2010)

Now, these lists were not made for people to self-diagnose themselves.  They are just there to give everyone an idea of how many forms there are, and what can cause them.  Depression is not a “bad mood” that will go away in a couple of days.  It’s a serious illness that should be treated as such, and talked about seriously.

Since the conception of this blog, I have been talking a lot about my depression, and about how I want to help others see that other people in this world deal with it too, and that they are not alone.  I want to get a conversation started about depression, the various forms, and related illnesses, such as Bipolar Disorder.  Let’s get this conversation started! 

Do you suffer from depression, or an illness related, such as Bipolar disorder?  If so, how long have you suffered?

Have you sought treatment?  If so, what kind?  If not, why?

Do you hide behind a happy mask to avoid interaction or conversation about your illness, or do you openly talk about it?

Let’s go folks!  The only way to heal is to be open and honest.  Let’s get this conversation moving, and chase that stigma away.



6 thoughts on “Let’s Get This Conversation Started!

  1. I’ve never bothered to seek medical help and get diagnosed, my symptoms seem to fall closest to cyclothymia but I may not have enough hypomanic episodes to qualify. Mostly I just keep on going and deal with it without telling anyone, and enjoy the hell out those times when I am “up” and bouncing off the walls, all full of ideas and energy. When in the downswing I avoid everyone and my friends all wonder if the cats have eaten me.

    So far as how long this has been going on I’d have to say at least since I was 15 or 16, so slightly more than half my life. It has just been in the past couple of years that I’ve been willing to talk to good friends about it. They know when to check in on me and make me be social for my own good, as well as when to let me know they’re there but give me my space.

  2. Are you familiar with the Icarus Project? I know some involved in the effort which is centered around redefining some behaviors or characteristics as being “dangerous gifts” rather than stigmatized as depression.

    Although currently medicated for it, I struggle with depression, fueled by anxiety. Social situations and fear of failure and rejection trigger most of my anxiety attacks. I’m managing it currently with a combination of medication and counseling. Whenever I read about the placebo effect attributed to antidepressant trials, I wonder whether I am making all of this up for attention but then I consider how rough life is without the drugs. Whether antidepressants really work or whether it’s placebo effect, either way I’m in a better spot right now. Sticking on the meds is difficult though.

    I don’t openly talk about it. I’ve been with my husband for 15 years before I told him recently that I’m a self-abuser. I would never talk to another person ‘in real life’ about counseling, medication, or depression in personal terms unless they copped up to it first and I recognized some kind of kinship. I’m just not comfortable enough with that amount of vulnerability.

  3. There is that word again, vulnerable. It’s a very strange and scary feeling. Even though it’s been a couple days since I had initially felt that way, I am still having it from time to time whenever I think about it.
    I did not talk about my problems with my husband really. He would ask from time to time and try to get me to, but I kept most of it locked away. I think it’s natural when you’re feeling depressed, but now I think it’s important to talk about it. Whenever I start feeling vulnerable or anxious, or anything really, I text my husband. He told me to, so it’s not like I am being “that wife.” He will text or call back when he can, but at least I am letting him know how I am feeling. It helps me too.

    idiotphotographer, I had a friend that behaved in much the same way. I say friend, he was dating my best friend at the time. He’s more of an aquiantance. Anyway, we always knew when he was down in it when he would not answer his phone or leave his house. At the time, I did not really know about depression, and had not experienced it myself. I thought he was just being a jerk, but now I wish I had known and understood more. I cant help everyone, but maybe I could have helped him.

    Thoughtful, I have not heard of Icarus project. I am going to research it today and see what I can find. It’s sounds interesting! I also wanted to say thank you for opening up. It takes a lot of courage to do so, even to strangers. How did it feel to talk to your husband about it?

  4. @Thoughtful- You get a placebo effect with pretty much every drug, and the brain is not very well understood despite what the doctors want us to think. The meds really do work, the problem is that every brain is very different and every person’s issue is different, so the meds all work a little differently in people, and animals.
    My own cat proves this, she was self-mutilating (pulling her fur out, chewing holes into her skin) and went through 3 different behavior meds before we found one that worked for her.

    • It’s very true. I used to take Lexapro, and all it did was make me extremely angry at the drop of a hat. I have a friend who takes it, and it works perfectly for her. My kiddo cant take Benadryl because it makes her hyper, and goodness knows she has enough energy, but benadryl makes me sleepy.
      I think I had a placebo effect when I started taking Prozac. It might have just been the low dosage that made it not work, but initially I felt great. Still had depression and symptoms, but I was so happy to be on SOMETHING that I felt like it was the meds making me better. Prozac now does nothing for me.

  5. I too suffer from depression. I am not sure how to post a thread to my site of that specific article. It is titled, “Depression”. Sorry for causing you to have to fish to find it. I am a newbie and am trying to figure things out on my own instead on forum as I don’t want to get slammed for not figuring it out on my own 🙂
    Today, has been a hard day with symptoms. No energy, aches and pains, but maybe it will be by tomorrow. Thanks for sharing!

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