Wednesday, September 05, 2007


I wrote this to someone today, and thought it was maybe interesting enough to post here...

I wouldn't be surprised if you were depressed. It's just a medical condition like any other. And the truth is it runs in families, and blank and I have both been diagnosed with chronic depression and are on medication for it, so really, it would be no surprise that it extends in our family further than just blank and me.

As for the medication, it of course has to be a personal decision, but it isn't about being strong or weak. It isn't about giving up. It isn't about escaping. It isn't even about being happy. It's about treating an illness, the same way insulin injections are about treating the body's inability to produce insulin in people with juvinile diabetes, anti-depressants are about treating the chemial imbalance in the brain in people with depression.

It's the same as me taking levothyroxine because my thyroid doesn't function properly and does not produce enough thyroxine naturally. It wouldn't matter how tough I was, my thyroid would still not function properly. Depression is the same way. No matter how tough I am, I can't change the chemical imbalance in my brain on my own, as with any other medical condition, I need to take medication to change this physical reality in my body.

All of that said, because of the way that so many people view depression and the misunderstanding around it, it takes a lot of strength to accept help and to take the medication. It's generally pretty bloody hard for someone to muster that strength when they're depressed, because, well, they're depressed. It's the brutal Catch 22, not strong enough to help one's self, but can't get strong enough to do it without the very thing one is not strong enough to take. The hope is that in time everyone finds what is right for them. The truth is though that in a lot of cases the illness (depression) is so strong that it distorts things too much for people to find the ability to treat it. I guess everyone has to find their own way, being able to accept help is one of the hardest things, but also the most useful and brave.

I know you have said you will never go to a psychiatrist again, and I suspect that goes for therapists too, but therapists are different that psychiartists, and do take a different approach. Again it is a personal choice, but I whole heartedly believe that not everyone *needs* therapy, but EVERYONE can benefit from therapy. And I do think it would help for you to have someone to talk to.

I guess the other thing about going on anti-depressants is that you don't have to tell anyone. If you're worried that people won't understand and will judge you, or just generally worried about what they will think, then just don't tell them.

I remember one of the scariest things about going on anti-depressants was being worried about what happens if they don't work. If they don't work then I have to accept that it isn't an illness and that it's just me, something wrong with me and the way I think, and that this is it forever.
The truth is, if that's the case it's better to know, but it was too hard for me to think about that when I was depressed.

The key thing about anti-depressants is that they aren't happy pills. And they aren't valume. You don't feel them in that way. They are medication that I (and gazzilion others) take to help them re-enter the real world. To help take the distortion away from perceptions.

If you do decide to consider taking medication and want to know more about it, or more about depression in general let me know. It's a topic I know an awful lot about, both from first-hand experience and from lots and lots of research.

Um, yeah, that's it. Just thought it was worth putting up here.

Blogarama - The Blog Directory Listed on Blogwise Who Links Here