I imagine when all is black that I write something brilliant that justifies the darkness within.
But when I’m black like this, all I usually produce are rants.
Not this time. But it’s not going to be brilliant, either. This post is simply on depression, living with it in a world that wears masks, puts on facades online and in-person, because we’re not allowed to feel bad, or at least show it. We’re allowed to feel frustrated, annoyed, disappointed, in moments, but they better not last too long, or be too intense, like when feeling mad translates into yelling. Even in anger, we’re supposed to retain our composure.
I suck at pretending. I can’t pull off that I’m OK Buddy, when I’m not. Most of you reading this are much better at wearing faces. Most people are. But depression, that feeling there is something stuck in your throat that you just can’t swallow, that with every breath it feels as if you’re sighing— trying to shed the weight in your chest— makes putting on a mask particularly difficult because you’re spending so much energy just trying to breathe.
Commercials for drugs to combat depression are all over the media. They come with a list like: Use this product and you may get dizzy; nauseous; stop breathing; feel even more depressed; become suicidal even if you didn’t feel that way before the drug; die. Wow. Thanks, but no thanks. I don’t really need to take Lexapro to help motivate me to kill myself.
I’ve tried Prozac, a long time ago. I was allergic. It almost killed me. I’ve tried Xanex, which is by far the most popular drug for depression. All it did was make me sleepy. I’m already tired all the time.
Therapists like to talk, or for me to talk. And talk. And talk. Business 101— you make more money with continuing clients than having to find new ones. I want ACTIONABLE things to do, other than taking drugs or talking to a shrink 3 times a week, making me poorer, which makes me even more depressed.
What is “depression,” anyway? I mean, everyone gets depressed occasionally, regardless of the masks we wear. Technically, and absurdly simply, depression lies in our chemistry—dopamine, serotonin…etc, not supplying the pleasure centers of our brain adequately. It is commonly accepted that some are born with inadequate levels of these hormones, or there is a problem with their release inside the brain. Manic depression apparently has a genetic component, but this has yet to be proven as hard fact.
Episodes of depression effect most people when events in our life hurt us. For most, the length and severity of feeling sad is usually consummate with the event itself. Losing a loved one, or loosing the lottery generally solicits dramatically different responses. As it should. Most let their feelings of sadness dissipate, often forget them entirely over time. I’ve spent a lifetime envying these folks.
Those of us suffering from depression internalize pain. It resides in us, like a cut, or injury that just won’t heal. We hang on to our hurts, from minor slights to major loss. And whether born with an imbalance, or too many painful life events, when sadness sticks, builds up and gets thick, every day feels like wading through molasses. If depression festers long enough it will eventually kill you. It strips us of the single motivating factor that keeps us all alive through dark times… hope.
Curing clinical depression for those who experience it, and those who have to live with people who do, is paramount. Over 90% of those who attempt or commit suicide are clinically depressed. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death worldwide, which is a shame, because so often emotionally wired people are the creators, writers, artists, builders of thriving societies. It is believed Abraham Lincoln suffered from Depression.
The only way to help reverse, or at least halt the chemical cascade into darkness is to actualize pleasure. I realize that an effect of depression is finding no joy in anything, but that’s not true, and those of you reading this that are living with that weight in your chest with most every breath, KNOW it’s not true. It is that ugly voice in our heads meant to perpetuate depression, and a LIE. A rainbow is still beautiful. A double-rainbow extraordinary. The taste of your favorite foods; a hug when we’re scared, or lonely; backrubs; creating something—these things are still good. The Pacific cresting at 40ft is still awe striking; a field of blooming flowers still visually stunning…etc..;-}.
Living, existing as human, is all about FEELING. The good, the bad, the ugly, the wonderous, the awesome, the magnificant empowerment of feeling loved, respected, valued. The charge that comes with creation. The suffocating black hole with loss.
Are you living with Depression?
If so, SEEK and FIND JOY, not self-destructive behavior, like drinking or using cuz it’s fun, as this will increase depression. Do things, stuff that turns you on, makes you feel—if not good—at least glad you get to see it, taste it, experience it—without regret later!! ACCOMPLISHING TASKS also lights up your brain’s pleasure centers. String enough joy and accomplishments together, even simple things, and, over time, continually reminding your brain why you are choosing to live will reinforce your desire to do so.