I joined WordPress months ago so I could post comments on other people’s Second Life Blogs. I didn’t want to write my own blog because I thought no one would want to read my posts anyway. I’ve tried blogging before, and given up on it before. I start out thinking I have something interesting to say, then end up thinking I’m stupid to think anyone should care what think or say.
So, here’s where I am now. Deeply, deeply depressed and suicidal. I still think nobody really cares. I also don’t want to bring other people down by having them feel sorry for me. I mean of course people who don’t really know me. It’s probably easier to feel bad about someone you don’t know who’s depressed than to try to help someone you do know who’s depressed. Dealing with depression is hard, whether you’re the one feeling it or you’re the one trying to help someone else who’s depressed.
This is what you need to know about Depression.
- This is a brain chemistry disorder. Brain scans show that people who are depressed show different activity patterns than “normal” brains too. Depression is not caused by not being grateful enough, by not trying to be positive, or by not believing in God. It’s not laziness either, though it might look like that to someone who doesn’t understand what’s going on in the depressed person’s brain.
- If you don’t understand how depression really affects people, most of what you think will be helpful to say to a depressed person probably won’t be. Saying you’re sorry the person feels bad is ok. Asking what you can do to help is great if you’re actually willing to follow through. Sometimes getting out for a walk or going out to eat helps, but don’t expect one outing to make everything all better for the depressed person.
- Antidepressants help. Professional therapy helps. Getting enough sleep, exercise, sunshine, good nutrition, laughter, talking about how one feels all help…but nothing is a magic bullet that will cure biochemical depression forever. Managing depression is a lot like managing diabetes or alcohol addiction. It’s an ongoing battle with good days and bad days. It’s not like an infection that can be cured with antibiotics or a broken bone that will heal with a cast and time.
- Depression is often an invisible illness with a wide variety of symptoms. Sometimes the depressed person may look sad and lethargic. Sometimes they may be angry. Often they’re just kind of numb. Sometimes they seem fine too.
- Depression lowers a person’s ability to do stuff they need to do. It saps willpower, self-confidence, and hope. Depression makes it harder to concentrate, harder to read long things, harder to make sense of stuff one reads. It makes a person want to give up. When you expect a depressed person to pull themselves together and do what needs to be done, that’s kind of like expecting a person with a broken leg to get up and walk. It can be done, but they need some help. Being annoyed with them for not being able to do things you think you’d do in their position isn’t really helpful either.
Here are some good, short articles I found about depression:
Funny posts about Depression from the blog, Hyperbole and a Half: