Thursday, June 5, 2014

Understand That You Don't Understand

So many people don't seem to understand how depression works. Depression is not just being sad for a long time, it's something totally different. Most people have NOT experienced depression, whatever they may think.

I hear from time to time that if you're depressed you should just try to think positive, that you need to focus on the good things instead of the bad things. It doesn't work that way. No sentence beginning with 'at least' is anything but obnoxious when you're depressed.

Yes, we know it could get worse. Or it could get better. It wouldn't much matter either way. That's the problem.

Depression is like slowly going color blind. It's like all the colors in the world are fading around you. You still like what you always liked, but you don't FEEL it as strongly as you used to. Activities which normally would give you untold joy are merely slightly less unpleasant than boredom when you're depressed.

It's a chemical imbalance in the brain. You can't just make it better by changing how you think, or what you do. In the worst cases, you can't even WANT to make it better. Depression means losing your ability to feel good, until the pain of remembering how something once made you happy is worse than what little enjoyment you still get out of it, and doing anything other than sitting in the corner feels like a waste of effort.

If that wasn't bad enough, half the time all the medications for depression do is make you unable to feel ANYTHING, so you're just going through the motions of life. Sometimes, that's almost worse. The only reason suicide stops sounding like a good option is because it would be too much effort.

It takes a long time to figure out how to handle depression correctly, and there's no one right answer, but it never really goes away. You just build on top of it.

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