A Depression Synopsis

Telling It Like It Is

Depression is often well articulated by medical definition but not fully understood by the general public. Most people get their view of depression from movies or television or drug advertisements. But the symptoms portrayed in these media really do not capture the true character of mental depression. People with this illness don't sit looking out the window with a sad, longing expression. They interact with you everyday smiling, joking, and seeming to be the average person in the street. What we don't see, with apologies to Smokey Robinson, is "the tears of a clown". Its a rare day that goes by when we don't watch a news report of suicides, family disputes, shootings, or some other kind of not-so-happy act. Their friends and neighbors interviewed are always "shocked" by this revelation. "Gee, he seemed like such a nice guy, always had a friendly smile or greeting". Its not to say that these reports are only about persons who have this illness but many of these individuals are acting in response to conditions exacerbated by depression. To those of us who really understand, we know its a manifestation of their extreme frustration, sense of failure, and subsequent inability to find reward or satisfaction in their lives. These feelings intensify over time and need to be released in a healthy way before becoming uncontrollable.

Depression is something deep inside. Its an overwhelming emptiness, a sadness that consumes free thoughts and prohibits pleasure. You can't find happiness or satisfaction in any normal daily activity, often feeling quite alone with a sadness much like the grief experienced when mourning a death. You still love your family and care about friends but are constantly waiting for bad news or disaster to strike .... the infamous other shoe to drop. Being mentally consumed in this manner inhibits any attempt to be happy. Friends tell you to "get over it", "chill-out", " quit thinking that way" and so on. They don't understand and this just puts you deeper in your hole. You find yourself more withdrawn, limiting contacts, avoiding social events. You truly feel that no good deed goes unpunished so why expose yourself. If everything is viewed with a negative eye, you can't be disappointed. This is how to protect yourself.

It is most important to distinguish between being depressed and having depression. Being depressed is an emotion while depression is an illness. Medications can help. They are not a cure but can provide enough symptom relief to enable a person some control over anger or extreme grief, allowing them to function. Depression ranges from mild to manic but the depth of emotion is the same for all who have this illness. Many can find solace in sharing their thoughts with others who also live with depression. Those who share the symptoms are best suited to listen, understand and comfort. My advice is to seek out others who are ill and talk, vent, relieve the pent-up fears and bad thoughts. It isn't a cure but you won't feel alone and sometimes that's just enough to go another day.

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Comments 8 comments

burning bush profile image

burning bush 5 years ago Author

Aslanlight, I too haven't really found any resolution by taking antidepressants. I too have tried st.johns wort, and green tea therapies but truth be told, sometimes circumstances must change before one can benefit from any treatment, holistic or otherwise. Because I could get very angry at the slightest of provocation, I do find that the drug therapy helps me have more control over that type of extreme emotion so that's a "good thing". People like us live in our own parallel world and simply learn to cope with what others don't understand. Thank you for your thoughts.

aslanlight profile image

aslanlight 5 years ago from England

I've suffered from depression in the past and I was prescribed antidepressants but they did me no good whatsoever so I stopped taking them. A little later they were banned because they were found to be dangerous. I was once prescribed prozac too but I never took them because the guidance sheet said that one of their possible side effects is suicidal tendencies and a friend of a friend committed suicide while taking them.

I use herbs such as St John's Wort, Cola Vera and Chamomile now and I'm very happy most of the time! I find that a healthy diet keeps me up too and avoiding processed foods.

I agree with you that being told to cheer up is possibly the worst thing people can say. It just means they're not trying to understand.

burning bush profile image

burning bush 5 years ago Author

Jewels, thank you for sharing with me. I know that you speak from the heart and with experience. Someone once said, "the healthy do not believe the sick". This is precisely the problem. Mental illness cannot be simply wished away as some literally taunt you to do. Those who don't "believe" have no concept as to how debilitating and overwhelming a challenge it can be to just get through a day. Sharing with others, to me, is the best way to "vent" but longer term, solutions are unique to our own circumstance. For me, medications allow a more measured control of my emotions, but are far from a cure. For you, another path has provided relief. When you are thin its very easy to tell an overweight person to quit eating, as if one's obesity is so simple to repair because it is perceived to result from a simple lack of resolve. The healthy really do not believe the sick. Perhaps remaining ignorant is their method of coping. You said it... it is a slap in the face.

Jewels profile image

Jewels 5 years ago from Australia

I had several family members tell me to get over it. It showed a lack of understanding, and basically a lack of coping mechanisms on their part to help. It is such a slap in the face to be honest. It's the last thing you want to hear and certainly doesn't help.

Thankfully I've addressed my issues that took me into the pit of depression. I've coped with it for decades. I chose not to do the meds thing, instead sought help to get to the core of why I felt like I did. It's the road less traveled and not for everyone. Persistence paid off.

burning bush profile image

burning bush 6 years ago Author

Yess! ...or write hubs. Thanks for "listening".

Yess! 6 years ago

BB-thank you for your insight. Depression is a medical condition and you are so right that it is treatable. The key is to seek the treatment.

burning bush profile image

burning bush 6 years ago Author

Thank you for your support. Feeling better is a constant work in progress, at least for me.

BobbiRant profile image

BobbiRant 6 years ago from New York

This is a great hub for understanding depression. I know those who do not have it find it very difficult to really grasp it, but this is a great way to try to understand it. Good writing.

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