- Mental Health
The Legacy of Depression
The Legacy of Depression
By Tony DeLorger © 2012
How skewed reality becomes when brain chemistry is less than balanced. Depression, bi-polar disorder and many other related mental illnesses are caused from the imbalance of neurotransmitters, chemicals that can affect mood and by process, thought. This subtle depletion disrupts connections that determine how we feel and how we perceive reality. Physical lethargy, exhaustion, unhappiness, insecurity, paranoia and a plethora of negative feelings and experiences can all but strangle our will to maintain equilibrium and therefore sabotage our moment to moment reality.
For those who have never experienced any form of mental illness it is all but impossible to explain the experience. Stigmas still exist in understanding these types of illnesses and many people think that the experience is somehow wanted, for attention of some other advantage. They say 'get over yourself', or 'pull yourself together', when in fact if it were that simple these illnesses wouldn't exist. The truth is that millions of people all over the world experiences these illnesses, struggling moment to moment to cope with the most rudimentary daily functions. Often getting out of bed is like trying to climb Everest, the vastness of the task completely overwhelming.
I have experienced low level depression and cyclic clinical depression for over thirty years and even with medication, extensive training in meditation, CBT and MBCBT techniques the struggle for functionality remains. I have learned to know when my brain chemistry is losing balance and for the most part I can reintroduce techniques that allow my thinking to remain positive and not let the wave of darkness envelop me.
Life can be a struggle, it has challenges and obstacles to overcome for all of us, but when you add the insidious addition of a 'third party' or so it seems, bent on changing all direction of rational thought and process, struggle suddenly becomes a far more formidable foe.
The feelings are firstly physical: lethargy, sleepiness, mental sluggishness, forgetfulness and the feeling of being weighed down by something, like a heavy wet blanket. Each step is like wading through a clog mire. Then mentally, each thought slowly piecing itself together until it can be considered, and each decision fraught with doubt and apprehension. Together, these feelings and experiences can weaken your resolve and leave you unwilling to have to deal with the world at all.
But of course the world doesn't go away just because we'd wish it, and the necessities remains: having to work, earn money, attend to family and all the responsibilities that life expects of us. We must function, act, communicate and survive each moment of each day, of each week and year; time waits for no-one.
In some strange twisted way, depression has taught me about myself, my shortcomings and my inner strength. It has shown me that despite this disorder, one can overcome and function to an acceptable level. I often need a time out, have to slow down the onslaught and I may well appear a little odd in the way I make this happen. But in the end I have to accommodate myself, take care of what's happening to me. I believe that therapy and learning to understand the psyche, motivations and propensities have taught me a great deal and I'm sure that appears in what I write, and therefore is a blessing in disguise.
There is a legacy with depression, and as with all experience it can teach us about ourselves and how we respond to the world. How we then perceive reality can only be broader as a consequence.