Thursday, January 8, 2009


Nothing makes me madder than someone talking about a subject they know nothing about. Having dealt with depression my entire life, I think I can give a little insight. Yes - my ENTIRE life.

Depression is not about being sad. Being sad can trigger depression, major life events can trigger depression, genetics can play a role in depression but being sad is NOT depression. Being depressed is a chemical imbalance in your brain. Nothing anyone can say will pull you out of it. You can NOT just snap out of it. People with their well intentioned, "When I am sad BS...." just don't get that depression is a medical condition.

This is a great description for understanding depression:

"Many things can trigger debilitating depression. Feelings of depression are caused by a chemical change that affects how the brain functions. A normally functioning brain is a giant messaging system that controls everything from your heartbeat, to walking, to your emotions. The brain is made up of billions of nerve cells called neurons. These neurons send and receive messages from the rest of your body, using brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. These brain chemicals—in varying amounts—are responsible for our emotional state. Depression happens when these chemical messages aren’t delivered correctly between brain cells, disrupting communication. Think of a telephone: if your phone has a weak signal, you may not hear the person on the other end. Their communication is muted or unclear."

I have learned to manage my depression in a variety of ways. I haven't had a episode in a number of years now. And I can feel when it starts so I know to deal with it immediately. Depression to me feels like a dark hole that I keep sliding deeper into. I try to climb out but I keep sliding down further and further. It is a dark lonely place. Or another way to describe my depression would be the record or CD that keeps skipping. It's stuck but it won't go to that next groove (I don't know what the CD analogy is.) The thing is - I know I will always have to worry about depression in my life so I make sure to stay on top of it.

I could give you all the sad details of my life long relationship with Mr. D but I prefer not to relive those episodes.

So for all of you who have a depressed friend, tell them you are sorry, ask them if they are seeking help, don't judge, tell them you are there for them and most of all do not say, "When I'm sad...."


Danielle said...

I think the ironic part of reading this post is that P!nk's "Crystal Ball" was playing while I read it. Talk about striking. Very real.

jamie said...

It is hard to understand. I totally agree. And if you haven't been there, you likely don't know what it is like. I think Crystal Ball is a perfect song for this post. xo

stillarockstar said...

And I'm grateful for the few friends I have that DO somewhat understand... :)

Thanks for sharing!

TheCynicalOptimist said...

I don't know if I've ever been there. But I hope I am sensitive to those that are???

cls-soon-to-be-B said...

this is frustrating to me...
i can't and don't understand - so i can't try to console and say that i do - all i know is that i'm here - otherwise i feel like a fake or i don't know what to say - so i guess that's it. i'm here.

Kara said...

Saying you are here is a very powerful thing. Most people want to back away. Some people get angry when they just don't understand. It's a crazy thing depression. I am grateful that we talk about it now and that there is medication to help and I am super grateful for my friends still being my friends even when I had some major episodes.