Depression is bad. It presents a view of the world that is real and unreal. The perspective is incredibly honest and incredibly terribly flawed. Depressed people will tell you they are just tired, which is true, but not how you think. Living a depressed life is like living deep under the water. There is a normality, but the depressed person knows they are not in the same world with other people, and they cannot relate to the larger world. The “tapes” that run through the mind of a depressed person are harmful and repetitive. Their content focuses on the depressed person’s perception of reality.
There are entire books written on depression. Blogging is not the avenue to pursue a book, but I can provide bullet lists that speak to the depression related aspects of coping, direction, outcomes, and possible remedies. I give these so you can recognize depression in yourself or others.
• Pursuing outward distractions
• Self-medication to escape
• Physically hiding from the world
• Desire to not be here – suicidal thoughts
• Inward Turning – self-loathing, self-destruction
• Outward Turning – mania, frustration
• Under-valuing personal contributions / abilities
• Manic outward focuses (shopping, gaming, T.V. watching)
• Disregard for personal health and hygiene
• Erratic behavior
• Addiction (through self-medication)
• Not caring about environment
• Future outcomes are unimportant
• Outward personality varies from manic to subdued
• Sensitivity to stressful situations, an appearance of sensitivity
• Activities that counter negative behavior
• Support / intervention that is NOT co-dependent
• Personal reflection on the reality of the depression
• Spiritual reflection
There is a lot of confusion regarding the depressed person. Outsiders wonder “why” a depressed person chooses to be depressed. While there is an element of choice, this is not a normal kind of choosing. Why would a depressed person live the messy, painful lifestyles that accompany their affliction? Why would a depressed person want to suffer the indignations of their life? The outsider does not understand the evil seductive nature of depression: all the choices lead to the same place, and that place maintains the depression.
Depression can be a lifetime experience. Full recovery, if it comes at all, can take a very long time as well. Going back to the analogy of living deep underwater, if depression is all a person knows, than the thought of moving into another state can evoke fear. The use of medications is an excellent stop-gap measure, especially when the depressed person is a danger to themselves or others. Sadly medication can just be a band-aid, incapable of performing the true healing required, but they can open the door to seeing there are life alternatives to depression.
Is there escape from long-term depression? I don’t know. Normal is as normal does. What of the people who accompany the depressed person through life? What are they to do? To answer these questions, I suspect that chronic depression is a lifetime struggle. Caring outsiders are tasked with being supportive without creating co-dependent environments. I won’t go into what co-dependency is, but please look into this if you are the outsider dealing with a depressed person. The depressed person is tasked with being available to treatment.
Depression’s destructive nature is a self-fulfilling prophecy if a person does not attempt to break loose.
Depression is real. Depression is chronic. Depression is also part of life, and as such, can be overcome in small or big ways. The saddest thing about depression is the life potential that it steals. People do not achieve all that they could. Sometimes it seems that the people most capable of amazing creative tasks are the ones hit hardest by depression. Most of all, depression is selfish. We have to be selfish too, sufferers of depression and caring outsiders, as we strive to retrieve depression’s precious human bounty.