People often ask me what it means to be depressed and what it feels like. I've found the best way to describe it to people is with the Edgar Allen Poe poem "Alone".
BY EDGAR ALLAN POE
From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were—I have not seen
As others saw—I could not bring
My passions from a common spring—
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow—I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone—
And all I lov’d—I lov’d alone—
Then—in my childhood—in the dawn
Of a most stormy life—was drawn
From ev’ry depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still—
From the torrent, or the fountain—
From the red cliff of the mountain—
From the sun that ’round me roll’d
In its autumn tint of gold—
From the lightning in the sky
As it pass’d me flying by—
From the thunder, and the storm—
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view—
Source: American Poetry: The Nineteenth Century (1993)
Depression Effects Everyone
Depression does not discriminate, it is an equal opportunity hater. Depression can affect each of us at different points in our lives. There are times when depression is due to a situation, and there are times when it is due to a clinical issue. Depression can be caused by the environment that we live in and it at time can also be caused by the chemicals in our brain. What is the cause of your depression and how you deal with it can vary. You could want to try the “positive thinking approach” and “mentally will yourself out of the fog”. You could decide to eat “healthy” and picking up new and interesting hobbies. You could try medication such as Wellbutrin and Prozac in order to deal with the depression. You might also try some form of talk therapy where you try to uncover the root cause of your depression. You could also look at all these different options and decide that the best approach for you would be to combine several of these approaches.
Get a Different Perspective
If you were to decide to try talk therapy here are some things to consider. When you come into a therapist’s office for a session, you may or may not see what the reason for your sadness is. I have found that sometimes when the client doesn’t recognize possible reasons for their sadness it is because they are too close to the situation to recognize the cause. We tend to adapt to our “life situation” as best we can and we can get “used” to whatever is causing us to feel sad. We can get used to the chronic pain, poor relationship, death of a loved one, addiction or stress at work and school and forget that these stressors are not necessarily normal. We sometimes shrug them off as part of life and “just deal” and sometimes it takes going to talk to someone else to see the struggle. The therapist you talk to might have a different perspective and say “hey, are you okay, this stuff you’re going through is not the normal amount of life stress, you are on overload”.
Therapists, like myself, have the added benefit of being trained to talk about the sensitive topics surrounding depression and are comfortable helping you to address the symptoms as they come up. Friends may not know what to say or do when you go to them and talk with them about not being able to sleep well, feeling listless, having no interest in activities that you used to love, not wanting to get out of bed, intense dread that doesn’t always have a cause and overwhelming sadness. A friend’s overriding reaction might be worry for you and that emotional pull might overwhelm them where a trained therapist will not get overwhelmed when trying to help you.
Depression is Treatable
The thing to remember is that you always have a choice. It may not seem like you do, and it may be hard to identify, but you do always have a choice when seeking help for depression. You make choices when you pick the way in which you want to address the depression. You make a choice when you get up and try and go through the day as best as you can. It is so important to recognize the choice you have no matter how small because depression can be very debilitating and take away all sense of control over our own lives.
Do you think you have depression? Are you looking for someone to talk to? Contact us today for a free intake consultation.
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