Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What is Depression - Part I

HEY! YES! Here we are again, staring at this blog, for the better of ourselves. Lets take a stroll through depression. Sounds like fun (pfff).

What is depression?

Depression - yeah well we know what it is, or at least how it feels so I won't even go into it. I'll just refer to it as a sadness. 

What scares me about depression is how it is perceived, especially on the internet. I have people very close to me who "have" depression, that is, they have been diagnosed at one point or another with the negative "disease" or "trait" of depression. This disturbs me, as it automatically stigmatizes depression as something to get rid of immediately, treat with medication, and is generally something to avoid. 

It is generally accepted by people that depression means there is something physically wrong with them that could not otherwise be fixed by mental exercise. I would like to say in 90% of cases of depression this is a flat out wrong assumption - 90% of depression is curable without the use of medication if not 100%.

A bold claim but I hope to convince you that this is true.

Lets see what the bias and stigmatization on the internet actually looks like - what forms does it take that we may or may not have picked up on while searching ourselves. The first website I find says this;

Depression is a medical illness, not a sign of weakness. And it's treatable.

What exactly does that mean - a medical illness? Is it safe to assume that general sadness is not a medical illness? Here they indirectly explain that depression is not the same as intense sadness - there is something more, it is an illness. If I wasn't feeling bad enough already...

Next I learn that 1 in 10 people in America suffer from this "illness". Why the hell isn't every major news station asking the most important question here - Why are we depressed?

So I keep searching, and then it really hits me. This is what I read next;

Some of the most common drugs for depression are Celexa, Cymbalta, Effexor, Lexapro, Paxil, Pristiq, Prozac, Remeron, Wellbutrin, and Zoloft. Doctors may try one of these drugs first. 
If they don't work for you, your doctor may suggest another type of medication or a combination of different medicines. There are many options with different benefits and side effects.
How they work: Scientists think they work by helping to improve how nerve cells in the brain communicate.

 Oh wait, what? We went from "You may be experiencing depression" to a list of drugs. Leaps and bounds! Where do I learn what depression is - why exactly do I have it? Don't worry though - if that first list doesn't work, they'll keep trying new medication, there are many options apparently. Interestingly enough they have this big list of chemicals to give you, but they only think that they help by "improving" how nerve cells communicate.

Take a step back with me for minute. This is view of depression is prevalent wherever you go and I'd like you to realize what just happened. This is what I have read;
1. Depression is an illness - like a disease. It isn't like sadness.
2. There is something actually wrong with you that a normal person wouldn't have (notice that they indirectly state this by the statement "anti-depressants improve nerve cells" in the brain.)
3. Any website with information on depression will plaster you with anti-depressant medication, not therapies or the real cause of depression.
4. Nobody ever asks why 10% of the population has this!

Absorb what just happened in this little excursion through e-depression.
What do you really learn about the subject online?
Do you learn about the root cause of it?
Does it ever come across to you as odd why 10% of the population has it?
Does it make you wonder why scientists invent these chemicals but don't know exactly what is going on?

The next post (hopefully tomorrow) will highlight the paradigms of depression - the right and the wrong:
One gives you medication and fixes a 'dysfunction' in the brain.
The other addresses the root cause, and will bring you to your true self.

To end on a good note; a smile a day keeps the doctor away. Smile.
The muscles associated with your smile are also associated with happiness; smiling causes happiness. The beautiful thing is it, of course, works the other way around as well! :)


  1. I’ve often found that the media does not appear to want to talk about what is really going on with this nation, especially when it comes to mental illnesses, such as depression. I only say illness or disorder because to me, that is an easier way to construct it into a context. Being a counselor and future graduate student in psychology and also my experience in psych hospital and substance abuse treatment clinics, I see depression around me constantly, along with, as I’ve said in a previous post, having it myself. Most of those medications you listed, we offer them here at the psych hospital, it’s like candy. I think depression has a few factors of cause. I think media actually does not help with this cause, they make it worse. People don’t see how common it is and how they shouldn’t feel bad about it. They see the things they are supposed to be or get and it makes them sad when they can’t afford to get the best car out there or something around those lines. I think more than 10% of the population has it; I believe that’s just from statistics due to those going to counseling and being assessed. Another cause could be chemically but the mind is powerful, thoughts are. I believe working on dysfunctional thinking would strengthen the mind’s sore to battle this depression. It’s hope. One has to have hope to be able to gain strength and those with depression are helpless at those moments… so if they could find a way to acquire hope or strengthen what little hope they have, then they will be able to work towards fighting. They need to be encouraged though and not feel that there’s nothing they can do but besides take meds, which is going to make them feel numb… or drowsy. Is that really a better alternative? I say give me a more quality life, even though starting out will be rocky compared to a low quality life where you are just there, physically but your heart is just empty. A lot of people with depression though do have this numb feeling, it comes after feeling sad or vice versa. Maybe people become worse depressed because they feel guilty for their depression, even though at times it’s normal. It’s normal to feel sad sometimes, we all have emotions. Why should we feel bad about our emotions!? A few months ago, one of my boxing friends at the gym, we were talking in private in the locker room (no one was in there at the time) because it was like 3am and she openly expressed thoughts about her depression and I felt relived. I was able to drop my guard and be like holy shit, I have depression too… and we talked about it and now we are closer than ever, just because we have a level of understanding. Whenever I feel sad, I just text her and she brings me up sometimes, same with her. It’s support. I mean hell I’m counseling people, am I supposed to be all happy and robot like with my emotions? I can’t help but feel suffocated sometimes with the pressures of society. The media focuses so much on “relationships- money- success” , sometimes I feel that I’m lacking in some of these areas.
    Since I noticed you write poems, I’m going to submit some too.

  2. "Depression"

    My eyes glaze over
    When I'm struck by you.
    The sunshine becomes hidden
    As if I've closed my eyes to this world.

    These car wrecks-
    I expect them to occur
    But never can I predict
    Exactly when, where, and how..
    Though… I do always know who.

    Will my heart again be crushed this time
    Or induced stress on my shoulders?
    Will it be my finally wreck-
    Where they will lay me down to rest?
    Finally realizing what nothing actually feels.

    Even though you try to bring me down,
    Underneath you-
    Always… I will walk away
    From these many wrecks.

    As I place my palms on where my skin burns,
    My scars are brought with me
    As reminders of what I've triumph through,
    What I know I can overcome again and again…
    Never will they be forgotten
    Because my strength is who I am.

    So depression-
    Try… just try to make me die
    I'm truly the one that drives me
    To where I'm trying to be...
    You just hit me at times.

    I will not be taken away from
    What I take pride into calling my life
    I will only rest when I'm satisfied
    With everything I will be leaving behind…
    Not because you tricked me too.

    "Tick Tock"

    Noises… they merge and devour to the hallway nearby
    Bypassing the exit sign, it's still there… but it hides away,
    Seeping underneath the door panel of what appears

    To be no... safe way out.

    Slowly pulling the splinters out from the pores of my face,
    Ears become drenched with blood
    And cause the lack of ability to hear anything
    But the sounds of my inner heart beating
    And pounding in my head…

    Couldn't you tell... these noises...
    They shook and teared the surface walls so quickly,
    All wood was broken and pained me.

    I walk. I try.

    My legs... failed...me.
    With little hope for warmth,
    Suddenly my body drifted to the floor…

    Crying for closure...
    For that feeling that I can feel…
    And as these seconds streamed on by,
    I slowly regained consciousness of sounds distanced away.
    I'm left with such comfort I have little strength to take in…
    The tick tocking of what controls reality…

    Because as of now, my entire body is being pulled
    From the inside paradise I set myself up to believe in
    Just so I can make it another day
    To the torturous outskirts of what people
    Force to place me in.

    But it's all numb… everything before me lacks interest to my survival…
    Even seconds are not saying goodbye…
    But this tick tock... it continues,
    And even though time is perishing, slipping away,
    I know it's still there.

    The welcoming noise reminds me…
    It rhythms my breathing...
    Time is still there….
    And that gives me hope
    To get through this all...

    These outskirts I will outrun
    Because I choose to be the one
    To say goodbye,
    Not be left behind...
    Not from irrational time that restricts me
    From my hopeful feelings I now have regained.

    "The Thing in Itself"

    If one can not see
    What the next day can bring,
    That one is trapped in it's own illusions
    Of self worth and defeat.

    If one only thinks
    What one has in it's mind,
    That makes it steer clear
    Of risk and opportunity..

    Then that one is falling short
    Of hope and success…
    While everyone around them
    Is trying to move ahead.

    All they are doing is being stuck
    In their mind… and place…
    Not even cluing in,
    How far along they could have been.

    The thing in itself…
    Is that if you don't accept what's going on,
    If you keep thinking wrong,
    You have no one else to blame but yourself…

  3. (The poem below is actually what I did for my talent for Miss Alaska America 2011) as a contestant, first pageant, haha wanted to try something new. I didn’t read it out but had it memorized so just openly spoke it. I wanted to make it an awareness that we, as society, need to be more open with the truth and work together for matters… it sounds more like a speech, oh well… but I feel that preventing the unpredictable is through these types of measures.

    "Broaden the Horizon"

    When it comes down to it,
    The exact moment of realization,
    We are all we have,
    Together, we can direct our society
    Through our actions.

    This is the time to do as such
    For us to speak up.

    How much more have to fall before we make change?
    It shouldn't be this way...
    We all share the same blood
    If you were brought up a certain way,
    Your entire life,
    Wouldn't you want to know about the other side?
    No one chooses where they were born.
    We are just the lucky ones to be born with such freedom
    But that means we must be the strong ones,
    Determined ones in making the right decisions
    In improving societies amongst us.

    But what could we possibly do?
    You and I… all of us

    Let's work together to reason as one-
    Use our strengths to build up our weaknesses…
    With ideas, we can compromise and
    Take that promise of tomorrow
    And make it brighter than before
    I'm asking you to wash away such differences
    Because together we can prevent the unpredictable-
    Through knowledge-
    Through something known as social and emotional learning
    None of us know
    Until we learn how to know, how to feel, and how to become.

    Hope I didn't post too much, there was a limited on the characters I could send through these comments haha so I had to split them up!