Tuesday, November 27, 2007

This is Your Brain on Depression

Written May 2007
Sunday night brings anxiety and depression. I never wanted to be chained to a job that I dread so much that it bleeds into my weekend, but that is where I am right now. It’s not just, ‘I don’t want to go back to work…’; I get physically sick.
Then again, I’m not too crazy about leaving my home for any reason, including vacations. As much as I love the beach, I joined a tanning salon so I could work on my tan 8-minutes a few times a week rather than being away from home for several hours.
This describes ‘situational depression/anxiety’ where there is a known cause for such mood change. Sometimes, I wake up after weeks of deep depression, feeling energetic and upbeat. This happens frequently, telling me depressive episodes can result merely from neurochemistry regardless of external factors. After 20 years of this, I have become well-acquainted with the ‘depression dance’ and know how to better control my responses to the uncontrollable. The best way I can explain depression to people who have not experienced it is imagine going out with dirty sunglasses, causing a grayness to everything you see. Things that have been so bright and aesthetic are now dim and monotonous. Knowing your perception has changed dims the glasses even more. Plus, you have that achy, low-grade flu where all you want to do is lay around and sleep. You want everyone to leave you alone, keep the blinds closed and just go away. Everything irritates you… everything. This level of depression only hits me once or twice a year and I call it my “I hate everyone” times. (I really don’t hate people, I just have to focus more on getting out of the pit than taking time for socializing.) Sounds selfish, but it is survival.
Contrary to society’s belief, I don’t see depression as being a sign of weakness; on the contrary, it takes more strength to endure depressive episodes than everyday life. Depression makes you fight harder, hope deeper, and (for me) hold on to Jesus like never before. Then, when the episodic battle is over, not only is your determination and resolve strengthened, your relationship with the Savior is as well.

No comments: