Archive for the depression myths Category

What You (and even your psych professionals!) May Not Know About Depression

Posted in depression, depression myths with tags , , , , , on March 8, 2019 by morgueticiaatoms

Depression is a many tentacled creature that chokes the life out of you while snuffing out whatever fire burns within. It robs you of joy in even that which you love, minimizes whatever actually keeps you going, and it distorts your thinking to the point that if you’re not in bed in the fetal position, you consider it a good day. There are many myths about depression, and no small amount of doubters (even in my own family). Let’s cover some basic stuff that well, may not be basic to laypeople, depression sufferers, and even to less enlightened and experienced mental health caregivers.

***Depression is a killer. Literally. The method of death may legally be classified as suicide but behind most suicides are very depressed people who tried to seek help, tried to be compliant, tried to do their best…and lost that battle. I will never believe it is anything other than death by depression but then, I have firsthand experience with both friends and family members who have either attempted suicide or succeeded at it. I’ve seen the suffering, the darkness, the cries for help that often fall on deaf ears. It is no myth, it is not hyped up drama and cries for attention. Cries for help, absolutely. Sometimes, it just isn’t enough to seek treatment. Depression is an isidious beast.

**** Depression does not simply affect things you don’t enjoy. There is no convention where every depressed person gathers and decides, “We hate work” or “we don’t to clean” or “basic hygiene is a bummer so I won’t do it”. If it simply impacted that which we hate, we’d all be out at concerts or clubs or eating meals with family and friends and having a good old time. That we retreat even from the things that make us feel alive when we are feeling stable proves this disorder/illness is the real deal.

*** People with depression are not lazy. They are not shiftless. They don’t ‘enjoy’ feeling like there is no hope out there. And we most certainly are not attention seekers who refuse to ‘get well’ because being depressed is so glamorous.

*** People with depression are often soothed by things others would find quite disturbing. Where it is the pitch of a narrator’s voice or the timber or whatever, very often falling asleep to shows like Forensic Files or Deadly Women, even while the topic is upsetting, we will drift right off like babies and sleep quite well and nightmare free. This leads counselors and doctors to think we are somehow defective and embracing our depression but the opposite is true. We seek what soothes us as individuals even the rest of the world would find it horrific. It is also not us promoting murder but rather us enjoying when law enforcement weeds out the bad guys and gets justice for the victims.

*** Ever been tossed a ‘schizotypal’ reference because you dyed your hair green or decided to wear gold lame Hammer pants as a joke? Probably not. Yet if you have depression, this type of behavior is viewed as abnormal and attention seeking. Fact is, some of us march to a different drummer’s beat and it is who we are and what makes us happy. Maybe you rock Alex Van Halen while we rock Tommy Lee or Zakk Wylde. It doesn’t make us weird and it is not a symptom of our depression. One of the few joys left when you have mental health issues is the courage to hold onto the things that make you, well, you.

*** Listening to angry aggressive heavy metal music means you’re depressed/suicidal/homicidal and you need to lighten up and listen to happy music. So not true for most of us. If I didn’t have stuff like Motionless In White to help me vent my aggression via music, then maybe I’d make the volatility list. A Miley Cyrus song came on the radio in the car and my kid was bebopping along and honestly, that bubblegummy shrieky voice and regurgitated pop music made me feel nauseated, not happy. Different isn’t a bad thing, people. Always ne true to yourself, even if you get stuck with some idiotic label. Wear your tinfoil hat, listen to throatsinging, and let your freak flag fly proudly. It’s not a crime. Yet. However if you believe you are involved in a threesome with space aliens…maybe you should have that assessment double checked.

**** Interest in horror movies/dark comics/anime/graphic novels is a symptom of depression and the desire to cling to the dark side. Ha ha ha. Hysterical. Not at all true. Most people with depression have a very strong sense of what is real and what is fiction and what is right and what is wrong. I was watching Jason Vorhees and his magic machete at age 7. I was also reading Fangoria magazine so I knew it was all special effects and totally fake. Over the years I’ve moved away from newer horror movies as they seem vapid and to simply celebrate gore and sadism but I still love my Jason/Freddy/Michael Meyers/Chuckie?Horace Pinker. (Don’t know who Horace Pinker is? You need watch Wes Craven’s Shocker. Good movie, even better metal soundtrack.) People who think our interest in such things is a symptom of depression are probably the same cretins trying to censor old cartoons so we don’t get to see safes falling on animated characters anymore. And I’m the mental one?

*** Sunlight does not always lift our mood. As a long time sufferer of seasonal depression, I think every shrink and therapist I have had has shoved that artificial sun lamp down my throat. I spent a hundred bucks on one in the 90’s. It did no good. So if you prefer wet or cold or gloomy days or all of the above over sunny days…it is not necessarily a symptom of depression. Maybe you’re just from Seattle.

*** Exercise does not always improve depression, contrary to long held beliefs by the psych community. I don’t dispute that for some it is beneficial and perhaps even crucial. For some of us when just walking from room to room is a challenge because we are so run down, exhausted, and our bodies feel leaden…It does not help and it just adds to our shame and self loathing.

*** If you are sick of dealing with/hearing about someone’s depression…Try to grow an empathy bone and think how tired they must be of LIVING IT.

Anyone have something to add that I may have missed?