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Nothing to be Depressed About. Wednesday October 9, 2013

You'd think it would be obvious, wouldn't you? If you're depressed, then you're depressed. You feel down, you might feel life is not worth living, you suffer from negative thoughts.

But sometimes it's not that simple. I was just exhausted all the time. I was sleeping most of the day. I was too tired to go out, to put my make up on; too tired to get dressed properly, to cook, to eat. But there were no negative thoughts, no blue moods; I was just frustrated and needed a good old fashioned tonic.

I still remember the total shock and disbelief I experienced when my GP (a very experienced and wise woman) said "I think you might be suffering from depression."
My immediate reaction was "I can't be depressed: I have nothing to be depressed about!"

It was true then and true now. I have experienced great blessings in my life and have the luck and privilege of being happily married and the mother of two healthy children, to have a roof over my head and enough money to pay the bills and put food on the table. Lots of people don't have that. It is they who can rightly be depressed. I don't have that right.

But there is another point of view.

I was reading the memoirs of another GP recently. He wrote about the futility of prescribing anti-depressants to those patients who lived lives of abject poverty with no positive relationships, dealing with problems caused by alcoholism and drug abuse.

He made the point that, though those patients were undoubtedly depressed, they were not suffering from clinical depression as such – but from dreadful lives (he used a more pithy and graphic term which I shall not repeat at the risk of causing offence).

So, the depression that we live with may be utterly unconnected with circumstances and it's no use playing the guilt card. It's also no use declining the drugs out of pride or pig-headedness.

I always swore I'd never go on the drugs, but now I bless whoever invented Fluoxetine – because it helps – it really does. In those times when just getting out of bed, getting washed, getting dressed, taking the children to school is the equivalent of climbing Ben Nevis (in stilettos), the pills can provide that vital extra boost. The therapy helps too, of course!

At the moment things are fine, and for every day that continues I'm grateful. And finally, finally, I've learned not to feel guilty about my illness. It comes, it goes; I'm learning how to deal with it and educating my family and friends in how to deal with it also.

It's a nuisance, but it's not a tragedy. And I refuse to be a drama-queen about it.

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Anonymous Wed, Oct 9th 2013 @ 7:31am

I absolutely relate to this blog Mary,thank you . I was in almost the same position in my life and felt so guilty because I knew I had everything to be happy about but was totally depressed and could not tell anyone. In the end I told my doctor who knew me quite well. He simply said that it was not at all unusual which immediately made me feel less bad. He also said that high achievers often expected too much of themselves .

Anonymous Wed, Oct 9th 2013 @ 8:50am

So would it be right to say that if one is depressed due to circumstances, (reactive depression) that anti-depressants would not help?

Anonymous Wed, Oct 9th 2013 @ 8:55am

Feel your own pain, brothers and sisters. Peace and Love.

Anonymous Wed, Oct 9th 2013 @ 8:56am

Not sure how useful todays blog is for people who have quite blighted lives (like myself) and are depressed?

Anonymous Wed, Oct 9th 2013 @ 8:57am

Me too. My story too. You expressed it very well, Mary. The only difference is that I don't tell friends, I hide it and make excuses for not seeing them. Because in my experience, the suggestions they make are not helpful, just put more pressure on.

Anonymous Wed, Oct 9th 2013 @ 9:09am

This scenario was just me to a tee! How could I be depressed when I have a good husband, healthy beautiful children, a home, job I loved and asked my GP that although I was severely sleep deprived, having not slept for weeks, could hardly speak, unable to think in any organised way but why me!!! Until we recognise ourselves that depression is not the luxury we deserve if things aren't right in our lives but a condition we suffer from if things aren't right in our mind we can't start to tackle it. Still fighting the battle but now I know who the enemy is, which really helps.

Anonymous Wed, Oct 9th 2013 @ 9:13am

Great blog entry today. I made a point to my GP on the first visit after diagnosis. If I need a tablet to make the world alright then either the world is screwed, or I need to change the way I'm living my life. GP was a tad angry about that, spouting on about chemical in-balances and broken bones that need fixing etc, but I still believe it, and the comment about 'Dreadful Lives' reminded me of that time again. Thank you. :-)

Faye Wed, Oct 9th 2013 @ 9:14am

I'm not sure whether discussing whether someone has the 'right' to be depressed is helpful - it seems unsympathetic to say the least. One never considers the 'right' of someone to heart disease. Also the phrase 'drama queen' - are you suggesting other people are drama queens about their mental health issues? It smacks of condemnation - and who are you (or any of us) to condemn other people for the way they try to deal with their illnesses.

Anonymous Wed, Oct 9th 2013 @ 9:21am

Your latest blog was so well written. I totally agree with all you say. I am on Lithium and Venlafaxine which makes it possible to perform tasks I think I cannot do, I am bipolar and welcome all the blogs from Moodscope, but this one from you Mary prompted a comment from me. Thank you.

Anonymous Wed, Oct 9th 2013 @ 9:25am

I totally agree with you Faye

Anonymous Wed, Oct 9th 2013 @ 9:32am

Read Partrick Holfords books , 5-HTP a great supplement for raising serotonin levels and helps sleep and anxiety .
prescribed meds are ok if you really cannot get out of bed , however self management is vital too things like getting sunshine when possible , activity /exercise essential , avoid isolation , low sugar , protein ,less carbs. Put the building blocks in first (daily) to prevent or protect against dips. Put yourself first as much as you can !!

Julia Wed, Oct 9th 2013 @ 10:16am

Yes, I am slightly confused by the message of this blog today. We need a precis! Bill Andrews has some excellent views and facts on antidepressants which he posted on a blog a while back. If he could cut and paste it, it might help some of us to be reminded of the value or otherwise of anti depressants. However I strongly feel that if anti depressants help some people to feel better, then surely that is great. Mary, you say you find Prozac a life saver. So many people do.It makes me want to try it again. I think I may need a higher dose than the minimum Drs always give out.

Anonymous Wed, Oct 9th 2013 @ 10:29am

Thanks for that, your words are so close to home...good to hear I am not alone with my feelings of guilt about feeling low when there aren't any 'obvious' reasons.
I live in Italy and here GPs are not that keen to prescribe antidepressant ( in my case Fluoxetine which I have been taking when living in UK) so I am trying to boost my naturally low serotonin by lifestyle changes. so far exercise and small dosage of 80% chocolate are the most helpful.

Anonymous Wed, Oct 9th 2013 @ 12:00pm

Thank you for your blog, Mary. They certainly parallel my experience, but I have also been clinically depressed due to being bullied at work. We need to realize there are different types of depression and reasons for it and be prepared to use drugs when needed and found helpful, or have counselling/psychology help.

Anonymous Wed, Oct 9th 2013 @ 12:25pm

it made me feel that I am right - that there is depression caused by a clinical condition which is helped by drugs. Another form is because one has to live a life with dire things they cannot change. This is not helped by drugs unless of course you want to feel like a zombie in which case the GP can probably oblige. This is where positivity mindfulness and self help books can make a difference - don't despair it was useful in that sense. I don't do the drugs, know just how bad I feel at times, but b
t my own efforts just how good it can feel too - not a change of circumstances, just a change of attitude.

Anonymous Wed, Oct 9th 2013 @ 1:46pm

Well said! I was exactly the same. The guilt because you know your life is good makes it so much worse. My GP was great - she knew me and had to persuade me for ages to take anti depressants but they definitely help. So does ditching the guilt!

Anonymous Wed, Oct 9th 2013 @ 1:53pm

What a great blog! Accepting that there is a problem - an illness - rather than beating yourself up about it and trying to pull yourself together (as I did for years) has to be the first step. I am a strong happy person - with an illness. I now recognize this and try not to feel guilt. It is what it is - and I have actually done more with my life because of it. Not all roses - and can be very frightening - but take courage! We are far from alone..

Anonymous Wed, Oct 9th 2013 @ 5:55pm

Your blog today really hit the arrow onto the target. I feel closely if not exactly to these thoughts about depression and the experience. Thank you for expressing in your words what I could not find the words to express. I was able to share this with others who are trying to understand what I am going through.

I would also like to respond to nay-sayers about this particular blog. Being grateful and lucky and refusing to be a drama queen is simply that. About herself. Never in her words has she expressed this as her thoughts about others. I hope you find yourself less critical of people expressing feelings about their own personal experience.

Anonymous Wed, Oct 9th 2013 @ 8:26pm

Thank you for your blog - I can identify with the feeling of guilt as I have had a good life so far but have suffered with depression and negative thinking on and off for many years. I keep it generally to myself apart from a support group I attend which I find very valuable.

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