“we all know this needs to change, for so many reasons. the biggest one that comes to mind has to do with isolation. isolation of two kinds: the isolation of stigma is one (because mental illness is not supposed to exist, and if it does, it needs to be swept under the carpet). the other is the isolation that is built into many types of mental illness. in many ways, experiences like depression, anxiety, schizophrenia or anorexia – to give just a few examples – are illnesses of isolation. the sheer act of opening the mouth can seem almost impossible when one’s throat is constricted with fear; the effort of sending forth a sound can so often not be mustered when depression has laid a leaden blanket over everything.” Isabella Mori (Moritherapy.org)
I had clinical depression for two years–and lived to talk about it. Suicide thoughts were about slipping my car into a lake or pond. I lived in Winter Park, Florida then and there were many bodies of water. I don’t know whether it takes courage to end your life or if the courage is in continuing to live. I chose to live and am so grateful for the person I was because it all led to the person I am. And I love being me.
I have attended twelve step meetings on a regular basis and often heard someone say that he/she is depressed. Many times the correct word may be sad, lonely or tired. Learning to make your mind your friend can often lead to an increase in energy. But in twelve step groups, the dual diagnosis–of being addicted and being depressed– is the correct diagnosis at least for 25% of attendees.
John Gallagher: I Went from Suicide to Surrender recounts how he and his family were healed over a period of several years. He finally saw that to heal he had to give back what he had been given.
“So I have been speaking–at churches, Rotary clubs, synagogues. I tell them the whole story of going from having a great lifestyle with my wife and kids in a suburban home to disaster striking and having to climb up the mountain again.
And then I give them my symptoms: heart palpitations, a pressurized headache that wouldn’t go away, clammy hands, mood changes, behavioral changes. I didn’t have any energy. I didn’t feel like doing anything. I didn’t want to spend time with the kids.
And I tell them my biggest problem was I didn’t know how to cope with depression. I didn’t know how to exercise my mind and my body every day, eat properly and “self talk” so I would feel better about things. Everything that I looked at was a major catastrophe. I didn’t know how to not sweat the small stuff.
Also, I advise them to seek professional help–but to go to a psychiatrist rather than a family practitioner. Psychiatrists will try different antidepressants on you until they find one that works. Mine tried several on me and learned that one relieved most of my symptoms. I still take 40 milligrams every day.”
Please don’t allow yourself or someone you know to try to “snap out of it”. Seek professional help–it saved me and John and many others.
After my two years with clinical depression, I finally understood that I needed medical attention. Although I have always looked for help, I generally have had to be self-diagnosed. Most medical doctors don’t recognize depression in their patients. If a patient says that s/he is depressed, many times the doctor will ask the patient if they need medication. This turning the diagnosis over to the patient doesn’t happen in most of fields of medicine.
I think the difficulty for doctors is caused by patients seeking drugs for an escape from reality rather than for the need of chemical imbalance. The other large difficulty for medicating mental problems is the fact that it may take several different prescriptions to find the right anti-depression (anxiety, etc.) drug to work for each patient. this slows down the rapid delivery system of getting medications to heal all as we have become a nation of “instant fixes”. This selection of drugs is difficult as any of the drugs for mental illness take 4-6 weeks to be effective in the system.So if one doesn’t work, the next one prescribed will be 4-6 weeks also. The patient feels that the doctor doesn’t know what she/he is doing so many times the patient returns to the self-medication he/she has found to work.
So most of the population who suffer from a chemical imbalance continue to be self-medicated (alcohol, other drugs, sex, work, food, etc.)
Caught in the web? You need help, not labels by Todd Essig
Get help from Mental Health America
Internet mental health has a self-diagnosis section