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Friday, November 13, 2015

What is Depression?


What is depression, really? There's no real definition. It seems everybody knows depression when they get it. Why do we get it?


I didn't know what to call it but I certainly remember my first "hit" of depression when I was 12 years old. Like being hit by a truck. I couldn't let anybody know how I felt. I was totally lost and had no one to confide in. I couldn't talk to my parents about it. I don't know why. I just hid my depression from everyone for years until I finally went to a psychiatrist in my thirties.

Now I realize that, practically speaking, depression is more of a routine than a disease. By that I mean depression can be a downshift in your mood that you shrug off and turn your mind to something more productive—a quick choice of an alternative thought like a nonsense rhyme, a thought about something you’re grateful for.

Or when you get a downshift in your mood, you immediately let it slide into depression as a matter of course. You just naturally start withdrawing. You don’t “feel like jogging” or “going to work.” Of course you hate the bad feeling and the fact that you just got hit again is disheartening. “Oh no, not again.” And you give up and give in to depression and follow your regular depressive thinking and behavior.

You don’t have to follow a depressive routine. You don’t have to carry this heavy load. You can shrug it off. That's what I do when I get a hit. 

You can interrupt the downer thinking with a mind exercise or physical exercise or immediately turning to some small task at hand. Any small thing accomplished instead of just being depressed is a help. Think about that.

I haven’t done much this morning yet. Wait a minute. Yes I have. I made my bed, walked the dogs. Wrote my blog. I can think about that. Maybe I even encouraged somebody else to shrug off their heavy load of depression. I have a whole day ahead. Maybe just a routine day. But it won’t be a depressive routine. 

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