So what type of Depression do you have?
Good question. So I have Major Depressive Disorder. Diagnosed when it turns out the depression wasn’t related to the chronic pain after all. That is, it became a beast all its own. A roaring all-consuming beast. A soul-crushing… well, you get the point. Sucky, sucky brain malfunctiony.
What reason do you have to be depressed?
Good question. And no reason. You are thinking of situational sadness. That has a reason. But I made up reasons. Like chronic pain. If only the pain wasn’t there… And that is why I didn’t seek treatment for the depression for years. I could make up reasons all day long. My brain had loads of them. Existence. My life. My pain. Some random thing that happened. My pain. Just because that day sucked. Also my pain. But in reality it is because my brain sucks at producing serotonin. Like really sucks at it.
Do you take medication?
Good question. Why yes I do. Apparently anti-depressants make me sort of suicidal so I am on Abilify instead. Which makes me not-suicidal. It prevents the thought spiral into a pit of utter despair. So I rather like it. Occasionally I think I don’t need it because I am not saturated in depression anymore. And then I remind myself I am stupid, and stay on it. I rather like the name of it. Abilify. It abilifies my brain to not be horrifically depressed. I mean, you are left with symptoms, but not like it is without it. I am one who needs medication. Not everyone does.
So that makes you weak.
What the actual hell. First, not a question. Second, who would prefer actually being suicidal to not being suicidal? I mean really. Who would prefer fighting with your brain in the depths of despair for no reason to not doing that all the time? I fought my brain for years and that made me stronger than you could ever imagine. To have even survived that frankly is astonishing. To accept I needed medication… to survive that, is pretty damn smart. Maybe not strong, but the damned smartest thing I ever did.
Does medication give you superpowers… like Make you Happy?
Good question. No, no, it does not. I think you are thinking of illegal street drugs and manufactured ‘highs’. Because medication for depression doesn’t Make you Happy. Would it be fun to take a happy pill that made you happy for no apparent reason? Sure. But, yeah, no. It does sort of take away the plummets of doom as I call them. I just… stopped having them. Even in intense pain, which was a massive trigger for me. Just didn’t happen. It is frankly weird when you think that is normal. That pain like that should incite that reaction. When in fact it doesn’t have to. Weird. I blamed the pain. When in fact all brain. Maybe some pain, pain isn’t fluffy thought inducing business. It sucks. Inherently. Because it is, well, pain.
Isn’t depression just sadness?
Good question. And no. Sadness is sadness. It is situational and a bummer. I dropped my ice-cream cone and I am sad. I listened to Total Eclipse of the Heart and I am now sad. Depression is more… I wake up and have no desire to exist today so curl up into a ball and don’t move for the rest of the day. I may feel nothing at all. Sort of numb. Just nothing at all. Or I may feel so intensely I can’t not think about it. I can’t describe the plummets of doom I had. They are the most intensely dark negative thought spiral accompanied by just horrific despair that is incomprehensible when you are outside of that dark hole. And when you are out of it you think well it was just the pain that caused that. I am better now. But you aren’t better because you are in a constant depression just not the deepest darkest hole of it.
Yeah, but you could have been faking it.
Yeah, but I’d rather fake just about anything other than depression. I’d rather eat my own brain than have depression. Wanting to live is so underrated. Anyway, it isn’t something people fake. It is something people hide because they are ashamed because people will say they are faking it or they are weak… or whatever other stigma there is. So they hide it and suffer quietly for as long as they can stand until something forces them to seek help. I think I must have suffered through it for about 8 years or so before I had to admit it.
So are you going to have this forever?
Good question. Likely not. But then again… relapse surprise! Which happened to me. I had it when I was younger and I got through it. Bravo. Felt empowered by doing so. That wasn’t going to happen again, I assured myself. Victory was Mine! Then sank into that abyss once more. Deeper and darker than before. I think about around a decade after my first episode. Second round was a lot longer though. Maybe because I didn’t admit it. Did nothing about it. And, frankly, just tried to hope it would go away on its own.
Have you thought about just thinking positive?
Good question. And, no, because when I was not on medication overtly positive thoughts rang as obviously false and ludicrous. Like I would think ‘I will suffer this pain forever.’ Which feels Real to me. And to say ‘Oh it isn’t that bad! Maybe one day there will be a cure!’ was blatantly false. It was that bad. And there is no cure. But I could be realistic. Like… I can have some control over my suffering so that that isn’t as bad as it is today. And pain is variable so even though today is extremely bad, tomorrow might not be. I can do things that may reduce my painload eventually. And theoretically one pain condition may have some sort of radically effective treatment in my lifetime thus reducing my painload… one never knows. But you can’t lie to someone with depression. Overt positivity rings false, wrong and almost offensive. You have to be realistic. If it rings false not only will I not believe it… I will loathe the thought of it. In other words, you can’t trick a depressed brain with pathetic positivity games. Our brain will twist those thoughts in seconds. Because they don’t sound right or true. You have to make us think about our own actual irrational thoughts and what rational more reasonable thoughts would be more appropriate. That, my friends, is a tricksy game we play with psychologists. At which I would usually blank out and have no idea what he wanted me to say because my brain likes to play lets get negative.
Do you feel like medication changed you?
Good question. I feel like it took away something I loathed at the core of my very being. And left all the rest of me there. Am I now an overtly positive, optimistic person? Hell no, I’m not. I am still the same cynical, negative but rather goofy person I always was. It took away a part of my that was out of control. Like a train about to crash. I had no control over all these thoughts, negative thought spirals, suicidal ideation, plummets of doom. It took that away and left the awesomeness behind. And I am cool with that. I don’t have any side effects. It didn’t ruin my creativity. You don’t need depression to be creative by the way. It doesn’t change you.