Living With Depression

Living with Depression: J. Marie Walker’s Journal entry: Sunday, August 31, 2005I just finished reading Prozac Nation, a novel by Elizabeth Wurtzell. I never thought I’d actually get into this book because it is quite depressing- being about depression and all. I needed to read it though. But it has left me with many questions about myself and my bouts with depression. I wonder now if I can ever get well without medication. According to the book, it is quite possible to have gone so far without therapy and medication to arrive at a point when you need medication just to get out of bed each morning. Apparently, all the pain and suffering I’ve suffered over the years has amounted to this horrible clinical depression I experience with the MS symptoms I cannot escape anymore. How’s that for kicking a dog while it’s down?!I want to be happy again. I want to enjoy life and all the little and big things it has to offer. My future seems so bleak now and I am afraid I will never be the good wife and the good mother and the good friend anymore. It’s like life dealt me a permanent bad hand and I am destined to be miserable for the rest of my life. I have to find hope in God again. I want to believe that I can be healed like I have done in the past and experienced the healing. I’m afraid that I will never believe like I once did again. Depression and AngerIt is with certainty that one can state that no one escapes depression. As human beings, with the chemical makeup of our brains and central nervous system that is affected by illness, trauma, food consumption, exercise (or lack thereof), it is impossible to avoid the state of depression. Perhaps that should be comfort to anyone who is depressed. Yes, there are many levels of depression (i.e. clinical depression as opposed to depression over the loss of a loved one) and there are many different methods of dealing with depression. What if the truth is that we have to just live with depression? How possible is that? Very possible apparently judging by the many brilliant, famous people who use their depressed states to create marvelous works of art or pursue incredible acting careers. Maybe some become brilliant writers. It is this author’s hope that some day the chronic depression and the battle with Multiple Sclerosis will result in writing that can not only be financially rewarding (in an effort to maintain honesty in such things) but also emotionally rewarding as an outlet for the traumatic experiences that have chronicled my life. At least in writing, one has the opportunity to explore the causes of the depressive states and release all the anger, confusion, and disillusionment without directing it towards an unprepared and fragile family member or friend. It’s too easy to vent and hurt someone you know and love because one believes that the repercussions will be small but the truth is that never resolves the dilemmas inside even if it gives momentary satisfaction to the anger-bearer. Depression is anger in my view. It is anger that has not been released. Think about it. Any depressive state is usually the result of something unfulfilled or lost. Doesn’t that result in anger? Embracing the Anger and DepressionWhat then is the best way to manage that anger and get out of depressive states? The answer isn’t very simple and this author is not sure there is such a thing as an answer to managing depression and the resulting anger. However, it is likely that learning to channel that depression and anger into productive efforts that allow the sufferer to vent without harming others or themselves is probably the best management technique. Even now, this author is managing depression and anger by writing this article. Even psychologists and psychiatrists recommend that one becomes involved in a hobby like painting or writing. Again this alludes to the fact that creativity is a method of channeling anger and thus utilizing (in a sense medicating without medication) depression to construct some effort. This in no way recommends that you not medicate, because many people benefit from anti-depression medication. But what if you could learn to self-medicate by channeling your abilities and talents wholeheartedly into some area you are interested in or are talented in? Give yourself a chance to be who you really are. Nobody is perfect. Nobody ever will be. But it’s time someone advocated using every aspect of themselves and their conditions, particularly depression and any other malady that society deems as a deterrent, to create something rather than destroying something and live without shame or guilt in times of depression.