Get help if you think you have depression

I’m a happy man. I wake up with peace in my heart, and hope for the future. Most days, anyway!

It was not always so.

For many years – decades – I lived under a dark cloud. Depression was a constant companion, so woven into my experience that I did not even know how bad off I was. I was so used to coping and managing around it, that most others had no clue either.

Seven or so years ago, I hit the wall. I was drowning in darkness. And, after getting some help, those clouds lifted, through the miracle of modern medicine.

My doctor let me know that if I couldn’t think my way out of, say, kidney disease, what business did I have believing I could think my way out of an organic brain chemistry disorder?

If you think you may be suffering from this affliction, know this – you’re not alone. Please take a few moments and read Amber Naslund (don’t miss the comments!). And a personal plea, by Ellen Nordahl.

Finally, a book review I previously posted, which tells Terese Borchard’s story.

Then, get some help. Talk to a doctor and/or a therapist. Gain the support of trusted friends and family members. There is no stigma in being treated for a medical problem, no shame in taking a pill to help fix a biochemical imbalance, no “Go Directly to Jail!” card for opening up about your inner demons. But there’s a real problem with robbing yourself and others of your gifts, your energy, and your time, all of which are stolen away by the thief that is depression.

When the Apollo 13 astronauts radioed “Houston, we have a problem!” they took the needed step to recover from potential disaster. They didn’t append the phrase – “but I’m sure we can handle it ourselves!”

You’re not alone. And there’s a whole bunch of folks ready and willing to help you get back to earth safely. Get on the radio. Please.

Steve Woodruff is Founder and President of Impactiviti.

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  • Steffan Lozinak

    Though I appreciate your sediments and I am glad you are feeling better, I must be honest and state that I completely disagree with the premise of this blog.

    For starters, I don’t think depression is a brain chemistry disorder. YES, I DO THINK THE CHEMISTRY IS DIFFERENT OF A DEPRESSED PERSON. But I don’t feel that this is just some random occurrence or a simple disease.

    I feel the brain chemistry goes out of whack for very good reasons reflecting situations in that persons life. People who are unhappy at work, or are studying something they don’t like. People who are in an unhappy marriage, or people who are too stressed with no way out. I feel a lot of the causes of the chemical imbalance stem from this society itself. I feel taking medicine to fix the issue is the equivalent to just accepting things the way they are, and essentially becoming a simple slave to the system, happy because you programmed yourself to be that way and overall completely avoiding the actual issues.

    To phrase this another way, here is a hypothetical situation:

    I am a slave. My master beats me when I do not listen (getting fired), and barely feeds me (can’t afford to eat). If I get hurt, he doesn’t treat my injuries (can’t afford health insurance). I am sad and hopeless for reasons I just don’t understand (depression). I have told this to my master when he asked me why I was having trouble working, so he informed me the chemicals in my brain are off (a natural chemical imbalance) and that he could fix this for me. He started giving me special medicine and now I am happy and know everything is OK.

    This whole scenario brings up the question of is it right to be happy in any situation? Is it OK to be a slave if you are a happy slave? In the above scenario at the end of the story, the slave is happy, so is there really anything wrong with the situation?

  • Not Savvy

    First, the author of this piece seem to work in the pharmeceutical industry, promoting drug solutions. Clearly, he would promote the “brain chemestry” hypothesis, one that has no direct evidence, because the solution would be a pill.

    Recent studies have indicated that antidepressants are no better than a placebo.

  • Cheryl

    Steve, Isn’t great when to see some light again!
    Steffan and Not Savvy – some people do respond well to meds. Some can only get to the other supports if we can break out of the depression first. Those who have benefited aren’t slaves, ignorant or the dupes of anyone – they – we – are just people in pain or sinking in apathy seeking to rejoin the living. Depression isn’t a matter of being unhappy – it’s more like being dead while breathing. The message is get help!

  • Susan

    Meds have been proven effective for severe depression and the outcome is fuzzy for less intense depressive states.
    The best outcome research suggests medication combined with psychotherapy because there is often a chemistry and emotional component inherent. People also need to learn cognitive-behavioral strategies to identify and cope with life’s ups and downs, stress, anxiety and other difficulties that can lead to worsening depressive symptoms.

    Susan Giurleo, PhD

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