Saturday, May 28, 2011


Let me tell you about depression. 
It is an illness that lies hidden within a person and in my case, I wasn't aware of it and refused to acknowledge I had it until very late in my life.
The symptoms exhibit themselves as character flaws such as short temper and anger issues. It's strange to associate anger with depression but that is a fact. Uncontrolled anger is such a debilitating symptom that goes untreated most of the time.
Anxiety, panic attacks and palpitations is another symptom. You can try meditation and if that works for you then good. But if it doesn't you life can be seriously disrupted. 
Put anxiety and anger together and you see behavior that is appalling but you don't immediately think, that person is suffering from depression. 
That is the reason why depression can remain undiagnosed and untreated.
Sure there are periods of lethargy, lack of motivation and low spirits, the symptoms that identify depression but eventually that feeling goes away whereas the anxiety and the anger are always lying just beneath the surface, ready to explode at the slightest provocation.
Depression can have dire consequences on the life of the sufferer, especially when called to cope with stress, and who doesn't have stress in their lives?
People with depression don't deal with stress very well because anxiety, panic and eventually anger take over their thinking processes.
For example, a person with depression who sits for an exam or attends a job interview, will be subjected to stress and this will trigger anxiety and palpitations and probably the mind at some critical point will just go blank.
Failure is no stranger to anyone who suffers depression and anger always follows stress, frustration, hurdles, setbacks and rejection. 
If you think about how you've dealt with such situations and maybe your whole life seems to be governed by your inability to remain calm and rational, then chances are you're suffering from depression.

I know that my life would have been very different if I'd known that something was wrong with me rather than put my failings down to character flaws.

There is medicine available to treat depression but I've been told of cases where the medicine has caused suicidal behavior. I'm talking about SSRI drugs. 
Although doctors tell you that once you start this medicine you shouldn't stop, I disagree.
Personally I think that SSRI drugs should be taken like analgesics, once the headache goes away, you stop taking the medicine.
But that's my personal opinion and only an opinion for what it's worth.


Jeannie said...

My daughter was on Effexor for a couple years. Withdrawal took forever and was worse than the depression. She wished she had just dealt with her issues in the first place because she had to anyway. That's not to say that the drugs weren't necessary. Obviously, she wasn't ready to deal with her issues at the time and needed a crutch. But sometimes, you can become strong enough on your own and need to put the crutch down again. Putting it down requires strength of a different kind.

Lexcen said...

Jeannie, of course Effexor is NOT an SSRI. BTW, my wife also takes Effexor.

Anonymous said...

Lex, are you saying that SSRI's should be taken on a day-by-day basis.
Meaning, if I feel angry/anxious/depressed on Monday, I'll take it, but if I'm "fine" on Tuesday I won't?

From my understanding of depression, it can either be situational, or clinical (caused by a chemical imbalance). Of course, if the situational depression goes untreated, it can lead to clinical depression. Both can be treated with meds, but dealing with the trigger or situation will help. It's my opinion that therapy always helps.

Also, there are many sub-categories of clinical depression.
It is tricky as to when to go off the meds, because if you're feeling good enough to go off, it's because YOU"RE TAKING THE MEDS. Wierd.

Lexcen said...

Jen, my personal experience with Zoloft (SSRI) is that I reach a point when it doesn't help anymore. Should I take a larger dose or stop taking it? That is a very difficult question and I won't advise anybody on this issue. I also have knowledge of people who have attempted suicide while on Zoloft. Anecdotal but certainly something to think about.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I've experienced it not working anymore as well.
Sometimes it definitely seems more art than science.