A Most Peculiar Ailment

This is a post about depression.  Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?  I’m in a bit of a strange spot right now.  I am pretty well educated about depression.  But, until recently, I never had a first person experience of it*.  The combination of prior education and current experience is weird when it comes to illness.  I can’t help but wonder whether this is what doctors feel like when they get sick.

The thing that’s so odd, for me, right now is that there is a detached, clinical part of my brain that seems to be an impartial observer.  It’s like that part of my brain has a checklist and every time my behavior is a result of the depression, he ticks a box.  “Second bowl of ice cream – check.”  “Still wide awake at 3 AM – check.”  “Didn’t bother eating dinner tonight – check.”  It’s pretty annoying.

But, I can’t help but wonder if I would have recognized my depression for what it is and sought help if not for my prior education and my annoying inner checklist.  Anyone with experience with depression knows it’s a weird illness.  Half the symptoms contradict the other half of the symptoms.  It causes too much sleep and too little sleep.  Lack of appetite and overeating.  Fatigue and restlessness.  You haven’t lived until you have simultaneously craved and shunned something you know you find comforting.  I could have easily made excuses and kept it to myself.  If not for the voice that kept saying, “That’s a sign of depression,” every couple of hours, I probably would have.

That’s really the reason I’m writing this now, despite not having the energy or attention span to write anything very good.  Before I was dealing with my own depression, I found it immensely frustrating that depressed people won’t talk about it.  Even though it is quite common, it’s treated like some deep, dark embarrassment.  When people are dealing with other illnesses, they have no problem talking about them.  How many stories have you heard about other people’s vomit?  Or their kids’ diarrhea?  Why should depression be more embarrassing than food poisoning?  I don’t think it should, so I figured I’d try talking about it.

That’s about all I’ve got to say right now.  It’s not much, but it is a start.  I’m tired, so that means it’s time to go upstairs, climb into bed and wonder why I can’t sleep.

*I should mention that I am getting treatment.  I have a therapist and my primary care physician knows what’s going on.

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