“…when people are deep down in the well of depression, it is difficult for them to see past the narrow brick walls surrounding them and the light at the top seems so small.”
I realized that I needed to address situations where people are clinically unable to have hope. I have been there. I am sure that most people know by now that there is a difference between being depressed, or being down for a moment, and actually having clinical depression. WebMD defines clinical or Major depression as:
A constant sense of hopelessness and despair…marked by a depressed mood most of the day, particularly in the morning, and a loss of interest in normal activities and relationships — symptoms that are present every day for at least 2 weeks. In addition, according to the DSM-IV — a manual used to diagnose mental health conditions — you may have other symptoms with major depression (i.e. fatigue; feelings of worthlessness or guilt; impaired concentration; insomnia; recurring thoughts of suicide, etc.).
So think of a disease like Alzheimer’s that attacks brain cells, Sickle Cell Anemia that attacks red blood cells, or HIV that attacks the entire immune system…
Depression is a disease that attacks hope.
I was diagnosed with clinical depression in the early 2000’s, but I was probably clinically depressed long before that. As a matter of fact, after my sister died, a counselor wanted me to seek treatment, but I refused to go. I didn’t want to face the possibility of having to take medicine for an illness that could not come up on an X-ray or lab test. To me, my illness was not an actual illness, it was a weakness. I didn’t really accept clinical depression as an illness until maybe a year and a half ago. Yes, you read right, I’ve been clinically depressed, taking meds for over 10 years, but didn’t accept depression as an illness until recently. I could come up with many theories as to why I didn’t accept it, but I just realized that it’s partly because I didn’t view “hope” as an actual part of my body, like brain cells, red blood cells, or my immune system that is necessary to keep me alive.
How did I come to this acceptance? This post is part one of a series of three “confessions” that will take you through my most recent journey in getting there. I hope you will be able to connect with my story and find a little hope where its needed.
Disclaimer: I am not a health professional. These posts are stories of my own experiences and battle with clinical depression. If you feel that you may be suffering from clinical depression, please contact your physician. Click here for resources that can help you. If you have thoughts of harming yourself or others, please call 911 immediately.