Confessions of a Major Depressive – Hope Through Depression Part 1

A very thoughtful comment the other day on my post, “There is No Shame in Hope,” inspired me to write today’s post. Specifically, the statement that moved me was this:

“…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. 

About Michele Whitney

Writer, musician, human-animal bond researcher, liberal, public servant, PhD candidate, animal lover, Christian, 12 stepper, White Sox and GH fan.

Posted on May 19, 2012, in Thoughts & Reflections and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. I am so grateful to know you and to engage in your journey as a humbled ‘witness.’ Each post you share is a demonstration of vulnerability, and more importantly, of faith and courage, because courage is sometimes simply the choice to put one foot in front of the other, even when the path is completely covered by fog. Thank you for your quiet faith and courage–they help me to find my own.

  2. Normally I do not read post on blogs, but I would like to say that
    this write-up very compelled me to try and do so! Your writing taste has been
    amazed me. Thanks, quite great article.

  3. Your posts are well thought out and very honest. Thank you so much for sharing your journey. Blessings and Love to you. Gina

  4. Back in 2002 when I was medically retired from Active Duty my diagnosis was Major Depressive Disorder which later evolved in Bipolar 1….now ADHD. Whatever label that gets attached to our state of being isn’t the whole story. It’s much more complex than any label with it’s description of symptoms can describe! Keep sharing your story. I enjoyed Part 2 of your sharing also.

  5. beverlydiehl

    It seems so often that people think they can get through a mental illness by willpower and denial alone, but it really doesn’t work that way. Thank you for having the courage to share your story.

  6. Thanks for sharing.Very empowering.

  7. Zen changed my life. Have you ever done a meditation retreat? Daily meditation is an excellent aid for mind states.

    • No I haven’t done a meditation retreat. But I am trying to incorporate meditation in my life. I pretty regularly do it after I go for a run, which unfortunately is not daily, haha. I haven’t got to a daily practice of meditation yet, although that is a goal. I am a Christian, but lately have been reading about Buddhism and think many of the beliefs about meditation, etc. may be a complement to my own Christian beliefs about prayer. Anyway, thanks for stopping by and commenting! :)

  1. Pingback: Confessions of a Major Depressive – Hope Through Depression Part 2 « Words of Compassion, Creativity, & Knowledge

  2. Pingback: Confessions of a Major Depressive – Hope Through Depression Part 3 « Words of Compassion, Creativity, & Knowledge

  3. Pingback: Depression – why opening the curtains can cause more suffering, and other advice « Halfway Between The Gutter And The Stars

  4. Pingback: The Integration of Laughter | Words of Compassion, Creativity, & Knowledge

  5. Pingback: Loving Me Sadly – Depression (Grief Stage 4) | Words of Compassion, Creativity, & Knowledge

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