Friday, April 30, 2010

Glenn's Book of Quotes, Number Eighteen

“Depression is melancholy minus its charms.” – Susan Sontag

I like this quote. It reminds me that, once upon a time melancholy was known as “the English disease.” Today, of course, the English disease is soccer.

Melancholy, the blues, whatever you call it, is a condition of human life. Some try to deny it, some wallow in it dramatically, wearing it like a badge. There are times in my life when I've dressed in black, thrown myself on fainting couches, and written execrable poetry. Well, maybe not all that. I have written some terrible limericks. Anyway, being down in the dumps isn't the worst thing. It can lead to contemplation, occasional bouts of creativity, and can look rather romantic. Or it's just self-absorption, sobbing, and too much ice cream. Don't worry, you'll get over it.

Depression, on the other hand, is not at all charming. It's not funny, and just saying that you'll get over it doesn't help a bit. It is a serious disorder of the mind and body. It can ruin every aspect of your life, including your health. It's not a mood or a 'tude, it is death in life. Sometimes it is death itself.

You probably already know that. There's a good chance that someone close to you has been through it or is going through it. It may even be you. Sucks, doesn't it? I know, I've been there.

Here's the thing. Help is available. If you're suffering you don't have to take it forever. You're not going to be able to fix it on your own, you're not going to be able to talk yourself out of it, and you're certainly not going to be able to tough it out or endure it forever.

People with asthma don't try to make their own inhalers. People with myopia don't try to grind their own lenses. Then why should someone expect that they can handle this one on their own? If you're depressed, you need professional help.

Who do you call? Depression is a sickness. When you are sick, you call a doctor. Talk to him or her. Describe your symptoms. You're probably feeling physical symptoms along with the emotional symptoms. It's all part of the illness. Ask your doctor for help. You may get a referral to see someone who can help you work your way through it. You may get a prescription for medicine. You may get both. Either way, you'll probably feel a little better after seeing the doctor because you know you've begun to do something important. The way back can be difficult, but it's a lot better than where you are.

Here's a handy little guide from the Mayo Clinic. It includes some good ideas about preparing to see your doctor.  Check out the symptoms section.  You might see something that looks familiar.

If you're just feeling blue, write me a poem or something.  If you're a hot, mopey goth chick, give me a call.  But if you've got this terrible condition, you can do something about it.  You can get help.

1 comment:

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

I tend to agree with Steven Wright - "Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm."