Monday, December 18, 2006

Depression (not mine, thank God)

Dervala writes intelligently and movingly about depression, medication and social consequences:
[Peter] Kramer's follow-up polemic, "Against Depression", is his answer to a question that he came to see as callous. In the decade since his first book ["Listening to Prozac"], medical researchers have found evidence to move depression from mood disorder squarely into the category of disease. It causes visible, irreversible damage to the brain cells. It eats at the blood vessels and attacks the heart. It causes bone loss. It's cyclical, and if left untreated, it gets much worse over time. Depression costs more days off work than backache. In its most obvious health consequence—suicide—depression kills more people annually than war and murder combined. And we now know that, like diabetes, it's probably behind many of the coronary and other deaths that are recorded as something else. [...]

Like rheumatoid arthritis, depression turns your own body against itself. It chews not on your cartilage, but on your brain cells and your sense of reality. It's as seductive as a wife-beater, shutting out other voices to turn itself into your only friend. The only one who tells the truth about the bleakness of the world. All your energy goes towards getting through whatever stands in your way—struggling, slogging, pushing, through work and small talk and getting food—whatever it is you have to get through until you can be alone again with the voice who can be trusted. [...]

I'm back, I wanted to shout last spring, that hunched crone was a changeling, not me! I wanted to learn how to get better without running from the site of misery; how to return to people who hadn't realized I'd been away. I would have liked some scars to point to, to explain my absence. It was shocking, in a way, this drug-borne proof that I'm an animal, washed with chemical tides, turning seasons, light, and food into moods. When you reduce my suffering to a curable disease; to symptoms, postures, and intonations, I'm no longer especially special. All those causes for my sadness fluttered down like snotty Kleenex.

Go read.

In other news this is my five hundredth post. (Not counting a round dozen saved drafts, things that I lost interest in or after mature reflection decided not to publish.) I've been counting for quite a while, as you can imagine, and hoped that the magic five hundredth would fall on a day when I would have time and subject matter to do it justice. Ah well. It's just another number.


Anonymous Pronoia said...

Udge, thanks for this. This is so helpful in my continuing desire to understand Ms. P's inner world!

December 18, 2006 at 6:02:00 p.m. GMT+1  
Blogger brooksba said...

Strong words - thanks for the insight into another's blog. Depression is a hard truth that many deal with and it affects not just those afflicted. It is good to be aware of the phyiscal, not just emotional, impacts of the disease.

Congrats on 500 posts! Time flies, doesn't it?

December 18, 2006 at 9:11:00 p.m. GMT+1  
Blogger zhoen said...


Sending that link along.

December 18, 2006 at 11:58:00 p.m. GMT+1  
Anonymous OutsidetheLines said...

I can't remember how I came to this blog as I've simply been clickety clicking, but thank you for the link that led to Dervala's blog post on depression...congrats on 500th post, too. Shall be visiting again soon.

December 20, 2006 at 5:17:00 p.m. GMT+1  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

Yay! 500!

That is very moving and so true. Sometimes you want something to show to people. To be able to say "Yes, this is why I need to take those pills you seem to think I should be able to live without." Not that I run into these people that often but I really believe that Tom Cruise should spend a week with me not on Effexor before he makes another vitamin comment, if he makes it out alive, he'll change his mind.

December 22, 2006 at 4:19:00 p.m. GMT+1  

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