Monday, September 12, 2011

Inside Depression

I hope this post isn't too depressing, but it's not like I promised butterflies and unicorns. Also, I'm kind of going for informative. Here goes nothing...


Depressed does not mean sad. (The earliest meaning I can find in my etymology dictionary is "afraid"!) It's come to be synonymous with sadness, but it really means "brought down" or "put down" either with respect to mood, or in a completely general sense. Now, I'm all for the evolution of words and all, but it drives me a little crazy when people ignore the original meaning of a word. When I say, "I'm depressed," someone's bound to bring up sadness. Makes me want to scream. "WHO SAID ANYTHING ABOUT SADNESS! GAH"

Depression doesn't have to have a trigger. Sufferers of chronic depression (including bipolars like me) have the joy of waking up one morning and just being depressed. In addition, sometimes the triggers are disproportionate. Your average Joe may get depressed after a loved one dies. Chronic depression sufferers can go into weeks of depression after spilling a juice on their carpet. So another thing, I really hate is "what happened?" Nothing. If something happening was a pre-requisite, then I wouldn't be bipolar.

Seriously, the only thing that keeps me from screaming at people is that I know they mean well. Still, I wish that I didn't have to go through this song and dance every single time.


Psychiatrists probably have a stack of names for types of depression. But today, I'm defining types by what it feels like for me.

Let's take a colouring book as an analogy. It's like a picture coloured in blues, greys, and black. And every time you open to a new page, and pick up an orange crayon, it suddenly turns to blue.

Good things happen and I'm sad. Bad things happen and I'm sad. Sad depression, as the name suggests involves lots of time being sad. Even if it was triggered by something, the depression becomes bigger than the trigger. I get sad about, and despite, everything else. Lots of time curled up in a ball, crying on the floor. Going to bed, every night hoping to wake up to a sunny morning, and get out of the mental rain.


I guess worthless depression is a little more logical. We've all failed at things, we've all done things we're not proud of. When I fall into a worthless depression, it's like "why am I here when I don't do anything worth doing?" All the things I've ever failed at stack themselves up in my mind. All the ways I'm failing now jump out at me. I look around at my friends and see where they are in their lives. And where I'm not.

Worthless depression doesn't have to be sad. Sometimes, it's like there's no emotion involved in it at all. I think this kind of depression is hardest for me, because you can't argue against it logically. At least with sad depression, you can use logic to know you shouldn't be feeling sad.

To go back to the colouring book, worthless depression is like a book full of pictures that are all coloured outside the lines. It's like flipping through 700 pages and only seeing pictures like that. So then you wonder if you can even colour any better. And if you can, does it make sense to start now?


In a bland depression, the colouring book pages haven't been coloured. You don't know were the crayons are. It would take so much effort to go for look for them, and really what's wrong with just the outlines on the page anyhow?

Bland depression is about losing your taste for life. When I'm in the midst of a bland depression, I lose interest in the things that I normally like. Just like good things stop being good, bac things stop being bad. It's a lot of nothing. I get myself through it by bare routine. Drag myself to work. Check email every few days. Blog most days. Because when nothing feels better or worse than anything else, what reason is there to do anything?


All three "types" of depression I've mentioned are actually individual symptoms. They can come on altogether, and in combinations with other symptoms. I've just defined them by which feeling is the pre-dominant one. Here are the symptoms of depression according to WebMD:

difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
fatigue and decreased energy
feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
irritability, restlessness
loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
overeating or appetite loss
persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts

And, in case you're wondering, why the "happy" post today, yes, I am depressed. It's mostly a bland depression. But I'm going crazy with people asking me why I'm sad (cause I'm not) and what happened (nothing did, I'm bipolar).

Hope y'all learned something/identified with something. It's Monday, and that's what's on my mind.

P.S. I've somehow failed to give away a Kindle. Seriously. Not one entry. For a Kindle. I will think about that when the depression's over. Honestly, who fails to give away a Kindle? How is that even possible?


jbchicoine said...

I can relate to everything you just wrote. I'm not bi-polar, though sometimes I think I'm borderline-a-lot. I try to convince myself that I'm not depressed, but then when I read one of those lists--yikes...I'll just skim so I don't have to admit it...

I hope your tides turn soon...

...on, and I didn't enter to win the Kindle, 'cause I assume I won't win, so what's the point...

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Some of that is new information to me. "If something happening was a pre-requisite, then I wouldn't be bipolar." - ironic, huh?
I didn't sign up for th Kindle because I have an iPad. Maybe if you put the contest in your blog signature, people will visit after seeing your comment on their blog?

Ben said...

I think the Worthless Depression is the most common. It's like being crushed by the weight of reality. You can't dream anymore, you can't escape. You've become out of focus and chained to who you are. Not fun.

Marsha Sigman said...

I'm with you today. But I'm actually a little sad. When I'm down I just want to go back to bed.

I would have entered the Kindle contest but I was totally swamped! I'm sorry!

Sana Castellano said...

I feel u.
My depression is bland mostly and I overeat and oversleep!
As for the kindle... well, they do not get delivered here or I surely would have entered.
Cheer up Claire, I know you will. =)

Matthew MacNish said...

Hi Dawn. My friend Marsha Sigman suggested I come follow your blog, and I'm glad she did because it's very informative.

Depression is a heavy topic, but it's best to be well informed, and you certainly are.

And I'm so jealous you live in Japan! I love Japan and Japanese culture. Or should I say Nippon?

Nice to meet you!

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