Wednesday, March 26, 2008

It's Depressing

(c) Misty DawnS

Let me talk about something a little bit, because that helps me get it out of my brain and feel better. Today, I need to talk about depression.

One of my best friends and I were talking about depression just last night. I kept confiding things to her, and then I would follow up with asking her to please not judge me. Well, she never did judge me, because she never would. She's the kind of friend I can say anything to and not worry about being judged. However, not everyone is like that. As if depression isn't hard enough to deal with on its own, the stigma of depression - the way people regard you if they find out you have depression, is just as hard to overcome. Let alone if people find out that you take anti-depressant medication.

You see, I used to take medication for chemical depression. When my neighbors, whom I thought were my friends, found out about this, I became the subject of jokes, gossip, and judgment. I had a dog at the time, and she suffered from separation anxiety. My ex once joked to the neighbors that he thought the dog needed Doggy-Prozac, because her mommy's 'problems' were rubbing off on her. Yeah, like it's a contagious disease or something. Of course, this comment caused everyone who was listening to break out into hysterical laughing, because it was 'just so dang funny'.

I was telling my friend last night about a conversation I had with my old doctor once. He had asked me if the medication seemed to be helping. I responded, "Yeah. I don't seem to get depressed for no reason anymore." My doctor didn't take this statement very well, and I was rather surprised. He countered by asking me if I would judge someone with Diabetes for taking Insulin. I said that of course I wouldn't. He replied with, "Diabetics' bodies need that Insulin, because their bodies don't produce it, right?" Well, of course. "Well then, why in the world do you think you get depressed for NO reason? There is a reason. Your body is not producing the proper chemicals. Therefore, medication is required to produce those necessary chemicals."

When he put it like that, it made perfect sense. However, I must admit that eventually I quit taking all medication. I felt like I was weak if I couldn't take care of 'my problems' on my own.

I just wish that people with depression didn't receive the judgments and treatment they do. Depression, anxiety, panic, and similar conditions are not things that people bring upon themselves. Do you honestly think that people want to feel the way these conditions cause them to feel?

I just don't understand the close-mindedness sometimes.

31 comments:

Jenny 865-53oh9

I do hate the way people are so quick to judge. Your doctor is right...some bodies just don't make the right chemicals needed. It doesn't make you a weak person. If I don't take my thyroid medicine I become She-Hulk in 2.5 seconds. I hate that I have to depend on that stupid little pill, but if it makes be feel like a better person then why not take it? I think there are a TON of people that could use some Zoloft, but hide it. Be proud of who you are, Misty, because we are!

Stacey @Real World Mom

Very well said/written, Misty! I, too, suffer from depression and anxiety disorder. I've never really hidden it from anyone, but I also don't normally 'advertise' it either. Your doctor's analogy was excellent!

D...

You are so right, Misty Dawn. And I loved what your dr. said. He is right on.

In a perfect world, meds would not be needed for anything. This isn't a perfect world. We do what we must. No shame.

Skittles

Your doctor was one smart fella. And those "friends"? Hmm.. I know this is a family blog so I can't say what I think about them except to say that no real friend would do that. Period.

I bet you'll get a lot of understanding and support from writing and posting this.

From us. Your friends.

Sandee (Comedy +)

People fear what they don't understand all too often. That is probably more to the point. Anyway, I've see lots of folks that just have to have medication and once medicated lead a normal life. Good for them. I worked in law enforcement too long to make any kinds of judgements. Just way too long. Have a great evening Misty. :)

bundle-o-contradictions

I'm not ashamed to admit that I've sought help after years of trying to "fix" or "deal with it myself." I honestly think the medication helps and I never thought I'd think that...I was of the school of thought that drug companies want everyone to depend on them whether the meds work or not. Well, I was wrong. Unfortunately, not only did I lose a job shortly after co-workers found out I was on anti-depressants, admitting to being depressed played its part in the most devastating change in my entire life. If I'd never owned up to how I was feeling to strangers, I wouldn't have lost my kids. So, yeah. I know the stigma attached to depression. I know it real well. I don't judge you in the eensiest, tiniest bit. (((((((hugs)))))))

Anna

I don't understand why anyone would laugh. There's nothing funny about it. I'll admit, I don't understand much about people. Why or how can they be so cruel?

That doctor was one smart man. There's no shame in doing what you need to do to live a normal life.

Stacy

I'm new to the blog here, but I think that was a great post. I will be coming here often:-)

Willard

I remember asking a similar question to a doctor. It was in reference to feeling weak for using medication for anxiety and panic attacks.

His take was that anyone who ridicules you for taking medicine for that reason, would be all too glad to take the medication if they had the same problem. It arises from a complete lack of understanding of just how devastating depression and anxiety can be.

Dottie

You don't have to worry about me be judgemental.. Depression is real..it hurts..alot. I too suffer and too have been medicated in the past. I can't say as though I enjoy taking meds, but it did help. I also like how your doctor put it. Very smart.

Mike

I know how some people think. I don't understand why they think this way though. I do know for a fact that many don't understand what goes on in other peoples lives. There are too many that make jokes about things like this. These meds can help people who would otherwise be lost without them. I liked your docs analogy of it too. (I hope that's the right word) I've often wanted to tell people that don't understand this to go take a flying leap. As for this point in my life, I could just as well tell them to F... off and die. Pardon me for going on like this, but I get tired of people who don't need these important meds to judge otherwise good people for trying to take care of their condition. (getting off my soapbox now) :)
OH, you still can't play with my r/c cars lol.

Jeni

There are way more folks out here who take meds for depression/anxiety disorders than I think you and I can possibly imagine and then too, there are probably, I'm sure, way more folks who SHOULD be taking those same meds too but are too prejudiced against getting help for mental health issues. Why? Probably, lack of understanding of the ways a mental health issue can manifest itself too -sometimes it will surface in ways people really don't expect it to do too.
Like you, I've been on various types of anti-depressants from time to time -some left me without depression true, but also left me so flat that I felt I had no emotion at all. Right now, I'm not taking anything other than if the anxiety levels get too high, a zanax now and then. I'm terrible about taking meds, tend to forget to take them -the senility factors there kicked in many years ago so that's always been a bit of a problem for me. Can't remember diddly squat some days, or so it seems.
Barb is right though -this arena is one that isn't judgemental -thankfully -and that's really the way it should be all over too. Just keep on keeping on, kiddo! We'll all muddle through this together -right?
Peace.

Siani

Great post, Misty. Anyone who stigmatizes a depression sufferer ought to be ashamed of themselves. I've had some pretty bad reactions from people once they've found out I take Prozac. And some of the people who have treated me like some kind of mad axe-woman as a result of this discovery, think nothing of putting cocaine up their noses on a regular basis. Sadly, because of the stigma that exists, I know many people who won't seek help for depression, partly because of their own prejudices, and partly because they fear the prejudice of others. When will ignorant people realize that a depression sufferer has no more control over their body's chemical production, than the sufferer of any other chemical deficiency? Fools!

Dianne

your Dr. is a keeper! what a wonderful analogy.

as for the jokes - I suppose some people joke out of nervousness or ignorance although I still find it offensive. It at least helps a bit to try and figure out whether or not they deserve a second chance.

When I finally got the help I need a neighbor said she was "shocked" that I needed therapy and meds. I was so "strong" and "capable" and I told her she was right, because I was strong and capable I had decided to take care of a MEDICAL condition instead of just wishing it away.

Your post was so brave and honest - thanks.

i beati

I fought depression for a long while until I found mental tools to kick in things to say over and over- mantras and surrounded myself only with positive people - depression is a constant uphill battle and sometimes its best to cut yourself loose from bringer downers I jsut did . Your tiny package went out today. I've been sick..thanks for your patience..sandyAlso animals can pick up on your saddness, and sometimes wonder if it was their fault . I fight this also

Tammy

I LOVE YOU MISTY!!!!! BIG HUGS FROM ME AND I'LL TRY NOT TO BREATHE ON YOU TO MAKE YOU SICK. YOU LET ME KNOW WHO THESE PEOPLE ARE CAUSE I AM GOING TO GO KICK THEIR (imoon emoticon)!

Tammy

I totally forgot, I tagged you with a meme. I'm (ispec emoticon)!

the teach

Misty, I am one who takes anti-depressants for depression. I understand I need them because my brain doesn't produce the right amount of chemicals (the body's own tranquilizers) that other people's bodies do. I'm not ashamed of it I've taken the drugs a long time. And all that time I've been under a doctor's care. Not just an internist or a general practitioner but a psychopharmacologist who knows these medications and understands. Also I talked to a psychologist for a good long time who helped me understand my difficulties and handle them. Just the other day, though, a good friend of mind (after I got a little hot under the collar about something political) said to me "Are you taking your medication?" I thought that was particularly rude of her...to suggest that if I get a little upset (like anyone would) that it would be because I was off my medication. Anyway, I was insulted. Maybe we do make a mistake telling people so easily that we are subject to depression and that we take anti-depressants. Another person whom I told I take anti-depressants said to me: "Oh you're always so up and normal, I'd have never thought you take pills." So Misty it happens to all of us. We know what depression is and what great value anti-depressants are.

Pay no attention to these other people Misty. They have no understanding. Let's learn to keep our own counsel. :)

Claire

Hey misty, I think doctors, therapists and stupid friends should spend the time to find and read posts like this.

The More people talk about it, the Less people can use blind ignorance as an excuse.

I am sorry you had to deal with people like that, but with this post you have touched and helped people :)

silverneurotic

Misty, that post made me cry a little. I've also suffered for many years and have yet to work up the nerve to get professional help. I would cringe at the thought of having someone make fun of me because of the depression.

Travis

I think you are very strong to post this. I guess sometimes people ridicule the things they don't understand. Or perhaps they are just afraid of perceived weakness.

But the more I learn about depression, the more I realize that it isn't really an inability to deal with daily stress or life's other problems.

Be well.

Stacey

I suffer from depression, Mist. I had a terrible bout of it about three years ago, so I would never judge you. I understand. And I would kick some beeeehind of anyone if I ever heard them make fun of a beautiful person like you. I adore you, Mist, thanks for an honest peek into your world. xoxo

Heart of Rachel

Hi Misty. I'm sorry for what you've been through. It's sad when people act careless towards other people's feelings.

. . . Dallas Meow . . . . >^^< . . .

ahh
I knew I loved you!

Bradley's Mom

Misty:

No one has the right to judge another person's situation. EVERYONE has problems, and each person is unique.

I completely agree with everything you said, and send my love and support to you, dear friend.

I LOVE the comments you left on Bradley's blog yesterday. So sweet you are!!

Love you,
Linda

Rose

Just finding your blog today--I would probably have eventually got to it cause I keep checking out people on Skywatch.

Anyway, I was just today thinking about depression and how people can be so quick to judge if you say you are on antidepressants...and these same people feel no shame in taking high blood pressure medicines, meds for diabetes, etc. Then I read your blog and your doctor used the example of insulin.

I suffered the chemical depression a few years ago and it is nothing to laugh about. It was fall and I was picking apples and had to fight climbing down off my picker and crawling on the wagon and going to sleep. I did not read, which is as vital to me as sunshine. Same with sewing...and photography. If I am not either doing those three things, or thinking about one of them, plus I always have something to read...then you know something is drastically wrong.

And our insurance even treats it different...when I would go for a visit to get my prescription renewed, it only paid for half the office call.

CrazyCath

Oh Misty I soooo know what you are talking about.

Well done for blogging it. I really wish there was another term for this illness because the word "depression" is so overused, it does not convey the severity of the illness and how debilitating it is.

I know this from both sides - nursing it and suffering from it. What can I add to what you've written?
- Nothing. Excellent post.

Gloria

Some problems can't be taken care of without meds, with my Fibro I know that without those pills every day I wouldn't be able to function or even get out of bed! Most people don't realize how important medication is until they go through something as debilitating as chemical depression or CFS or Fibro. Excellent post, I just found your blog but I like you already :)

Bubba's Sis

I take Prozac and have for years. I have accepted that it is just something I need. I love the way your doctor put it, and I have often told other people the same thing. My body needs this medication to function in a healthy way.

People need to understand that depression is not just sadness, too - when I'm not on my meds I do have the down times when I cry a lot, but I also feel very, very tired and have no motivation to do anything. In fact, that's how my depression was originally diagnosed - I went to the doctor because I was so tired all the time. I was actually surprised when he diagnosed me with depression because I didn't really feel "sad". Chemical depression is a lot of things, and there is no shame in treating it medically. (((HUGS))) to you, girl! Thank you for posting this!

Simone

I can identify. I am especially judged for having taken medication in the past - being a "pastors wife".
But I am not ashamed to admit that I needed help and I got it. I am weary on how it would affect getting work in the church in the future - sad isn't.
Thank you for your post.

Cathy

I know what you mean.

Which is why my course of action has been to be really open about it. I figure it's my small part in getting rid of the stigma.

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