Thursday, December 28, 2006


Since I've been working on the story about depression, posting more ever so often, I've been contemplating how I experience a difference in feelings since having been in clinical depression. And the major difference is that I notice my emotions more.

Before depression I never thought about being unhappy or happy. I felt the emotions and went on with life. But since depression I monitor both. If I'm unhappy I check how long it's been and wonder if I'm heading back into depression. When I'm happy I give thanks more often as I wonder if it's going to slip away It's not that the emotions have changed as much as my reactions to the emotions.

I suspect much of this is because I'm an introvert. I naturally spend more time in my head than in the moment. But some of it does have to do with a desire not to go back to depression or a fear of returning to depression (and they are the same thing for the most part).

I remember people saying things like 'you're a pastor and so you shouldn't be in depression - your faith should be stronger' or 'your mother is in a better place why are you depressed over her death' and for all those people I want to say - 'wait until you've experienced it and then tell me those things.'

My mother's death was the trigger for my depression and, because of the circumstances, it was one of the healthier reactions. Yet there are several on both sides of my family who have been diagnosed with depression and that suggests that it is a little easier for us to slip into the disease. It's not a lack of faith that led to a depression, but a trauma that overwhelmed all my defenses. Faith is what kept me thinking there could be a way out, even as I could see nothing changing. And as for those who think that my mother being in a better place - I do believe she is with the saints in glory - that still doesn't mean that I don't miss her. And her death, as she was blossoming into a new career, in an accident, at the same time as another family death, when I was driving, and a couple of other circumstances, was a trigger of my depression for many more reasons than just her death.

Depression is a disease. The more I read about it reveals that there are a multitude of factors that mean it's not all in the head. I don't recommend the experience. But do ask for care for those who are in the midst of depression. It doesn't go away without a lot of help and work.

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