First of all, I think depression is a unique experience for every person, and saying that it's a weakness is really belittling and insulting the uniqueness of every person's case. It smacks of telling people what to do, how to feel and that's arrogant. When faced with someone who is suffering from depression, I try to accompany them from my own experience, but mine is not theirs, and different things work for different people.
In 1997, I suffered severe exhaustion, anxiety and finally a nervous breakdown. Not only was I incredibly tired, but my energy levels were so low I
was unable to make a decision about what I wanted to do with my life without having a panic attack. I finally had that breakdown and for the following
four months, I was unable to be active more than three hours a days. I began taking Paxil to stabilize my serotonin levels, and Ativan (during the two
initial days of the breakdown itself) to control my panic attacks.
Initially, it was really painful and humiliating, as a person who prides himself on his strength of intellect (I'm a writer/journalist) to see my
rationality having to be supported by medication. But ultimately, what happened is that it's not the medication itself which changed me - it's the
What I mean by that is that some have said that medication is used as a quick solve for depression problems. In my case, it wasn't a magic wand - it
just gave me back my power of thought and reasoning so I could solve my problems on my own. Big difference.
Seven years later, I know I'm still fragile. Depression will often do that to you. And medication is my insurance policy, it just helps me ensure
that I don't go too far down that path again.
As to those who say that depression is a weakness, or that taking medication for it is a weakness... If by weakness you mean admitting that sometimes
there's stuff we can't deal with without a helping hand, if by weakness you mean admitting that one is not invincible and has limits, if by weakness
you mean deciding that there is some suffering that is really not necessary and can be avoided... well, I plead guilty to your accusation of weakness.