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Another Insight Into Depression: When The Darkness Comes

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posted on May, 3 2013 @ 05:21 PM
A few years back I made a conscious decision to openly discuss my battles with psychiatric issues with the ATS community. Part of my motive for doing this was to let other members, with similar problems, know that they are not alone - and that there is actually a member of staff ( more than one in all honesty ) who is not only sympathetic... but is actually right there in the boat as well. But I also did it for the same major reason that I am vocal about my problems in my real life - to help educate those who do not have psychiatric issues. We have a community here that is all about trying to see past the propaganda and the BS, so that they can get to the hidden truth... Well the truth is that the average person knows little to nothing of the reality of this subject. Many think that they understand it - but their advice most frequently betrays their utter lack of understanding.

The painful truth of the matter is that the average "normal" person tends to think in terms like "It's all in your head", "Mind over matter", "Discipline will cure you", and so forth. In my real life experiences I have learned that even well intentioned "normal" people will most often make things far worse as they engage in their attempts at making things better. Our culture teaches us that punishment and shaming will alter behavior. So most tend to choose this approach when dealing with mental illness. Tough love... I honestly don't think it's a good thing to subject healthy children to. I know that it's not anything that a mentally ill person can cope with.

This is the message I try, most, to convey. A message of patience and understanding. See, you cannot use logic to "change" a sick person because their illness is not based in logic. You cannot shame a person into getting better. You cannot punish it out of a person. Attempting to do these things will only drive a mentally ill person deeper into their illness. Compassion, patience, and acceptance are what sick people need. You don't have to understand the behavior of a person who is mentally ill. But you should accept that they cannot help what they are going through. It is not weakness. It is not a choice. It is not an excuse. And it is not the "easy way out" - a very common misconception. Mental illness is Hellish, and unfathomably painful. The fact that you may not be able to relate to whatever another is going through does not imply that they can control things the way that you might feel capable of.

That brings us to the misconception of enabling. Over the years, in my own life, and in working with other people who have problems, I have seen, time and time again, an abuse of the word "enabling". I've seen ( and experienced ) families cutting sick people totally off, putting them out into the streets.. and when asked why they always reply " I refuse to enable...." This singular aspect of the dynamic is the one that makes me the most furious. It is no different than saying feeding a cancer patient is enabling their illness. Yet, because mental health is grossly misunderstood and misrepresented in this world, people do see it as two different things. They think that if Uncle Bob has to sleep in a gutter for a few weeks... well, by God, Uncle Bob will choose to stop hearing voices.

I've seen too many "Uncle Bobs" get kicked to the gutter and end up dead because of it. The system doesn't help the mentally ill very much. What little help a mentally ill person is entitled to all gets cancelled once they lose their mailing address. The homeless in this country qualify for NOTHING. It is sad to say that the "lucky" ones end up being just lucid enough to commit a crime and end up in a prison - where they then, finally, can get access to minimal medical care, a place to sleep, and food to eat.

Does that strike anyone else as being as tragic and morally wrong as I feel it to be? That in the greatest nation in the history of the world, sick people end up in prisons and not hospitals?

My impetus for writing today is that I've been in a dark place for several weeks running. The details aren't important and are nothing I would publicly discuss anyway. Suffice it to say that even I, with years of living with these demons... with a family who should know, by now, how to deal with these episodes - find myself waging the same sorts of wars that every Uncle Bob I ever met was fighting. I am lucky in that, while my body chemistry is a total mess... my mind is strong enough to remain rational. This allows me to defend myself from misguided and destructive "help". The cutting edge of this is that I get to live through these hellish episodes while being able to see just how irrational and dysfunctional they are. My body chemistry destroys me emotionally and leaves me unable to function - but my mind is left, like a hostage, to watch it all happening - largely incapable of doing much about it.

From this dark place I am filled with a need to share so that I might compel others on ATS... those with sick relatives, neighbors, friends... to realize that those who suffer are human beings. They have souls, dreams, hopes, fears, and feelings... just like anyone else does. Their illnesses do not define them. These are people worthy of dignity and compassion. Often simply accepting them, as they are, and affording them dignity can make all the difference in the world. You can have an impact upon their quality of life and even help in their recovery... and all it takes is nothing more than being considerate.

Thank you for your time.


posted on May, 3 2013 @ 05:32 PM
reply to post by Hefficide

Well said and I completely agree and understand. I have been very open about my mental illness issues on here as well. It was the one place I knew people would understand because I know there are others on here who get it. Most people in my day to day life just don't get it. I don't blame them honestly because it can be hard to deal with and I also hide it very well from people around me. It's when I"m alone that i have breakdowns so to speak.

In my experience the ones who say the things you mentioned are those who have never had to deal with depression or any kind of mental illness. I know for many they don't know what to say or how to act. I try and tell my fiancee that it's nothing he can fix by telling me to take a walk or get outside. It's not that simple. I wish it was.

I have my good days and i have my bad days.

Thanks for this thread Heff.

posted on May, 3 2013 @ 06:20 PM
reply to post by Hefficide

I've been ill for a long time now. Day by day brother.

I remember my father telling me to get over it. "Get over it you pansy, it's all in your head, cowboy up." Now? I'm so much stronger than him, when my family needs me I am the rock.
edit on 3-5-2013 by Covertblack because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 3 2013 @ 06:49 PM
Well, it sorta is all in your head. The chemical imbalance that causes problems is in the head. The start of the imbalance is usually in the gut or liver. It may also mean the diet needs to be altered a little to add certain chemistry or a few minerals need to be taken for a while. Usually the changes are small and flexible.

posted on May, 3 2013 @ 06:54 PM

Originally posted by rickymouse
Well, it sorta is all in your head. The chemical imbalance that causes problems is in the head. The start of the imbalance is usually in the gut or liver. It may also mean the diet needs to be altered a little to add certain chemistry or a few minerals need to be taken for a while. Usually the changes are small and flexible.

Not that simple. We can't just eat well and be ok. For me the only thing that helps is exercise, lots of it. I guess I should thank depression I am built like a pit bull.

posted on May, 3 2013 @ 07:23 PM
You'd think by now the human race would have woven a modest safety net for their fellow brothers and sisters.

Although some cultures have had the wisdom to do so, they are often unwilling to share their resources and abundance with outsiders.

Each of us is dealt a unique hand in life, and as the cards fall over the span of our lives, in later years many of us end up in dire straits, and through no real fault of our own.

When one reaches that point where they find that their best cards have been played out, time is no longer on their side and without a safety net, what then?

We've all witnessed the brutal existence of some hardcore homeless loner, who for whatever reason has ended up living out the remainder of his or her life on the streets.

I dream of a world in which unconditional love is the unwritten law of the land and the human race is one family. A world in which no man, woman, or child will ever have to experience a bitter life of homelessness, a life without hope, a life steeped in fear of living out their final days, on the streets.


edit on 3-5-2013 by seasoul because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 3 2013 @ 07:29 PM
reply to post by seasoul

Our mental health system sucks, I can attest to that.
edit on 3-5-2013 by Covertblack because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 3 2013 @ 07:58 PM
Nice Op
. I wish humanity would have quantified more how the chemicals work in the brain and pineal gland and how different tools like meditation can help a person to feel stable and secure in itself.

For some medication is needed and it should be medication that is suitable for you and your brain chemistry but science is not researching this on the level I think they should. Does meditation help to give you control?

From my point of view you are probably tapping into something in your unconscious mind that your conscious can not make any sense of. You can always try chakra meditations sounds if that is comfortable for you. It helped me when I was very depressed but I cannot guarantee any results.
edit on 3-5-2013 by LittleByLittle because: Spellchecking

posted on May, 3 2013 @ 08:27 PM
reply to post by Hefficide

I agree, most peope have no clue about mental illness. And I think it's fine, as long as they are not judgemental about it. I don't think it is possible for people who have not experienced it to understand. You can't just fight it with sheer willpower, or suck it up and move on. Not long term anyways.

What worked for me was changing to a healthy diet, free of common allergy food (I had a hidden intolerance to milk which did not show up on blood tests). It gave me energy to excercise, which improved my mental health even further. Not well by a long shot, but now I have the energy continue treatment more effectively. Mental and physical health really are often connected.

posted on May, 3 2013 @ 08:29 PM
reply to post by Itdra

I did change my diet, but honestly exercise helped me the most. I poured all my anxiety/depression into weight training.

posted on May, 3 2013 @ 08:52 PM
Ya know Heff - every so often I wish us regular ATS'ers could give applause to mod's instead of the other way around. This one of those times.

posted on May, 3 2013 @ 08:54 PM
Yep Same here When My mother was Mis-Diagnosed with Schizophrenia and the Doctors said "You Do Know you Will have to Look after your Mother for the rest of Your Life" It was Like they shut the Prison doors on my life I was only 16 In less then a Month I'll be 30 and My mother was re-diagnosed as Having SCHIZO-AFFECTIVE DISORDER and I'm still battling with her and My problems at one stage I was 20 (I think) It was so bad I was taking cigarette butts out of public ashtrays I was Punching (larger then My head sized the biggest one was 3.7 Foot Long by 3.5 foot across) Holes in Walls punching holes in wardrobes also punching my Rank Arena Cyclic defrost 440 (Old fridge) and putting several Dents in the Metal freezer door and denting up several of the Traffic light Buttons I walk around with my head Down slightly looking straight ahead I walk very quick and very Militant Like People say things Like "You're a Hard #, You've Done Time!" I say Nope It's just the way I am with all the # I've been through!
edit on 3/5/13 by fr33kSh0w2012 because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 3 2013 @ 09:42 PM

See, you cannot use logic to "change" a sick person because their illness is not based in logic. You cannot shame a person into getting better. You cannot punish it out of a person. Attempting to do these things will only drive a mentally ill person deeper into their illness. Compassion, patience, and acceptance are what sick people need. You don't have to understand the behavior of a person who is mentally ill. But you should accept that they cannot help what they are going through. It is not weakness. It is not a choice. It is not an excuse. And it is not the "easy way out" - a very common misconception. Mental illness is Hellish, and unfathomably painful. The fact that you may not be able to relate to whatever another is going through does not imply that they can control things the way that you might feel capable of.

So well said. I feel as if you are speaking of my son.

Thank you for your words. And thank you for putting all of this into an organized thought for me.

posted on May, 3 2013 @ 10:12 PM
reply to post by Covertblack

If you move your torso area, it warms the innards and raises the temperature of the liver. When the liver gets warmer it can produce more of some types of enzymes. Even one degree helps. Some of us seem to have evolved to need this movement. Another thing is that when we are active we stress points in our body causing a need for pain relief. The brain creates a chemical that attaches to the opioid sensors and blocks pain within the brain. It also gives us a little relaxing buzz.
edit on 3-5-2013 by rickymouse because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 4 2013 @ 01:07 AM
As always, your efforts to foster compassion for those suffering from mental illness is appreciated and very welcome.

It's an irony that a site that should in theory be more accepting, open minded, and compassionate than almost anywhere else I can think of, is often capable of displaying the most callous and dismissive closed mindedness and lack of compassion. Part of this, I suspect, stems from the fact that many here are strong believers in all things non-mainstream, which of course includes natural, exotic, mental/will-based, and spiritualist remedies for all manner of disease, including those of the psychiatric and/or neurological variety. Which is perfectly fine and everyone's prerogative, don't get me wrong.

Yet while those things may work for some - perhaps even many - and I'm very happy for those who find success with them, they do not work for all. And often those who doggedly persist in encouraging their use end up being every bit members of the "Just try harder; if you don't it's your own fault" crowd as those of the more mainstream persuasion.

I have a simple rule I seek to live by: try to offer compassion, comfort, and advice, but if you haven't been in precisely the same shoes someone else is standing in, don't make assumptions, assertions, or dismissive attacks on their situation, no matter how well intentioned. It can and sometimes does do more harm than good.

When one already feels alienated, different from everyone else, depressed, miserable, like a failure at life in many respects, and is trying their utmost to dig themselves out of that hole in every way available to them, being told what can essentially be translated as, "It's your own fault. Try harder," is one of the most painful and detrimental things they can be told.

edit on 5/4/2013 by AceWombat04 because: Added final paragraph

posted on May, 4 2013 @ 03:18 AM
reply to post by AceWombat04I agree with what you said about this site and the people that come here should be of the mindset that understands and should have empathy for those which may have mental issues...All to frequently while reading responses in threads I see stuff like.."please take your meds" and such...It makes me cringe and quite frankly triggers me...but I have to just tell myself they know not what they say because there is no medication for ignorance

posted on May, 4 2013 @ 04:09 AM
I've struggled with depression and, for the most part, have come to terms with it, so I believe I'm in a position to speak about it because I can empathize with those who suffer from it.

Depression is not a bad thing, I wouldn't even go as far as to call it an illness, but society tells us that it's wrong to be depressed (hence the therapy and the prescriptions), therefore we conclude that depression must not be a normal state; it has become stigmatized. Ironically, depression is universal in that all people, and probably animals too from what we can observe, are susceptible to it. The basic formula in most cases is this: you are in a comfortable state, you lose your comfortable state in the form of a change beyond your control, you resist this change, this resistance breeds depression. Comfort/familiarity, change, resistance, depression. The change may be a material thing, such as losing a house, or it may be something entirely emotional, like feeling left behind by your friends, feeling incompetent, etc. Depression is also often accompanied by stress, again likely from resisting changes.

So, how do you avoid depression? Well, the obvious answer is extreme acceptance of yourself, your flaws, and your situation, but this is clearly easier said than done. If you can cultivate that self love, however, you will naturally find yourself in a more joyous mood. At least I have.

The key to depression is acceptance; resistance of depression is futile and will only bring you more misery. You must accept that you are depressed - I don't mean pay lip service, but truly accept your depression and realize that it's something that many people go through - because only then can you reap the benefits of depression, such as artistic self expression.

posted on May, 4 2013 @ 04:10 AM
Nice thread. This reminds me of sending drug addicts to prison and not helping them by putting them through rehab. The worse thing about depression is if you store it away, it only makes things worse.

I don't know, I think we have a reason to be kind of down, look at the Martial Law in Boston for example and the coming N.W.O. I mean, how does that not depress the # out of you? I'm honestly terrified for what is to come, and I know I shouldn't get down on things I can't really control that much, but all of this crap and a lot of this stuff on this forum is constantly looming over me constantly.

It's like watching a train wreck in slo motion and all we can do is watch from the sidelines as our whole country makes a turn down # creek.

I think there are 3 types of people in this world. The ignorant ones enjoying the bliss, the people including me on these forums, that are in the "know" but not actually really doing anything but writing on a forum, and people that actively change peoples perceptions on reality on a day to day basis for the betterment of humanity.

Well anyway, as Bill Hicks would put it, all we can really do now is enjoy the ride.

posted on May, 4 2013 @ 04:14 AM
Medication is actually one of the "Uncle Bob" type issues that can really cause damage to sick people. Everyone has an opinion about the medications. Even informed opinions, however, can be damaging as the process of getting a person onto psychiatric medications ( if done correctly at least ) can involve a lot of talking, testing, and trial and error.

In my own experiences medication has been one of the most difficult aspects. My body does not tolerate the most common medications ( SSRI's ) very well at all. I have had reactions to every single one I was ever prescribed. For about fifteen years, give or take, I actually had quite a few doctors flat out tell me that side effects from SSRI's was "impossible". I knew better, as I suspect they also did. But they insisted that I was wrong and, let's face it, another stigmatic issue is that people with mental health issues are often marginalized or ignored... it's eas to say "You know nothing, you're crazy" and to write off every word that comes out of an ill persons mouth. Still, I persevered and took every medication I was prescribed - even when I knew it would make me sick. This was the only way I could get doctors to respect my word. I let them see those "impossible" side effects with their own eyes. Once that happened - they were much more willing to accept my experiences and input regarding my treatment.

Sadly, the way our healthcare system is set up - and due to the way mental illness works... I tended to change jobs every few years. New jobs mean new insurance. New insurance usually means new doctors. New doctors means going back to square one and having to go through the entire line-up of medications that made me sick, all over again.

I lived my life that way for better than 20 years.

Regarding medication in general, here's the rub. Psychiatric medications are, IMO, woefully over-prescribed. If a housewife gets bored with her world and starts uncorking the wine at nine in the morning - they're going to throw Prozac at her. If that housewife cannot sleep? They're going to toss Valium or Xanax at her. If her kids start acting out because Mommy is a mess? Well then they get Adderall or Ridalin - and probably an SSRI to boot. It's a chain reaction that is damaging to the folks who don't really need Band-Aids put on their situations - and it is a HUGE disservice to those of us who actually DO have a legitimate need for these medications.

First of all that housewife and her brood will go on to take the medications for a short time and then will stop them later on. Chances are that whatever was causing Mommy to freak out, to begin with, will have righted itself during this time - to one degree or another... so now we have a family of people who swear that the medication did bupkiss for them and that they got off of that poison and felt 100% better for it... Never understanding that their stressors were environmental and not chemical - and that THIS was the defining difference and reason why medications were not the proper route for them.

This gives rise to the culture of people thinking that medications are nothing more than a crutch for the "weak" - and also that mental illness is just a choice that can be overcome simply by proper thinking.

The other downfall to the overmedication of the Western world is the stigma. Some of those Mommies who freak out and get their Valium become addicted to it - which causes their relatively good lives to spiral into darkness. They develop a disease where none was present before. Society sees this and the addiction stigma gets blown totally out of proportion. Doctors are taught to be very hesitant about prescribing anything with even a remote risk of dependence. The irony is that an addicted Mommy is socially preferable and more easily accepted than a patient with real psych issues - so even with the abuse concerns... the addict is still much more likely to get these types of medications than the person who actually might benefit from them.

I can tell you from experience that it's absolutely demoralizing to have PTSD and to be told that the doctor will NOT treat your panic attacks... only to then realize that many, many friends and relatives who have NO real problems at all have medicine cabinets overflowing with the types of medications you truly do need. And then to ask "How the heck did you get this prescription" and to hear them reply "Oh, I yelled at my husband one night and the doctor started calling those in for me" or "I told my doctor I can't get to sleep fast enough...."

Take that in another context. Imagine you had a severely broken leg and were told that opiates are addicting, so you'll have to settle for Advil. Then you find out that just about everyone else in town is getting Morphine for their sore feet. It's just one of those things that makes a person twitch.

posted on May, 4 2013 @ 04:54 AM
Thank you for a first rate post on the subject. In the world today mental illness is very often manageable and treatable and with the understanding you spoke of it can even be beaten. It is reckoned that around one in four people suffer to a varying degree with some form of mental illness meaning that one quarter of the population may be affected although it is likely that a huge percentage remain undiagnosed.

Many sufferers lead normal and fulfilling lives and some even achieve greatness such as Winston Churchill. There does seem to be a high instance among performers, entertainers, artists, and creative people in general, but if one is a symptom of the other remains unclear.

Manageable, treatable, beatable, but as to curable the jury is still out.

Thanks and regards.

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