I Did Not Choose Depression

***Trigger Warning***

The Following Deals with Mental Health Issues.

I woke up on September 23, 2019, and the first thing I saw on Facebook was an old friend from high school saying,

“If you choose to be depressed and cry oh poor me my life sucks all the time then yes your life will suck all the time. You don’t need to make a fortune or have a significant other or go on lavish trips to be happy. Life is what you make it!! I’ve been single almost 4 years. Up until this year, I was either not working due to broken bones or working with broken bones. Yep, it sucked but hey gotta do what ya gotta do. I got lucky that I don’t have to worry about that stuff now but make no mistake up until now my entire life has been hard and trying at every turn. I’ve been depressed and made myself get out of it. It takes more energy to cry then say fuck it and enjoy what I got. I do not feel sorry for you if you choose to keep yourself in a depression because ‘your life sucks.’ Stand in line because everyone has a part of their lives that suck!! Sorry, not sorry!!!”

I found her statement shocking, and so did my colleagues. Again, this is not the first time I heard a similar sentiment. A few of my family members have said the same thing. But I did not choose depression.

The doctors, this includes the psychologists and counselors, have diagnosed me with Chronic Major Depression. Harvard Medical School states, “… chronic depression causes more functional impairment, increases risk of suicide, and is more likely to occur in conjunction with other psychiatric disorders.” The article says the treatment for chronic depression is intensive compared to other forms of depression. My depression has lasted longer than two years, and I did not choose it.

There are a few forms of Chronic Depression: Dysthymic Disorder, Double Depression, Chronic Major Depression, and Partial Recover. I have symptoms of Dysthymic Disorder. They are low self-esteem, difficulty in deciding (just ask my husband), lack of concentration (unable to concentrate on my writing and schoolwork), and feelings of hopelessness. I have gained weight (but I do not overeat. My husband forces me to eat because I would not otherwise, and we don’t eat that much.), insomnia, change in libido (not much into sex), no interest in hobbies, anger, low energy, and fatigue. I also have excessive daydreaming (Maladaptive Daydreaming) and suffer from extreme Social Anxiety. Because this has lasted over five years, they consider it Chronic Major Depression. I did not choose depression.

Yes, I am on medication, and I am not ashamed to say I am. I take Prazosin 5mg, Lamotrigine 25mg, Duloxetine 90mg, and Temazepam 30mg. My medications change and increase over time.

In the Polish Journal of Public Health, an article titled “What Causes Depression in Adults” by Marta Bembnowska and Jadwiga Josko-Ochojska made a few valid points. Many things can cause depression, like social factors and lifestyles. A few examples are family problems, traumatic experiences, stress, addiction, and feeling overwhelmed with daily life. This can include relationship conflicts, abuse, rape, divorce, and alcoholism, which I suffered during my first marriage (1998-2002). My first husband mentally, physically, and sexually abused me. Most of the time, he was drunk. We sought help, but he didn’t want it. He felt everyone was against him and would show up drunk. Finally, when I got the gut feeling, I would be six feet under soon, I got the divorce.

Another factor is sociocultural. Education (even changing schools), religious beliefs, value systems, social conditions, and behavioral patterns play a significant role in one’s mental state.

A big factor of depression and anxiety is the increase of bullying in the classrooms and the workplace.

But one factor people, who make statements like my old classmate, seem to forget is the biological causes. The Mayo Clinic sees such body changes connected to depression. They are brain chemistry, hormones, and inherited traits. This backs up with what the Polish Journal of Public Health states in the previously mentioned article. Their research shows that the mother’s depression and anxiety can affect her unborn fetus. The child can develop anxiety and depressive disorders, which can affect their entire life. Those kids did not choose depression.

Another biological factor for depression is the neurotransmissions in the brain. They deal with the serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, and many others. The reduction of neurotransmitters can cause symptoms of depression and suicidal thoughts and actions. One of the biggies is the deficiency of serotonin. Ian Davis and Aimin Liu wrote “What is the tryptophan kynurenine pathway and why is it important to neurotherapy” in the Expert Rev Neurother. They state, “… the kynurenine pathway would divert available tryptophan away from serotonin production…” This can cause depression, anxiety, and psychotic disorders. Guess what? According to my doctors, I have a chemical imbalance. So, tell me, how can someone choose depression?

I am depressed. I have anxiety. I, too, have physical problems which caused me not to work as I once did. I peel off the top layer of my skin. But I do not feel sorry for myself. I don’t cry, “Oh, poor me, my life sucks all the time.” I did not choose depression.

Many people you know suffer from depression and other mental illnesses and you will not know. They wear a mask in front of you. They seem happy, but inside they feel like they are dying. You need to do an internet search to see many celebrities took their lives because of depression and fans did not know about the mental illness until afterward. What about our military personal who suffer from depression and PTSD? Their rates of suicide have gone up. These people did not choose depression.

Because you see me getting my education (used as a crutch) and interning at an online publisher does not mean I am “making myself get out of it.” All the depression and anxiety issues are still there. But it helps me from falling deeper into suicidal thoughts or running away to live wild in the woods.

A few weeks back, I went to my hometown of Taylorville. I let everyone know and kept them updated where I was at and where I would be, in case they wanted to visit and catch up on old times. No one showed up. Right there, it showed me I did not belong. Now, seeing a friend who I hoped would have shown up say this about depression, has me thinking, were we friends in the first place? Or was I used this whole time?

I did not choose depression. It is something I do not want, but it is something I must deal with. Having my husband with me, supporting me is the biggest comfort. If it were not for those at Coffee House Writers, I would not be where I am at now. I am Eeyore and proud to say it. Too bad, to those who think like my old classmate and cannot be loyal as the rest of Eeyore’s friends. You are missing out.

Emergency Medical Services—911

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

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