Depression appears with many faces. I remember in my nursing training at the State Mental Health Hospital the beautiful murals painted on the wall in the Maximum Security section of the facility. The person giving us the tour pointed out the two sides of mental health. The person who painted the awesome mural had committed suicide during the depths of depression. Gazing at the beauty of the mural gave no hint of a person with major inner despair.
Precipitation of Depression
Frequently, some event or situation precedes the illness called depression. A major loss of a job put me over the edge and I remember aching all over and not being able to get out of bed without major fatigue. I started talking with a mental health therapist. I owe the conversation with the therapist and the contemporary medications as saving my life. It is hard for me to imagine others not having these same benefits, but I know many people are ashamed of their condition and fail to obtain help.
Symptoms and Feelings
The depth of despair is hard to describe. This empty hallow feeling pervades one’s entire being and fatigue overcomes the whole body. The lack of energy sweeps the body so pervasively. Nothing around me in my life mattered. I possessed no desire to eat or perform simple tasks like putting on make-up. I shunned talking to other people, because it took too much energy. I found it difficulty to make simple decisions, because it required an inner vitality to make choices about what to eat or what to wear. Depression robbed me of vitality for life for an episode in my life.
One has to realize that not every drug works for every individual, because body chemistry varies from one person to the next person. My personal journey through the murky cloud of depression proceeded on a rocky course. I tried multiple different classifications of drugs before arriving with ones that work. I started with the drug, amitriptyline, but the drowsiness and dry mouth became intolerable. After a trial of Paxil and Effexor that appeared to be like taking water, the medication with the most success turned out to be Cymbalta. This drug acts on receptors in the brain for norepinephrine and serotonin. The chemical imbalance in the brain causes our depression. It sometimes seemed forever for the drugs to work, but it does require four or more weeks for some people. Cymbalta, once a day, keeps my chemicals in balance.
Talking It Out
Connecting with another person helps ignite the energy deep in one’s being to return to a non-depressed state. My talk therapy or also called cognitive behavior therapy with the mental health provider started out twice a week and proceeded to once a week. As I improved, I changed to every other week and then to once a month. Now, I spent five years seeing this professional before returning to a normal state of functioning without further therapy. I didn’t believe at first that talking about my life with a therapist would make a difference. My rural oriented parents and grandparents firmly believed mental health professionals to be a waste of time. My contact with an excellent provider completely disproved this point of view. The talk therapy provided a guided pathway to learn about myself and to face situational problems that always arise in life. Pursuing treatment can truly make a difference in one’s life. It’s best to seek help as early as possible as it can save your life.