Written by B. Imei Hsu, BSN-RN, MAC-LMHC, Artist
A few weeks ago, I found myself musing about the real “face” of depression. I personally find it absurd to think that anyone who lives a full life can escape the feeling of being depressed at some point in their lifetime of 365-1/4 day trips around the sun. A full life – one in which you choose to be awake – includes its fair share of tragedies, heartbreaks, endings, and losses. As I am writing this, we are on the eve of experiencing a hurricane that affects hundreds of miles of homes and businesses, which can only mean that millions of people’s lives and livelihoods are at stake, and the thought of human loss is grieving and yes, depressing. Yet rather than sharing only statistics and norms and “how to’s, I’m sharing my personal and professional musings on depression not just as a situationally-caused mood disorder, but also as a real “face” that seemingly has no cause, or to which we look beyond cause. What is the real face of depression?
“I have no reason to be depressed”
You probably know at least one person who tells you, “I have no reason to be depressed.” Such a statement falls falls from a mouth of an intelligent, successful, healthy adult man or woman who appears well-loved and appreciated for his or her contribution to the community, the workplace, and the home. She or he can count off at least ten or more reasons why depression should have no place in her life, and yet there it is: this heavy, achy, tired, brooding feeling of either not wanting to have to wake up to another day (with suicidal thoughts and fantasies of ending it all), or the same heavy- achy-tired-brooding-feeling, only without suicidal thoughts. That same person may have tried counseling or some form of “talk therapy“, and while strategies for managing the symptoms of depression are discussed and employed, the person expresses dismay that after six months of weekly sessions, she doesn’t feel much different. Just depressed.