The Experience of Depression

I’ve mentioned my struggles with depression before, and my intention to write further on the topic. Of course, depression itself gets in the way of that writing, just as it gets in the way of other writing (like fiction, email, even Twitter and Facebook), just as it gets in the way of everything else in life.

The past year has been one of the worst I’ve ever had, as far as the consistency of my depression is concerned. It has been vicious and unrelenting. Add in some related physical issues and we’re talking good times.

Now, lest you fret you’re keeping company with a human sinkhole, I’m not. I’m actually pretty cheerful, even in my worst moods; my ability to laugh at anything, including and especially myself, keeps me alive.

No, in my case, depression doesn’t make me a droopy sad sack, all glum and self-pitying. It just obliterates my energy to do things, and more importantly, my volition to do them. There are days I get up motivated and ready to write/exercise/clean the apartment/etc., then I shower and have breakfast and BLAM, it’s gone. There are also days I never have coffee because I can’t muster the volition to brew a pot.

The past couple of years, I’ve learned a lot about depression, its causes, its effects. I’ve had it at least since my teen years, probably longer, but for most of that time I was oblivious, and even once I found out, my understanding was shallow. Even though it took its toll on me every day, I didn’t recognize the full impact it can and does have.

My shrink told me once that patients of hers who’ve suffered both cancer and depression say they’d rather have the cancer. That’s a mind-boggling thought, but when someone has an affliction like cancer, they can still enjoy the life they have. You hear stories of people who find joy through illness because it shows them the importance of life and every moment is to be cherished and all that.

When you’re depressed, you don’t get those types of epiphanies.
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