August 12, 2014.

When the news of Robin Williams’ death broke yesterday, we as a collective world all gasped in disbelief. Correct me if I’m wrong, but most of us thought that he was killed by some force of nature, whether it was an accident or some medical incident like a heart attack.  Needless to say many of us were shocked when we found out that he had committed suicide.

Suicide.  How does one get that low in their personal lives to take one’s own life?  It’s not that hard.  I’ve been there and today I feel that this is the day to tell you all about depression in order to give you a better understanding about what a victim of depression goes through on a daily basis.

Now, I don’t want to glorify or over shadow the loss of such a talented man as Robin Williams.  In fact, my view on his death is that it is tragic to lose someone so talented who brought laughter to many. But he is now free from this debilitating disease called depression.   More so, I vision him in heaven finally at ease and in peace.  Then again, I think he is cracking everyone up in heaven.  Personally, I believe that the best show that there ever is to see is the show provided by all the great entertainers who now reside in heaven. 

Depression:  Webster’s dictionary defines it as such – a psychological disorder marked esp. by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, and feelings of dejection. 

When in actuality depression is an incurable disease.  Like cancer, depression comes in many forms.  But the common factor of depression is that it is an inner extreme pain that the person who suffers from it can not get rid of.  Think of it like this – imagine the worst headache that you have ever had.  Now, imagine not being able to do anything about that headache.  Imagine no relief for said headache.  That is pain called depression.

Sure, you may say – well I’ve seen all these advertisements for depression medicines, they have to work!  No, not really!  The first thing you must know about depression medicines is that it takes 30 days to get on them or to and 30 days to get off of them.  That means that the sufferer must endure the pain for 30 days in order to see if the medicine is right for them.  If not, it’s another 30 days to get off of them and another 30 days to try a new medicine.  For me it took three months of trial and error to find something that helped. But my medicine did not help in the way that I wished.  Personally, I just gave up on finding the right medicine or combinations of medicines and went with whatever I was given. 

The second thing you need to know about antidepressants is that they do not cure the problem, they only mask the problem.  Most antidepressants basically numb the pain, while numbing the brain.  Because depression is a disease of the brain, the medicines only numb the brain, thus, making the sufferer walk around like a zombie.  Who ever said there was no such thing as zombies never met a person medicated by antidepressants. 

The third thing you need to know about antidepressants is that any little thing can set them off.  In other words other medicines, foods, teas, drinks and such can totally make ones medicine work in a negative way.  For an example, while I was on a particular antidepressant, I was having severe pain in my legs.  I was prescribed a simple vitamin. After a week of taking said vitamin, I began feeling very angry and irritated.  What was making me feel this way was a chemical reaction between the antidepressants and the vitamin.  I had a totally different reaction when I drank tea.

There is one more thing that you need to know about antidepressants…  Once a person is on them, you have to stay on them.  Getting off of antidepressants is worse than coming off of drugs.  You can not quit cold turkey and you can not simply take one of those detoxify potions.  You have to slowly go off and sometimes that can take years.  For me, I have been on antidepressants since 2010 and since December 2013, I have been slowly decreasing my dosage strength.

Previously, I told you how there are many forms of depression.  Within the last twenty odd years, the medical society has finally realized that people need to be treated individually rather than the whole when it comes to any illness.  The same is said with depression.  In 2010, I was diagnosed with Event Depression with Anxiety.  The best way to describe this is that small events that take place in my life can become mountains.  For an example, when I write album reviews I write them with pure honesty of really listening to the artist and their vocal capability as well as the artist ability that is provided in the recording.  With that honesty there is negativity from artists, record labels and more telling me that I know nothing about music.  A simple remark like that can throw me into a downward tailspin of deep dark depression mixed with severe anxiety. 

I don’t expect you to understand any of this, but I am here to share with you my battle with depression.  There is so much I wish to share that I believe that I will continue this discussion next week and perhaps more to come.  As a writer, I’ve always wanted to tell my story of 24 hours in a psych ward and I believe that now is the time… until next week, stay strong and reach out to those whom you have not heard from in a while.  Your call may be just the thing they need to continue living.

Peace,

Gina.

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