Deep Dark of the Soul

Depression is on the rise.
This is due, in part, to the seasons. We’re drawing towards the twilight of the year, when the nights are longer than the days. Even the gothiest goth that ever gothed biologically needs and wants the sun. When there’s more nighttime and less daytime, a common reaction is depression. It’s actually a classified disorder known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (because acronyms that spell ‘sad’ are funny, I guess).

Another reason is we’re nearing the end of Daylight Savings Time (and we all know that Daylight Savings Time is one of the WORST IDEAS EVER). If you live in a country without DST, count yourself lucky. If you do live in a country with DST, I’m so so sorry. I won’t belabor why it’s awful; others have done a fine job of doing that already.

For Americans, the election season also kicks up Depression. Dismissing partisan issues and the usual headaches that politics brings up, just taking a nice, good look at what’s wrong in the world – and trying to decide between the crackpots that want to fix it – will make you want to curl up into a fetal position under a desk and sing the Winnie the Pooh theme song to yourself.

 

Of course, there’s depression and then there’s Depression. Little-d depression is a mood and a deceptively evil one at that. It’s the blues. It’s feeling sad. Trivialize it all you want, but it can lead one to make terrible life decisions, sometimes that cannot be easily undone, if undone at all. Ask former members of cults, or many people in substance abuse programs. Little-d depression is no joke.

 

Capital-D Depression is another matter entirely. It’s a legitimate mental illness that despite affecting millions of people world wide, science understands very little about. The best definition of Depression I ever heard was from golfer David Fehrety, saying “[Depression] is an immune disorder for your mind”. If you have Depression, you know exactly how terrible it can be. If you don’t, honestly not explanation would can adequately explain what it robs from you. To describe it by saying ‘imagine every thought having the potential to send you into a nihilistic spiral’ doesn’t do it justice. Imagine feeling pain instead of pleasure when your friends wish you a happy birthday. Imagine the happiest thought you can and try to imagine feeling absolutely nothing, or worse, feeling the acute awareness that you CAN’T feel anything.

 

Depression is a nightmare.

 

There’s no secret here. There’s no ‘but you don’t have to…’ here. Depression sucks. I suffer from it every day. I gave up writing full-time primarily so I could get a job to finally have health insurance so I could finally get back on anti-depressants. And they help…a little. They shore up the emotional defenses that otherwise have no effect on the rotting darkness that can strike at literally any point.

 

Depression sucks. It steals our lives from us and it erodes at us. But it’s also something that passes. It sucks when it comes but some days are better than others. And sometimes it’s easier to deal with, knowing others deal with it too. So, I deal with it. Know that. When you sob quietly, knowing no one can imagine the crushing debilitation that Depression brings? Yeah, someone does. A lot of us do.

 

Hang in there.

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Author: Robert V Aldrich

Author. Speaker. Cancer Researcher. Martial Artist. Illustrator. Cat dad. Nerd.

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