Friday, February 15, 2008

Something everyone should know about depression

So I orginally started this blog because I wanted to start a conversation about what it's like to be LDS and have depression. I felt like there were a lot of stereotypes out there and that members had the wrong idea of what depression was. I really wondered why people didn't talk about it more, didn't try to explain it.

Well, now I know--or at least I have a better idea of why. Turns out it's hard! I do a lot of blogging about books and other literary subjects because it's lot easier than writing about being depressed. I have a few posts about my depression, but I never seem to be able to finish them. Sometimes writing about it alleviates the feelings, but sometimes it intensifies them. Or I find I am simply incoherent when talking about depression. It is a real challenge to put all those things into words.

However, I do feel that being depressed has had an effect on my life and on my testimony. So I guess I'll keep trying.

So here's something that I think everyone should know about depression: Depression isn't just being sad or laying in bed all day. That is how a lot people experience depression, but many depressed people also experience uncontrollable anxiety and anger. That's happens to be my issue.

I guess you could say that I technically have postpartum depression because that was when I was first diagnosed. But I think I had depressed periods as a teenager and I was definitely depressed while I was pregnant. The way I describe my condition to myself is that I have moderate depression with anxiety and some OCD tendencies. (I recently added the part about OCD after reading The Imp of the Mind and finding out that PPD is often characterized by OCD-like "bad thoughts" and coping mechanisms.) That's just what I call myself. Actually, there is no official diagnosis of "moderate depression", but I like the term so I use it. The actual diagnosis is dysthymia, but since nobody knows what that is I'll stick with my term.

So that is the depression fact for the day. You don't have to be laying in bed and avoiding people to be depressed. Sometimes it's the anger and anxiety that define depression.

1 comment:

Charlotte said...

Thank you. I found that very informative on several levels. First off, I don't think depression during pregnancy gets enough attention. Secondly, I like that you make teh OCD connection as I have the same tendencies, I think. I appreciate the "fact of the day" ;)