Recognizing Depression and Accepting That You Need Help
Here in Northern California, as in much of the world, we're enjoying the official beginning of spring. I'm still trying to get used to the fact that flowers started blooming around here in February, after spending my whole life in the Northeastern U.S., where even the earliest flowers wait until at least March to poke their heads out. But here the flowers have been blooming so long that the hummingbirds have abandoned the feeder that I had to refill every few days all winter.
I'm doing a version of my former turn-everything-inside-out spring cleaning, modified for my Multiple Sclerosis. If we still lived in the Northeast, I would be driving the whole family crazy by opening all the windows in 50 degree weather. Fortunately we're now in 70 degree weather, so I'm not making everyone freeze to death in my quest for fresh air.
I'm not the only one infected by spring fever. I'm noticing that more people than usual are walking or jogging past our house, and people who walked or jogged alone all winter now have companions who are perfectly happy to exercise if the weather is nice. When I go to the hardware/garden store I see gardeners out in full force filling up their cars with spring annuals.
Spring truly is the season of renewal and rebirth. Not only is it prime birthing time for plants and animals, but it's the time that we poke our heads out of our dens to begin the annual renewal of our senses.
But maybe you're thinking, "La di da. It's spring. Whatever." It doesn't mean anything to you because you're suffering from depression. Or worse, you're noticing it, but the beautiful weather and flowers and other heralds of spring just serve to make you feel guilty that you can't enjoy it.
Let me tell you, I've been there. One of my worst depressive episodes started at Christmas and went all the way through till the beginning of summer.
I remember that when I was suffering from untreated depression, every day was, in my mind, a bleak gray winter day. Never mind if in reality it was bright and sunny, with a warm breeze. I just couldn't see or feel it. I missed so many beautiful seasons that way.
The thing that brought an end to it, after six months of winter and depression, was when I told my doctor, "Okay, I give in. I'll try antidepressants." And, after twenty years of swinging between mild and severe depression, I was reborn.
So how about it? Do you want to continue to live through winter in your mind and soul, or do you want to get better? If you've been delaying seeing a doctor for what you are pretty sure is depression, please give yourself a gift and make the appointment. There's a very good chance that you can be helped, either by medication, therapy or both. And if you've given up on treatments because the first or second or even third didn't work, please keep trying. I know it's hard to get up the energy, but it's worth the effort.
Published On: April 02, 2007