Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 19 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Monday, December 14, 2009

How do we know we're better?

When is depression over?
Does it have an end?
Or are there only periods of reprieve?
How do we know when we're better?

Is depression like the flu?
Or maybe pneumonia?
Is there a finite beginning, middle and end?
We're cured when we feel better.

Or is depression like MS?
Or maybe leukemia?
Are there bouts of illness and periods of relief?
We feel better, but we're never cured.

When is depression over?
Has anyone else considered this?
Or is this another rumination of one ill brain?
How do we know when we're better?
Are we ever cured?


Krystal said...

This is really good to ponder . . . I am grateful to have felt better without medication for several months now. I am not saying that I believe people can just "will" themselves out of depression, nor have my bouts with depression been as severe as I am sure they come. But, I do think (just speaking from my own experience) that once I began to feel better, the more I got myself busy and thinking about other things, the less and less I actually thought about and wallowed in my depression, and the better and better I felt. Maybe this is a bit of denial?

Here are some words that helped me so much to describe my depression, "And it felt like a winter machine that you go through and then, you catch your breath and winter starts again, and everyone else is spring bound" These are lyrics to the song After All by Dar Williams.

These lyrics comfort me because they are such an accurate way of describing depression. It may very well be denial, but seeing myself as one of the "spring bound" people instead of caught in the winter machine kind of helps to let go. . .

Thanks for this topic.

etta said...

Hi Krystal--
I don't think you are in denial, nor do you need to apologize for thinking of yourself and your illness in a positive light.

There is a difference between positively reframing your daily struggles and "thinking happy thoughts" to feel better. I don't know if that makes sense...but I hope you know what I am saying. The first method--reframing--acknowledges the illness and finds ways to cope. The second method is invalidating fantasy.

I would be thrilled, too, if I felt better without meds. Heck, I'm thrilled to feel better while on my cocktail of medications! It means, in conjunction with all of the other positive things I am doing, my meds are working.

That's one of the reasons I've been thinking about this topic. I feel better, so naturally I'd like to start decreasing my meds. If I decrease my meds, and I still feel better, does that mean I am cured? If I have to stay on meds the rest of my life, and I feel good, does that mean depression is a lifelong illness like MS--relapsing and remitting?

I don't know. I hope others have some thoughts because this is turning into another post! Thanks for your comment, Krystal.