The month of October is a special time for me:
my debut novel, my baby,
will be released IN PRINT on Halloween!
I suffered from depression for many years of my life. I was totally unaware of it until I sought help for deep underlying issues. I was on prescription medication, and was receiving counseling. Ultimately, it was by faith that I was freed from the disease. But I know all too well much of the misunderstanding of the disease. I have recognized in my writing, that my characters tend to suffer depression, and so, I purpose to help shed light on the disease and generate awareness. The following is an article taken from WebMD site.
Myths and Facts About Depression
Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on March 14, 2014
This tool does not provide medical advice.
© 2014 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.
note: the original article is a slide show, which I chose to omit
Myth: Hard Work Beats Depression
Depression affects nearly one in six people at some point in their lives, so folk remedies and half-truths about this common illness abound. One such idea: throw yourself into work and you’ll feel better. For a mild case of the blues, this may indeed help, but depression is a different animal. Overworking can actually be a sign of clinical depression, especially in men.
Myth: It’s Not a Real Illness
Depression is a serious medical condition — and the top cause of disability in American adults. But it’s still confused with ordinary sadness. Biological evidence of the illness can be seen in brain scans, which show abnormal activity levels. Key brain chemicals that carry signals between nerves … also appear to be out of balance in depressed people.
Fact: Men Fly Under the Radar
A depressed man, his loved ones, and even his doctor may not recognize depression. That’s because men are less likely than women to talk about their feelings — and some depressed men don’t appear sad or down. Instead, men may be irritable, angry, or restless. They may even lash out at others. Some men try to cope with depression through reckless behavior, drinking, or drugs.
Myth: Depression Is Just Self-Pity
Our culture admires will power and mental toughness and is quick to label anyone who falls back as a whiner. But people who have clinical depression are not lazy or simply feeling sorry for themselves. Nor can they “will” depression to go away. Depression is a medical illness — a health problem related to changes in the brain. Like other illnesses, it usually improves with appropriate treatment.
Fact: Anyone Can Get Depressed
Poet or linebacker, shy or outgoing, anyone from any ethnic background can develop depression. The illness is twice as common in women as in men, but it may be that women are more likely to seek help. It’s often first noticed in the late teens or 20s, but an episode can develop at any age. Tough personal experiences can trigger depression, or it may develop out of the blue.
Fact: It Can Sneak Up Slowly
Depression can creep up gradually, which makes it harder to identify than a sudden illness. A bad day turns into a rut and you start skipping work, school, or social occasions. One type, called dysthymia, can last for years as a chronic, low-level illness – a malaise that silently undermines your career and relationships. Or depression can become a severe, disabling condition. With treatment, many feel substantial relief in 4-6 weeks.
Myth: Help Means Drugs for Life
Despite the buzz about a “Prozac Nation,” medication is only one of the tools used to lift depression. And asking for help does not mean you’ll be pressured to take prescription drugs. In fact, studies suggest that “talk” therapy works as well as drugs for mild to moderate depression. Even if you do use antidepressants, it probably won’t be for life. Your doctor will help you determine the right time to stop your medication.
Myth: Depressed People Cry a Lot
Not always. Some people don’t cry or even act terribly sad when they’re depressed. Instead they are emotionally “blank” and may feel worthless or useless. Even without dramatic symptoms, untreated depression prevents people from living life to its fullest — and takes a toll on families.
Fact: Family History Is Not Destiny
If depression appears in your family tree, you’re more likely to get it too. But chances are you won’t. People with a family history can watch for early symptoms of depression and take positive action promptly — whether that means reducing stress, getting more exercise, counseling, or other professional treatment.
Myth: Depression Is Part of Aging
Most people navigate the challenges of aging without becoming depressed. But when it does occur, it may be overlooked. Older people may hide their sadness or have different, vague symptoms: food just doesn’t taste good anymore, aches and pains worsen, or sleep patterns change. Medical problems can trigger depression in seniors — and depression can slow recovery from a heart attack or surgery.
Fact: Depression Imitates Dementia
In seniors, depression can be the root cause of memory problems, confusion, and in some cases, delusions. Caregivers and doctors may mistake these problems for signs of dementia, or an age-related decline in memory. Getting treatment lifts the cloud for the majority of older people with depression. Psychotherapy is particularly useful for people who can’t or don’t want to take medication.
Myth: Talking Makes Things Worse
People were once advised not to “dwell on” problems by talking about them. Today, there’s evidence that guided discussions with a professional can make things much better. Different types of psychotherapy help treat depression by addressing negative thought patterns, unconscious feelings, or relationship troubles. The first step is to talk to a mental health professional.
Fact: Positive Thinking May Help
The old advice to “accentuate the positive” has advanced into a practice that can ease depression. It’s called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). People learn new ways of thinking and behaving. Negative “self-talk” and behavior is identified and replaced with more upbeat thoughts and a more positive mood. Used alone or with medication, CBT works for many people.
Myth: Teens Are Unhappy by Nature
Although many teens are moody, argumentative, and intrigued by “the dark side,” prolongued sadness or irritability is not normal for teens. When unhappiness lasts more than two weeks, it may be a sign of depression — which develops in about one in 11 teens. Other signs a teen may need help include: being constantly sad or irritable even with friends, taking no pleasure in favorite activities, or a sudden drop in grades.
Fact: Exercise Is Good Medicine
Very good studies now show that regular, moderately intense exercise can improve symptoms of depression and work as well as some medicines for people with mild to moderate depression. Exercising with a group or a good friend adds social support, another mood booster.
Myth: Depression Is Tough to Treat
The reality is most people who take action to lift their depression do get better. In a large study by the National Institute of Mental Health, 70% of people became symptom-free through medications — though not always with the first medicine. Studies show the best treatment is combining medication and talk therapy.
Fact: It’s Not Always Depression
Some life events cause sadness or disappointment, but do not become clinical depression. Grief is normal after a death, divorce, loss of a job, or diagnosis with a serious health problem. One clue of a need for treatment: the sadness is constant every day, most of the day. When people are weathering difficult times appropriately, they can usually be distracted or cheered up for short periods of time.
Fact: Hope for Better Days Is Real
In the depths of depression, people may think there’s no hope for a better life. This hopelessness is part of the illness, not a reality. With treatment, positive thinking gradually replaces negative thoughts. Sleep and appetite improve as the depressed mood lifts. And people who’ve seen a counselor for talk therapy are equipped with better coping skills to deal with the stresses in life that can get you down.
I also have asked my dear friend’s daughter, the lovely Arianna, to share from her journey.
“I have hidden my face far away,‘cause the flesh on my skin is on display. They say healing will come if I pray, But they don’t know, they don’t know.That I’m waiting, waiting for someone to see me. I am waiting, I’m waiting for these wounds to wipe clean. I did not choose my disease, Please see the flower in the weeds.” –Jonathan Thulin “Torches”
Hello, my name is Arianna. I suffer from Bipolar (NOS). It’s been a long fight to survive what the average person can just live right through without so much as flinch, it seems. I know things I never wanted to know, due to the strong impulses that I have. This mental disease– manic-depression has sent me for long roller coaster rides that basically destroy me from the inside out. If I had my way, these roller coasters in my emotional instability would never have existed. I hate it as much as the next person. If it was as easy as to snap a finger and say to it “begone”, don’t you think I’d have done it? I’ve had to learn that God’s grace is sufficient for me. That He goes before me, is beside me, and watches behind me.
Sometimes when God works behind the scenes to strengthen you in Him, He sends pain our way. It is the pen of pain that the Author and Finisher of our faith uses to make you more like Him. He loves us too much to not use this pen. He’s uses my disease as a way to humble myself. All of the therapy, medicine, and pushing forward could never erase my disease away…and sometimes God just says that His grace is sufficient for me. It’s been a hard war in my mind. I’m torn in two, fighting myself and it destroys me… But, everyday, I choose to rise from my bed and keep fighting. Believe me, I really grow weary of this war. But, there’s One Hope that I cling to– the Hope that was promised– the Hope of the time to come, when I have completely healed. It might not be on this side of heaven, but I know with all my heart that God is a God of healing… and He desires so much for me to be healed… but in His own time. This produces endurance and patience and faith, which it also requires that I have those, like a cycle that never ends.
In my dailyaudiobible, yesterday, Brian Hardin talked about the context of Jeremiah 29:11. And hearing it comforted me. Because His merciful lovingkindess[hesed] is willing to wait as long as it takes to bring me back to Him, and the hammer this Great Blacksmith uses is the suffering that humbles myself to bend a knee…
“We see in scripture that God is willing to take his time, to take a long time. He is willing to leave a whole generation wandering in the desert before they ever go into the Promised Land because the root of all of this was in them. So he is willing for them to stay 70 years in Babylon to redefine them again and bring a remnant back. To God what is 40 years? What is 70 years when he is looking at the souls of these people, understanding that 40 years of ten trillion years is less than a wisp, less than a vapor? What is 40 years when the implications are forever and ever and ever, amen? What is 40 years? What is 70 years? What is a generation of people when he is trying to rescue them for all eternity? God is willing to take as long as it takes which really isn’t harsh. It is really patient. It is really merciful. It is really loving unless you don’t believe in eternity and then yeah, it can seem harsh.
Here’s the deal. When we use the most famous verse in all the Bible, then we have to use it in its context and turn it toward ourselves properly. You have a Heavenly Father that is willing to utterly and completely disrupt you to save you. Not everything that is happening to you that makes you uncomfortable is an attack of the evil one on you. There is actually more to life than comfort which is not to say that God doesn’t bring comfort or allow us to have comfort. He does. There is more to life than that.
Our lives boil down to that very often. However comfortable we feel we are is how blessed we think we are very often that is not necessarily the case. Not everything that disrupts us or makes us uncomfortable is bad. That is just our kneejerk reaction. We go crazy trying to get back to the way things were when God may be pressing in and saying the way things were is not working and you can never go back to that place again for I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster and that is where you were going. They are plans to give you a future and a hope and you were running from that as fast as you could to destroy yourself. So settle in. Build homes and plan to stay. Plant gardens and eat the food they produce. Marry and have children and find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply. Don’t dwindle away. Work for the peace of where you are because that will determine your welfare. We’ve got some work to do so that I can actually get you to the plans that I have for you.”
–Brian Hardin [dailyaudiobible 10/16/14]
And so, if it breaks me down enough to bow before my God, I never want God to stop the insanity until He has finished His work. Perhaps the healing I shall receive down in this world may be the road to recovery rather than the complete cure of it all. And with all that said, I will trust the Lord in the process…
Those who stand for nothing fall for anything. –Peter Marshall
Arianna is a proud authoress, artist, and musician, but the most important thing about her is; she seeks the hidden face of God with a passion. A lover of culture, art, music, and all things geeky(Whovian, Potterhead, Pegasister and Sherlockian) and Celtic, her writings are often greatly impacted by these things. She is a professed child at heart and proud to be just a girl trying to find her way around life. Homeschooled by her amazing mother and epic father, and on her senior year of high school. Hoping on going to Liberty University for college and to double major in Psychology and Theology. She dreams to become a psych-therapist, and to help teens and young adults going through what she has gone through in her own mental illness. A seeker and an experimenter, with a love for studying on psychology, theology, astronomy, meteorology, oceanography and entomology just for kicks. Along with those mentioned areas that she enjoys studying, she also has a passion for seeking out beautiful things in the world. She also hosts Soundwaves of Love Ministries which is connected with her mother’s and her ministry, LIGHT for MI, her most ardent goal in this ministry is to bring out the modern-day maidens and knights in her listeners and readers and to minister to the lonely and shattered hearts.
Every nation has an anthem. Every song begins unsung, unwritten, and silent, then all of a sudden it bursts out with melodies, choruses, and vocals! Our anthems are sung through the choices we make, the life we live, and the ways we act. Each verse is unsung until we make our choices, live our lives, and act our love, but the chorus is ever-constant, portraying the love of our King for His children and warriors, pilgriming to Heaven! –Arianna Scriptsmith
Thank you, Arianna, for sharing your story. I look forward to having you back again.
If you haven’t already, be sure to stop by and like my Facebook page, follow me on Twitter, on my blog! Please leave me a comment, let me know you’re here!
#depression, #webmd, #mythsandfacts, #ariannascriptsmith, #tenthavenuenorth, #dontstopthemadness, #inmyroom