"I'm going to turn dining back into eating / I like food / Food tastes good"--Descendents

Saturday, October 10, 2009

You'll get it right some time, you will, I tell myself that every day

You may or may not know this, but October is depression awareness month. It's overshadowed by breast cancer awareness (which is also really important), but I think more attention needs to be paid to this illness.

Here are some signs of depression from the National Institute of Mental Health:
  • Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed
According to the Uplift Program, 9.5% of adults suffer from depression. I've been struggling with it since I was a young teenager, and was officially diagnosed at age 15. I've been to rock bottom but I'm doing okay now. Too many people dismiss depression as "teenage angst" or "a phase" but ask anyone who has it, and they'll tell you that it's a serious condition. The simplest things become tasks of Herculean proportions when you're depressed. Sometimes it's all I can do just to get out of bed in the mornings. I've missed out on a lot of things because of my depression. I know that this will effect me for the rest of my life, and I'm doing the best I can to manage it.

I'm not alone in this. Many people I love also suffer from depression or another mental illness. I wish that mental illness wasn't so stigmatized, and it was easier for people to understand. I'm lucky in that I have people who love me and care about me (even if they're far away from me), but not everyone is. If someone you love is depressed, the Uplift Program offers 9 rules to follow:
1. Understand the disorder.
So many popular misunderstandings about the illness and so much denial about its origins exist.
2. Keep in mind that he/she can't "snap out of it."
Remember that the other person has a real illness. Like someone with cancer, they can't simply "get over it."
3. Ask about his/her feelings and his/her childhood programming.
4. Admit your own powerlessness against the disorder.
Many people believe they can cure someone they love just by the sheer force of their love.
5. Do not try to rescue.
6. Don't make excuses for him/her.
7. Encourage him to seek help.
8. Discover your own programming.
His/her behavior may seem to give you an excuse to vent angry feelings, or an opportunity for you to play the knight in shining armor or perhaps a reason to excuse your own real or imagined shortcomings.
9. Tell him/her what you need.
If you aren't honest about what you're getting from the relationship, or what you want to get, you will make the other person feel even worse about himself.

Here's a couple songs I like to listen to when I'm feeling down.

Save Your Generation - Jawbreaker

Keep on Livin' - Le Tigre

There's Never a Reason Not to Party - Latterman

1 comment:

  1. You rock Madeline. Don't ever forget it. :)

    I found out the other day also that the 8-10th of October are Cephalopod Awareness Days (I guess they don't get a whole week).

    It is nice that there is something cute and, well not fuzzy, but awesome to counter all the serious stuff this month.