Major depression update, March 2024

By | March 25, 2024

Random thoughts about depression:

I suffer from major depression. I have for most of my life, dating back to middle school at the very least.

Depression causes me to have difficulty doing things I need to do. I procrastinate significantly more and I don’t have the energy to do things I enjoy.

Something a lot of people don’t understand about depression — it’s not necessarily (or at all) linked to “feeling bad about something”, though one hallmark of major depression is that one’s brain goes looking for things to be depressed about and then points to those things as the “cause” du jour. Depression is an expression of biochemistry, life experience, stress, and so on.

I imagine that I would probably have been very depressed even if I had led the absolute perfect life. My father had undiagnosed major depression. My mom’s mom was institutionalized for most of her life due to symptoms that sound an awful lot like major depression. (The state of medical care in rural Florida was not always what one would have liked it to have been.) You can’t ignore the role genetics plays in mental health.

What helps? Talk therapy (working with counselors) does not really help me. Medicine helps somewhat, but is not helping much with my latest bout of black moods. I’ve gone through extensive DBT (dialectial behavior therapy) training and am familiar with skills like radical acceptance, distress tolerance, and emotion regulation. It’s just that sometimes those skills can only do so much.

I would probably feel better if I started getting intense regular exercise. I’ve been pretty sessile for the last year — partly because of my having been chair of my local Selectboard and always had things to do (and had a lot of stress as well), partly because it rained nonstop last summer, and partly because I made a ton of excuses all fall and winter. I have hopes that as the weather continues to warm I’ll find it easier to get outdoors and get going for walks again.

I’m heading to Bermuda on Saturday for a week’s vacation and am, unfortunately, stressing about that. Our flight leaves BTV at 5:20 am — that’s leaves, not boards. Carole is not a morning person to begin with and will probably have been up late Friday night packing (she has depression too and she’s terrible at tasks that require organizational skills like, oh, packing). Once we’re actually on the plane and in the air heading to our connection in Charlotte, I expect I’ll feel better.

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