Adjusting to the Many Levels of Depression

Those living with depression know that it comes in many forms. Chronic depression is a drain on energy and the ability to feel joy. This is not to say that a person who is chronically depressed never feels joy, but those moments of joy are rare and usually short-lived.

Depression creates a state of apathy and/or a predisposition toward the negative. While it may be obvious that a certain stimulus should evoke feelings of joy, it’s often hard to care enough or connect enough to the world to feel joy. A resting emotional state of depression does not block from the mind all the things that “should” create joy. Knowing all of the positive moments lost to apathy can make mild depression in an individual who suffers from chronic depression a very dangerous emotional state.

When only mildly depressed, there is a bit more energy and awareness of all that depression has taken away. Depression can also rob the memory of times when the depressive state receded enough to allow joyful moments, days, and, for some, even weeks to happen.

Active or deep depressive states sap the will and motivation. The deeper the depression, the lower the energy and awareness of all things that “should” create joy and the understanding of why there is no joy. The answer is obvious: depression is stealing away the joy of the small things.

People who have never truly been depressed often take for granted how much of their life is comprised of spontaneously joyful moments and comforts. Depression creates the need for things to be very precise to create joy. A morning cup of coffee becomes a means to an end or a chore. Every detail of life can feel like “have to” rather than “want to”.

An inability to shut down and withdraw can exacerbate depression. Having the ability to withdraw, even if just for a bit, limits stimuli and conserves energy. The amount of energy necessary to get through a day drains away the energy necessary to recuperate and hold on to what is good in life.

Depression is a deceitful and cruel task master; it sharpens the edges and makes neon signs of any and all past failings. Depression also skews the memory, making good times seem distant and false. Depression acts as a fortune teller, predicting doom and ruination and thereby poisoning any hope for the future.

The poisonous nature of depression is why those in a depressed state need to be treated gently. If you knew that a person had ingested drain cleaner, would you advise them to “shake it off”, “focus on the positive”, or ”think happy thoughts”? Of course not: any reasonable person would seek professional help and advice on how best to help. The same concern and care should be given to supporting individuals who are battling depression.

Posted on 07 Jun 2015 04:37

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