Depression sucks. I have struggled with depression most of my life. Off and on, thank heavens; the cloudbank lifts quite often and it hasn't been a big problem for me in many years. I try to keep busy.
Here's the deal: most of the drugs developed to "treat" depression are about as subtle as a hammer. I used Wellbutrin to quit smoking, back before there was a specific stop-smoking version of the drug, and it made me twitchy and strange (yes, more than usual). But it got me past the critical few weeks of really strong cravings, so it was worth it in the short term.* Long-term? No thanks; I'd rather be moody.
But it's not really an either-or choice; for me, mild depression can be faked away. Tricked. Cheated: get busy at something, get into the physicality of it or the mental effort of mowing a lawn, building a bookshelf, even, sometimes, putting words on paper, and you can forget how everything is bleak and gloomily awful.
Maybe it still is, when the thing is finished; maybe it comes back. You've nevertheless bought your brain an hour or more of different chemicals, different electrical patterns, different thoughts.
I think that's what the drugs do, too. One of the angles they tried in treating my chronic facial pain/migraine was to run through a few anti-depressants; supposedly some of them help with some kinds of chronic pain and only a deeply cynical person -- or possibly an M. D. neurologist -- would wonder if they might help with someone who was using attention-seeking behavior as a cover for depression. For me, all they did was screw me up and if you thought having little lightnings dancing along one cheekbone, eye and ear was unpleasant, add in a touch of depersonalization or bigtime emotional numbing, and see how that improves the experience. (Hint: it doesn't.)
Depression's a real thing but it doesn't help to let it loom too large. If you pick at it, it just grows. If you possibly can, go do something else instead. The only way to get off that track is to stop going around on it and there are scads of other things to do. If they're not fun, at least they can be useful. It's like picking away at a brick wall with a lovely, sunlit meadow on the other side: there's a lot of gritty mortar to dig out before that first brick falls and lets a sunbeam through.
* I'm still addicted. It's a long time between cravings but even now, twenty-some years later, every once in awhile it hits me, I could really use a smoke just now. Yeah, and reek like an ashtray the next day, with a tongue like a mile of muddy road. No thanks!
4 months ago