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Can We Determine/Measure Whether Depression Is Good For Us?

Friday, January 30th, 2009 Can We Determine/Measure Whether Depression Is Good For Us?

Arguably, “depression has become the single most commonly treated mental disorder, amid claims that one out of ten Americans suffer from this disorder every year and 25% succumb at some point in their lives.

Warnings that depressive disorder is a leading cause of worldwide disability have been accompanied by a massive upsurge in the consumption of antidepressant medication, widespread screening for depression in clinics and schools, and a push to diagnose depression early, on the basis of just a few symptoms, in order to prevent more severe conditions from developing.” ( Allan V. Horwitz and Jerome C. Wakefield - The Loss of Sadness: How Psychiatry Transformed Normal Sorrow into Depressive Disorder - 2007).

Moreover, American professor Jerome Wakefield fellow author of the above made yet another controversial statement in the Mail (20 01 09) indicating that medicating depression as if it were a disease stops us embracing our miserable side and so prevents us from changing our lives for the better.

What, as individuals we need to clarify is how living through the reality of depression strengthens our character?

With that in mind, it will now be relevant to research some differing perspectives, all have suffered depression. Our own opinions Will be formed as to whether it is good or bad thing.

Firstly, John Lloyd 57, the producer of Blackadder and QI indicates that he was a bright sunny child, though from his mid-teens until his late thirties he did suffer from depression. His experience was that the depression would come on like a migraine attack.

Overall, his conclusion was that he felt cursed with some sort of chemical imbalance. Unfortunately he did not seek medical attention as he was a firm believer in the philosophy ‘walk it off’ school.

Lloyd found that taking a three hour walk was very helpful and worked everytime.

However by the time Lloyd reach his forties, his depression was significantly worse.

To counteract the problem he read a lot of science and philosophy. He says, “science taught me that we are all, ultimately, alone, and that the only person who is going to help you is you.

And the philosophy taught me that the best possible way to help yourself is to help other people first. So no more self-pity for me, thanks. That’s someone else’s job now.”

Secondly, Virginia Ironside, 64, is an agony aunt who disagrees with the above opinion from the view point that she believes that anyone who considers that depression is good for you, has probably never experienced real depression. The reality for Ironside is as she argues, the truth is that there is a world of difference between depression and even the most distressing and deepest of sadness.

I remember feeling very sad over something, so sad that I was crying every day, and feeling the most utter anguish imaginable for weeks and weeks.

More significantly after the episode passed, Ironside confided in a friend, It’s been an awful period, but nothing, nothing like as bad as being depressed’ and she laughed and said: ‘I know exactly what you mean’.

In addition Ironside adds, “In my experience, depression is being unable to work, to laugh, to think straight even.”

moving on, and assessing the third candidate Anne Diamond, a 54 years old broadcaster.

Anne shares the view of John Lloyd, she states, “No one knows what depression is until they’ve sat on the edge of their bed every morning and found themselves unable to think of one good reason to get up.

That’s when you hide back under the duvet - for hours, and even days, on end.

The only reason I recognised it in myself, and then quickly decided to go to the doctor, was because I had done so many interviews over the years about depression, and sufferers had described the ‘edge of the bed’ feeling so evocatively that it sounded an alarm bell in my head.”

Diamond further adds, Being truly grown up is knowing when you need help, and when to resist it and endure the pain on your own.

Antidepressants should be used sparingly, but they should always be available. Let’s not be made to feel wrong or guilty about them.

Another two negative responses from both Linda Kesley and Professor Lewis Wolpert, but a positive from Tim Lott.

To finalise, every individual is on their own personal journey and, can only take the action of what is good for them as an individual.

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