Flaming June by Frederic Lord Leighton
Women suffer from unipolar (as opposed to bipolar or manic) depression in greater numbers than men do; twice as much by most estimates. Three times as many teenage girls as boys report having experienced an episode of major depression.
The reason or reasons why women have unipolar depression more frequently than men is less definite, due to a great extent to the fact that we don’t fully understand what causes depression, whether in men or women. Depression is a highly individual disease. Each case is different. One person’s depression may be wholly chemical, while someone else’s is brought on by events and stressful factors in her life. Yet another person may suffer depression due to a combination of chemical and environmental factors. Continue reading
Dolce Far Niente by John William Godward
“It was not really alarming at first, since the change was subtle, but I did notice that my surroundings took on a different tone at certain times: the shadows of nightfall seemed more somber, my mornings were less buoyant, walks in the woods became less zestful, and there was a moment during my working hours in the late afternoon when a kind of panic and anxiety overtook me…” – William Styron, Darkness Visible
Sometimes the Depression Self-Screening Tests are just too clinical, and the symptoms don’t really “click” with you. Some of the criteria are general, and if you’re suffering from depression, specifics are easier to understand.
I know that I might not have diagnosed myself with depression just on the basis of those symptoms. I had no change in appetite, and no sleep problems (getting out of bed was what was difficult). Below are some un-clinical symptoms.
- Things just seem “off” or “wrong.”
- You don’t feel hopeful or happy about anything in your life.
- You’re crying a lot for no apparent reason, either at nothing, or something that normally would be insignificant.
- You feel like you’re moving (and thinking) in slow motion.
- Getting up in the morning requires a lot of effort.
- Carrying on a normal conversation is a struggle. You can’t seem to express yourself.
The Day Dream by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
So you know you have depression, or you’re pretty sure you do, but you’re putting off doing anything about it. Procrastinating is a fairly common state of affairs for people with depression. I once put off renewing the registration for my car (before I was diagnosed with depression) and of course it expired, as they do. I ended up getting a huge ticket, about one week’s pay, because I was unlucky enough to be in front of a state cop in stop-and-go traffic. It seems really stupid now that I didn’t get it done, but I do remember the complete lack of motivation that came with my depression.
Lack of motivation is one of the ways in which depression can screw up your life, especially when it is keeping you from getting professional help for your depression. You may think you have good reasons for not getting help, but are they reasons or excuses? I don’t know if these could be considered the top five excuses, but they’re definitely the ones that I’ve heard most frequently. Continue reading
Detail from The Women of Amphissa by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema
“People who don’t know [what depression is], who say it’s self-indulgence, sound callous, but it’s not callousness born of indifference; I think it’s callousness born of ignorance. That kind of ignorance we’ve got to get rid of, and little by little I suppose, we will. You say to them, ‘It’s a pity you don’t know. I’m sure that if you knew, I’m sure that if you knew, not only wouldn’t you say that, you’d try to help in one way or another.”- Mike Wallace, On the Edge of Darkness
Note:I wrote this a few years ago, and it has made its way around the Net uncredited. If you want to reprint it, please make sure you credit Wing of Madness.
What Depression Is:
- Depression is an illness, in the same way that diabetes or heart disease are illnesses.
- Depression is an illness that affects the entire body, not just the mind.
- Depression is an illness that one in five people will suffer during their lifetime.
- Depression is the leading cause of alcoholism, drug abuse and other addictions.
- Depression is an illness that can be successfully treated in more than eighty percent of the people who have it.
- Depression is an equal-opportunity illness – it affects all ages, all races, all economic groups and both genders. Women, however, suffer from depression almost twice as much as men do.
- At least half of the people suffering from depression do not get proper treatment.
- Untreated depression is the number one cause of suicide.
- Depression is second only to heart disease in causing lost work days in America.
- Unipolar major depression is the leading cause of disability.