Wing of Madness Depression FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Head of a Nymph by Sophie Anderson

Below are answers to some questions that I am frequently asked. Remember, these answers are my own opinion on these matters (and I can be very opinionated).

Q.Where did the title of your page come from?

A. What inspired me was this passage from William Styron’s Darkness Visible, a recounting of his own depression:

One bright day on a walk through the woods with my dog I heard a flock of Canada geese honking high above trees ablaze with foliage; ordinarily a sight and sound that would have exhilarated me, the flight of birds caused me to stop, riveted with fear, and I stood stranded there, helpless, shivering, aware for the first time that I had been stricken by no mere pangs of withdrawal but by a serious illness whose name and actuality I was able finally to acknowledge. Going home, I couldn’t rid my mind of the line of Baudelaire’s, dredged up from the distant past, that for several days had been skittering around at the edge of my consciousness: “I have felt the wind of the wing of madness.”

I have seen other translations of the line since then, but for me this passage captured how I felt when I realized that something was wrong with me that I could not banish on my own. Continue reading

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alt.support.depression FAQ Part 2 of 5

Image: The Sorceress by John William Waterhouse Part 2 of 5
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**Causes** (cont.)
– What initiates the alteration in brain chemistry?
– Is a tendency to depression inherited?

**Treatment**
– What sorts of psychotherapy are effective for depression?

**Medication**
– Do certain drugs work best with certain depressive illnesses? What are the guidelines for choosing a drug?
– How do you tell when a treatment is not working? How do you know when to switch treatments?
– How do antidepressants relieve depression?
– Are Antidepressants just “happy pills?”
– What percentage of depressed people will respond to antidepressants?
– What does it feel like to respond to an antidepressant? Will I feel euphoric if my depression responds to an antidepressant?
– What are the major categories of anti-depressants?
– What are the side-effects of some of the commonly used antidepressants?
– What are some techniques that can be used by people taking antidepressants to make side effects more tolerable?
– Many antidepressants seem to have sexual side effects. Can anything be done about those side-effects?
– What should I do if my antidepressant does not work?

Causes (cont.)
————–

Q. What initiates the alteration in brain chemistry?

It can be either a psychological or a physical event. On the physical  side, a hormonal change may provide the initial trigger: some women dip into depression briefly each month during their premenstrual phase; some find that the hormone balance created by oral contraceptives disposes them to depression; pregnancy, the end of pregnancy, and menopause have also been cited. Men’s hormone levels fluctuate as deeply but less obviously.

It is well known that certain chronic illnesses have depression as a frequent consequence: some forms of heart disease, for example, and Parkinsonism. This seems to be the result of a chemical effect rather than a purely psychological one, since other, equally traumatic and serious illnesses don’t show the same high risk of depression.
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alt.support.depression FAQ Part 4 of 5

Part 4 of 5
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**Self-care** (cont.)
– How can I help myself get through depression on a day-to-day basis?

**Books**
– What are some books about depression?

Self-care (cont.)
—————–

Q. How can I help myself get through depression on a day-to-day basis?

On a day-to-day basis, separate from, or concurrently with therapy or
medication, we all have our own methods for getting through the worst
times as best we can. The following comments and ideas on what to do
during depression were solicited from people in the
alt.support.depression newsgroup. Sometimes these things work,
sometimes they don’t. Just keep trying them until you find some
techniques that work for you.

* Write. Keep a journal. Somehow writing everything down helps keep
the misery from running around in circles.

* Listen to your favorite “help” songs (a bunch of songs that have
strong positive meaning for you)

* Read (anything and everything) Go to the library and check out
fiction you’ve wanted to read for a long time; books about
depression, spirituality, morality; biographies about people who
suffered from depression but still did well with their lives
(Winston Churchill and Martin Luther, to name two;).

* Sleep for a while

* Even when busy, remember to sleep. Notice if what you do before
sleeping changes how you sleep.

* If you might be a danger to yourself, don’t be alone. Find people.
If that is not practical, call them up on the phone. If there is no
one you feel you can call, suicide hotlines can be helpful, even if
you’re not quite that badly off yet.

* Hug someone or have someone hug you.

* Remember to eat. Notice if eating certain things (e.g. sugar or
coffee) changes how you feel.

* Make yourself a fancy dinner, maybe invite someone over.
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alt.support.depression FAQ Part 1 of 5

alt.support.depression FAQ

Here you will find the FAQ from the alt.support.depression newsgroup. I have made no changes other than formatting. As you can see, the FAQ has not been updated since 1994, therefore some of the information, especially regarding antidepressants available, is somewhat out of date. However, this does not greatly diminish its usefulness.

Archive-name: alt-support-depression/faq/part1
Posting-Frequency: bi-weekly
Last-modified: 1994/08/07
alt.support.depression FAQ
==========================
Introduction
————

Alt.support.depression is a newsgroup for people who suffer from all forms of depression as well as others who may want to learn more about these disorders. Much the information shared in this newsgroup comes from posters’ experience as well as contributions by professionals in many fields. The thoughts expressed here are for the benefit of the readers of this group. Please be considerate in the way you use the information from this group, keeping in mind the stigma of depression still experienced in society today.

The following Frequently-Asked-Questions (FAQ) attempts to impart an understanding of depression including its causes; its symptoms; its medication and treatments–including professional treatments as well as things you can do to help yourself. In addition, information on where to get help, books to read, a list of famous people who suffer from depression, internet resources, instructions for posting anonymously, and a list of the many contributors is included. Continue reading

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