It's fascinating to me that most folks have no concept of what depression is, yet it is the single most prevalent illness in our culture. I look around me constantly and see it and how most folks don't even consider it an illness. I believe part of the reason is that we reward, glorify outrageous, broken behavior in our gossip-journalism, film and TV ...oscar winners and reality TV stars gain accolades for playing characters who are clinically depressed. And then we gossip about the behavior that is a desperate cry for help...It's fascinating to me. I notice it so profoundly because I have spent my life battling depression and I see it in other people. I see myself in other folks as we try to white knuckle our way through the disease. But you can't self medicate hypertension or sickle cell if it's been in your family for generations, can you? It's in your blood...as a matter of fact, any doctor worth their salt will run a blood test before they treat you for depression because all of the signs are right there in the blood counts. True story. If you go to an acupuncturist in China town, he will tell you you are clinically depressed after taking your pulse and a general examination, he can even tell you where you hold it. Your liver, your womb, it creates physical symptoms throughout your body. It's real...it's not a sad day, it's an illness that has nothing to do with how accomplished you are (you're probably an overachiever because of it). It wasn't until I got really serious about tackling it did I realize what life might be without it. And then I had to leave behind every single person who was not supportive of me beating it. They wanted me to believe that depression is normal. Lots of people wanted me to believe that. I now understand why...
Talk therapy saved my life. A good psychiatrist gave me the tools to heal. I also learned that anti depressants without talk therapy is drug addiction. All the self destructive behavior can be in play, but the drugs are masking the pain. You absolutely must remain in a doctors care if you're going to do medication. It works, but it must be monitored and talk therapy is critical to that monitoring process. Anti depression medication softens the blows that depressed people take so that the talk therapy which is essentially new strategies for living can sink in and help you change your behaviors. As the talk therapy begins to lift things in your life, the medication will eventually take a back seat or at least a tiny baby seat or a different seat. Depression is like marriage, you have to recommit every single day of your life that this thing is worth fighting for. Otherwise, it will dissolve and carry you with it.
P.S. DISCLAIMER: I am sharing and making myself extremely vulnerable in a effort to save just one life of someone feeling alone. You can disagree with my POV, but feel free to do so on your personal blog. Not mine. I speak from personal experience of this disease and in particular how it is taking out my people in alarming numbers. If you lived in the police state of Amercia where the color of your skin meant you were the most likely to be dead, you'd be looking for ways to make this disease hurt less. So please take this opportunity to post opposing opinions on your blog, not mine. I won't be attacked when I am at my most vulnerable.
April Yvette Thompson is a Tony-winning producer, writer & actor working across media.
FOUNDER/CEO of TheDreamUnLocked: Boutique Coaching for Actors, Writers & Dreamers W/25 years of teaching, acting, writing & advocating for people's dreams, April has the uncanny ability to help her clients find their personal transformation magic. April is a midwife of genius: helping u give birth to ur dreams & crossing the finish line to ur goals. The DreamingOutLoud Technique from April's Ted Talk: ReWrite Your Story, is the basis of her teaching method . • Writing is the way to focus ourselves in the present, on what's working & figuring out new ways to get around old problems
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