Thursday, June 25, 2015

Depression

If you've read my blog for awhile, you may be aware that I was diagnosed with a B-12 deficiency about 6 years ago. I take sublingual B-12 tablets (when I remember) and haven't had any problems since then. One of the main side effects of B-12 deficiency, however, is depression.

One of the trickier things about depression is that it's hard to tell when someone is depressed. You have to evaluate yourself and when you're evaluating yourself you're looking at it from a skewed perspective.

I know one of my coping mechanisms was to do research about depression. I figured since I never had suicidal thoughts, I didn't really need help. So I tried journaling, praying, exercising, eating right, doing fun things. Nothing seemed to help. I truly only decided to get help when I realized that my short-term memory was being affected and I couldn't remember what I had eaten the day before. Of course, this was before kids, so I didn't have a valid excuse for not remembering what I ate.

Fortunately, I had a great doctor who ran a LOT of blood tests before handing out any drugs, and my depression has been mostly resolved. However, the thing about depression is that once you've experienced it, you're more likely to experience it again. It's kind of like "regression to the mean" except that your mean (or average) has gotten lower so you tend to head that direction.

So, looking back, I had a bit of mild post partum depression after my oldest was born. The amazing and wonderful thing is that I did not experience that at all after my youngest, despite him being in the NICU and spending about 3 months doing the breastfeed, pump, bottle feed, wash cycle (which is enough to make anyone clinically something).

I think we are in danger in our society of letting people get by with half a life. We figure if they aren't at the severe end of the spectrum they don't need to seek help. We figure if they are Christian, or middle class, or men, or moms, they don't need to get help. We think that we are strong enough to do it on our own, when really we should be strong enough to get help. Because the answer (and the solution) might surprise you.

So the next time someone you love asks you how you are doing, let's not say "I'm fine" let's give an honest answer and have an honest conversation.
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