Depression Isn’t Always Sadness

I’ve struggled with clinical depression for a very long time. Depression is a primary symptom of MS, as well as a reaction to living with this complex, unpredictable chronic illness.

Although I am a fully licensed clinical psychologist, I meet the diagnostic criteria for a diagnosis of major depression, severe, recurrent. Wow, did I really just disclose that? Yes, I most certainly did.

On the surface, I tend to think that the majority of the time, most people wouldn’t tend to assume that I struggle with depression. That’s one of the major reasons why I am allowing myself to be this vulnerable about my struggles with depression.

My training, as well as my personal experiences, have solidified my beliefs that depression is a true mind-body disorder, as opposed to simply a mental illness.

I think that long-term, depression is manifested as the absence of joy, as opposed to the presence of sadness. Impaired motivation has been a major manifestation of my struggles with depression.

Outwardly, I think that symptom is heavily camouflaged; I tend to think that I typically come across as an ambitious, intense woman, one who has many interests and activities. I have struggled with suicidal ideation, on more than one occasion.

If you can’t possibly understand why someone could ever feel suicidal, count yourself deeply blessed. Losing the ability to walk, as well as waking up blind, sent me into a powerful downward emotional spiral.

Making the decision to apply for disability benefits induced the very same response. It was a devastating series of losses to no longer be able to work, having spent a near eternity to achieve my doctorate.

Most thankfully, my deep faith, family support, professional help, and antidepressant medication has brought me back from the proverbial edge (more than once, in fact). Professionally, I have worked as a clinical psychologist with many individuals who have attempted suicide.

As a result of these intense encounters, I can confidently assert that suicide is an attempt to stop an unbearable, intense anguish. It truly is not a desire to stop living, but a desperate attempt to stop the emotional pain of continuing to live with feeling profound hopelessness and helplessness.

Suicidal individuals truly feel like there is absolutely no way out of their current situation. I so wish that more people fully understood this. If you are feeling depressed, please reach out for assistance.

There is help available. Sounds so terribly cliche, but it’s still true. I am so happy that I am still here to share these deeply intimate thoughts with you.

1 thought on “Depression Isn’t Always Sadness”

  1. Thank you for your insight and your candor. I know what it’s like to just want the hurting to stop. Fortunately, it’s been 30 years since I was in that place.

    Like

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