by Steve Linebaugh
If someone has a broken bone, people offer sympathy, sign the cast and offer comfort. What do you say to someone that says, “I’m Depressed”?
Too many times it’s the empathetic I get depressed sometimes, too, or I feel sad, too sometimes, with the thought of just get over it. Another favorite of mine is: What do you have to be depressed about?
Instead of helping the depressed person, it causes more awkwardness and the need for some explanation. From my experience, the depressed person is trying to maintain a calm veneer while managing feelings and sensations or a disturbing lack of them.
Honestly, unlike situational sadness, there really isn’t much to say that will be helpful. The best thing to do is simply listen. The depressed individual needs to know they are not alone, they are not just crazy, and that the crisis will end.
Depression and anxiety are not natural responses of the body and they often have no cause or impetus, time and patience must untangle the feelings and confusion. I have noticed that often the depressed person can untangle the symptoms by a concerned friend simply listening to a rambling rant of thoughts and feelings.
The flow is chaotic and very random, it is a jumble of information and sensations that one tries to deal with in the most comfortable way they can. I would compare depression to a computer overwhelmed with too much in memory, which causes all its functions to cease.
I describe depression as three distinct processes. The first is the intermittent feeling of absence and not being able to fathom anything of pleasure or joy this is the innate chemical balance and the most uncomfortable form.
The second is the blahs that can be situational and have a bit more connection to cause and effect, it is easier to work your way out of the feeling.
The third is the anxiety and stress of not being able to relate to anyone or any feeling-again this is chemical but it usually begins with a creative block and ends with a feeling of great accomplishment as the block ends and the creative process unravels. Knowing what is on the other end of the process is helpful for lending some relief to the symptom. I think some sort of mood disorder is part of the creative process.
There are three rules that I can equate to all forms of depression for me personally.
- Do the opposite of what the depression leads you to do. If you want to sleep in and curl up in a ball, go exercise, run, walk – anything opposite your initial inclination.
- Avoid any alcohol or depressants-self-explanatory, really.
- Exercise is the only process that I have found that cannot only push off some of the symptoms but can allow a longer break between bouts of the illness.
- Realize it will end, if you have a headache or stomach ache you don’t panic and think this is the way you will feel for now on-realize mood disorders will come and will go. Realization of this fact can often be a comfort.
- Chocolate can sometimes take the edge off-just an edge.
I am in the process of writing a book about the subject and how I have worked through it for 30 plus years without meds and finally the results of turning to medication.
I hope by talking about the symptoms and process of depression, we can all have more of a conversation instead of the silence and stigma that tends to attach itself to most mental disorders.
Steven Gordon Linebaugh is originally from New Jersey. He lived there until he was 18 and moved to Texas to go to school. He is the founder of Artbygordon; an artist website connected with nature and the arts.
Growing up fishing and diving in Pennsylvania or exploring the woods near his house in Edison, New Jersey, nature has always been a source for peace and inspiration.
He’s been writing and painting since he was very young and he has always revered and celebrated nature. His specialties are the mystery of the night sky and the depth and magic of the intricate faces of water.
In recent years, he’s worked as a graphic designer, a photographer and a blogger and continues to hone his skills.
He is in the process of writing several books about living creatively, being positive in a negative space and self-help books on depression which he has suffered with from a very young age.
Along with travel and a love for nature, he intends to grow his brand and help others find their sense of light and passion.