Sunday, February 03, 2008

I Remember... too much

As I was waiting for the subway home, I saw a poster reading: "Sad and Lonely? You may be depressed...".

The thing that caught my eye on the advertisement was not only the the 'sad and lonely?' part, but I was a little surprised when I read 'depressed'. DEPRESSED. What a word. It felt like receiving an exam you thought you did well on, only to discover you failed.

If I am feeling sad and lonely, could I be *gulp* depressed? I know it says that I may be depressed, but just the possibility is like saying sitting in front of the computer for a long time may give you cancer. You don't want to hear it but the reality of it is, it's not totally out of reach.

I can't be depressed I used to think that for one to be depressed, they would have to be in a constant state of sadness, because the circumstances around them are seemingly hopeless and pessimistic. I also associate 'depression' as a little melodramatic way of emphasizing the stuff that 'sucks' in one's life. However, I have been feeling lower than I've ever felt before (or as far as I can remember) and it's hard to fathom when/if it will last.

But let us examine the meaning of 'depression' a little closely and a little more 'professionally'. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines "depression" as, "(1): a state of feeling sad : dejection (2): a psychoneurotic or psychotic disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies".

That subway advertisement really got me thinking: Could I be depressed? It's so melodramatic of me to even ask that, but I would like to understand how I'm feeling right now and most of all, when it will last. Let's break it down:

State of feeling sad? Hm, I guess you could say I do feel an overwhelming sadness as of the start of this year. And I guess you could say I've been in a 'state' of being sad because I can't remember the last time I was truly happy (actually I can, and that was last year).

Inactivity? Well I have been trying to be inactive, but stuff keeps coming up that forces me to be active: yoga, certain birthdays, other people needing company (and my not wanting to let them down). Does wanting inactivity count as inactivity?

Difficulty in thinking and concentration? Sometimes I do try to think of things that aren't relevant to what brings me down, but my mind tends to drift back to it and I torture myself with scenarios that may/may not/have yet to have happened. I kinda blame listening to sad music for this.

Significant increase or decrease in appetite? Definitely increase. Significant? I usually eat like a bird. Lately I've been in eating like a squirrel. Time spent sleeping? Oddly enough, I've spent less time sleeping.

Feelings of dejection and hopelessness? YES and YES.

Sometimes suicidal tendencies? Definitely not. I don't think I've ever felt something was that bad that I needed to off myself. No, definitely no. However, recently I've had stronger feelings of risk-taking and less inhibitions in which I'm not as scared about harming myself as I once was.

I find it a bit odd to associate feelings of both sadness and loneliness to depression. What is it to be sad? To never feeling happiness? Constant feelings of wanting to cry? Hating to see other people happy but at the same time wishing for them to be happy? I honestly sometimes feel either or both of those things, but they come and go. So I'm not really in a 'state' of sadness.

I do tend to find things that cheer me up once in awhile (like new shoes!) but it doesn't always last. As for loneliness, I do feel lonely but I feel selfish for saying that. I feel selfish because I really don't have a reason to say I'm lonely when I am definitely not lacking in companionship and I most definitely don't feel like being in any sort of relationship right now, serious, casual or sexual. However, I think I feel lonely in a sense that I feel alone as to how I feel and how I comprehend the way things are for me, like the shit I deal with that only seems to happen to me. I don't really share a lot of the complicated things that go through my head because it would be a long-winded ramble that no one would want to try and understand (for example, this entry). A lot of people think they know what's better for me than I know myself, and perhaps that is true, but it's not completely true.

I think it would take quite a bit of time spent in the above-noted circumstances in order for one to become depressed because during that time those symptoms become more severe. I really can't tell if I'm depressed yet and I guess me trying to self-diagnose myself does not help. Also, it would have to be that every aspect of One's life encompasses all those symptoms of depression, like in work, family, friends, love, sex, money, etc. Right now it just seems to be my personal life. Work, family and money are A-OK, for now.

I'm just gonna give it some time and see what transpires. There's two ways this can go: (1) whatever I'm feeling now, I will get over, with time. Time heals all wounds, right? Or, (2) everything for me [seemingly] worsens and I do spin into some vortex of sad faces in which there is no help saving me. But whether or not my sordid feelings turn into bigger problems, it helps to first admit there may be a problem.


Paul Kishimoto said...

"hy·po·chon·dri·a (hī'pə-kŏn'drē-ə) n.

The persistent conviction that one is or is likely to become ill, often involving symptoms when illness is neither present nor likely, and persisting despite reassurance and medical evidence to the contrary."


Minni said...

To be deemed depressed, you'd need to be diagnosed by a professional, ie doctor. But that doesn't mean if you aren't diagnosed with an illness, that you don't have it. Especially when talking about something like sadness and depression; it seems like 'depression' marks the transition state from sadness to...more severe sadness.
In any case, I don't think you should be so concern about what the definition of depression is and trying to figure out if you can be categorized as such. Your time will be spent much better on fixing what is wrong.


By the way, come get your mitts from my place already!

whit said...

this may be late but as someone who is technically still clinically depressed, i can tell you from experience that there will be a moment when you know you're depressed without a doubt and need to seek help. as for right now, you're doing the right things by trying to recognize and fix things that may make you feel that way.