Depression – the basics

A reader pointed out that Whaleoil used to regularly feature some articles on clinical depression.  Frequently these were drawn from our own experiences.

The major reasons we stopped sharing our struggles is because we have been under pressure and under surveillance by people that wish us harm for a number of years.   The last thing you want someone like Colin Craig to know is that you are struggling with your health.  This would embolden our opponents, whoever they are.

As part of strategy we therefore always act cheery and totally in control when in public.   Cam kind of messed that up early January when he got -whatever he got- that ruined his face, gave him lots of pain and knocked him out for a good month.

People who have observed Cam and Whaleoil in general will know by now that the harder we get pushed, the harder we push back.  Nothing can break us, especially with your support.

But we had fallen out of the habit of showing you our more vulnerable side.  People have remarked frequently that they just don’t understand how we could do all this.  Well, it does take its toll, especially when you also have to fight what are, in my lay opinion, vexatious court cases.

But back to depression.

At Whaleoil, the sign “You don’t have to be mad to work here, but it helps” would probably read “Only mad people work here”.  Most of us have direct experience of it.  A lot of the others are partners, friends or family of people with depression.

How do you know you are depressed?   Not just down, low on sleep, and wound up about something around you.  But actually clinically depressed.

There is a standard set of questions a doctor will ask you.  Think back over the last TWO WEEKS.  Over those weeks:

How often have you been bothered by feeling down, depressed, irritable, or hopeless?

How often have you been bothered that you have little interest or pleasure in doing things?

How often have you been bothered by trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping too much?

How often have you been bothered that you have poor appetite, weight loss, or overeating?

How often have you been bothered by feeling tired, or having little energy?

How often have you been bothered by feeling bad about yourself – or feeling that you are a failure, or that you have let yourself or your family down?

How often have you been bothered that you have trouble concentrating on things like school work, reading, or watching TV?

How often have you been bothered by moving or speaking so slowly that other people could have noticed? Or the opposite – being so fidgety or restless that you were moving around a lot more than usual?

How often have you been bothered by thoughts that you would be better off dead, or of hurting yourself in some way, perhaps contemplating suicide?

If you actually want to do that test, you can do it at depression.org.nz.

If you suspect you may be depressed, then the next step is to just ignore it and tough it out.

I’m kidding of course.  But that’s what a lot of people try.  It seems difficult to go talk to a doctor and complain about being… irritable… angry…  you just sound like you are some kind of bastard in a general sense.  And deep down, you’ll expect to be told to just be a nicer person.  Have some time off.  Read a book.  Go for a walk.

But none of that will fix it, and a good doctor will recognise the difference between clinical depression and people who are having a tough patch to go through in life.

Feel free to not ask for help.  Just battle on.  At some point it will dawn on you that you’ve gone backwards.  That nothing you tried helped.  That you are irritable and angry with people that don’t really deserve it.  WORSE:  They’re trying to help or comfort you and you are pushing them away.

If that sounds familiar, then perhaps it is finally time to go talk to a doctor.  Really.  The longer you leave it, the longer some degree of normal life will elude you.

More next time.

– Pete

 


These columns are written by someone who is not medically qualified and only speaks from experience and good intentions.  Always do your own research.  Always check with trained and professional people before setting out on a course of treatment.  Go see your doctor.

 

 

 


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