This article is an edited excerpt from a previous post that I wrote in honor of Robin Williams who passed by suicide in August, 2014. It’s hard to believe it’s been almost 4 years since we lost this precious talented soul. It was a lengthy piece so I will share some of it now and the remainder later this month. The idea is to shed some light on depression and gain a deeper understanding of this mental health condition.
Shedding Some Light On Depression
The good news is that over the past 10 years or so, our awareness and treatment options have increased - The bad news is that this medical condition still harbors shame, isolation, and tragic consequences.
Since we are having an open discussion here, I want to start by saying that I speak about the ride of depression and bipolar disorder from personal experience. I was blessed to have found proper treatment during a suicidal episode in my 20’s. Years later, I discovered both yoga & meditation which have considerably eased the moods & symptoms. But one of the most empowering things I’ve found along the way is learning to understand myself and educate the people around me.
Clinical Depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain. Sometimes, it can be triggered by situations (aka situational depression) but clinical depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain. Yes, I said it twice because it’s important to understand. Oftentimes, it is NOT a pull your socks up and keep trudging it will pass kind of situation. During one of my crisis, I was resisting medication and a friend said to me, “If you had diabetes, would you take Insulin?”
Because depression is psychological disorder, we view it differently & we believe that we ought to be able to talk ourselves out of it. In reality it is no different than taking insulin for diabetes. Being a chemical imbalance, it often requires medication to stabilize. That being said, proper treatment also includes ‘therapy’ just like proper treatment for diabetes includes dietary awareness and restrictions. Medications can help prevent a situation from becoming fatal as well as help people to cope with life more effectively. And yes, either circumstance can also be handled without meds.
There are so many treatment options – the key is realizing that in order to heal you must take the first step and seek help. Realize this condition is not your fault. You aren’t meant to live unhappy. Offer yourself the same kindness and compassion that you would to a friend.
The important thing to take away is that mental health does not discriminate, understanding helps our healing, and if you are struggling there are resources available and you are not alone (A great article link is here if you want to read more).
Next Letter I look forward to sharing some insights and info about Bipolar Disorder.
In the meantime, if you need a lift, check out the Shine Again Video here.
May the light of those blessed spirits whom we’ve lost keep shining on at us from above :) May we move forward with understanding & healing for ourselves and those around us.
Love & Light,