Something I don’t hear a lot of discussion on is sadness vs depression. You’d think in a country where they dispense anti-depressants like tic-tacs that more people would be concerned about the real problem. Oh, wait, never mind. There is no real interest in the problem, only income generating solutions.
Here’s my take. Sadness happens where there is a reason. When my cat died last year, I was sad. (Ok, I’m still sad…) There was a reason. When your grandpa dies, you move across country, break up with a friend, all those things are genuine, external reasons to be sad.
We don’t take enough time to be sad. It’s an important emotion, to recognize a loss and a change to your environment. We’re encouraged to ‘cheer up’ much too quickly in my opinion. Some times things are just sad, and we should be ok feeling our feelings. But that isn’t encouraged.
Depression, in my personal lexicon, is something completely different. Depression has no particular ‘reason’. Nothing is interesting, nothing is important, nothing really matters…it’s all just too much trouble for words, but there is no reason. It just is. And if it just is, then the chances are excellent that it is chemical, not situational.
The next question becomes, how to fix it. If you’re sad, then there isn’t really anything to be fixed, and only time will help. If you’re depressed, you can go to the doctor and get the candy-solution of the week. Or, you can look at your diet, and check your thyroid, and look into nutritional deficiencies…
I think we make a big mistake in most of health care by treating the symptom rather than the problem. I’ve spent most of the last 2 years being either or both, sad or depressed. That’s why I made a study of the difference. If you read my post about happiness this spring you’ll note that I mention T1 and T2 as part of the thyroid treatment I’m getting. This week when I started feeling depressed again, I looked at my treatment and thought about what could have changed. This week, I think I haven’t been taking enough cortisol, so I’m not absorbing enough thyroid properly, so I’m not generating the chemicals I need.
I think it’s really, really important to understand the differences here. I truly believe that depression is a huge problem, but it’s a problem that we could actually fix, if only we stopped worrying quite so much about the symptoms and thought through to the cause. Sure, serotonin uptake is the ’cause’, but what causes the trouble with serotonin in the first place? Why aren’t we looking past the broken spot to figure out why it broke in the first place?
Why don’t we think things through any more?