Day 9: Let’s all be depressed!

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I am going to tell you today the story of my depression and the on going romance with it.

Before that I just wanna say that I studied some Java and some Tensors today. Had a good day at the gym. Though I am beginning very friendly with the guys there, with the rather unwanted consequence that I waste a lot of time fooling around and chatting. But atleast, it’s going somewhere.

To begin with, I am not chronically depressed – that is, I do not spend all my time brooding in a state of perennial grief or isolation. My original nature (by which I mean my most persistent and the one that feel the most natural state of mind) is that of a gregarious person. I  enjoy all the activities that normal people normally enjoy – and look forward to it. But I am only 24 now – and I, like most people my age, undergo several growth processes and my own attitudes towards a lot of things have changed over the course of my time.

I have had two periods of significant depression: one in 2007 summer and the other in the summer of 2011. The peak portion of both these cases lasted a little over a month, though in retrospect there was a much longer period where I could say that I was beginning to be unhappy and obsessed. These are times when I would say that I was slipping into depression. They may have lasted anywhere from four to six months. Now. I’m not quite sure if this can be generalized, but in both the instances, my recovery from these period were sudden and abrupt. I would say that depression lifted over a period of few days when I returned to complete normalcy. I did take medication during both the time, but myself and my doctors cannot find any substantial correlation between the intake of medicine and lifting of depression – I have continued with my depression for months while on medication and there have been no changes in my medicine pattern while the depression lifted. I hold that more than the medicine itself, it has been exogenic/endogenic factors that have contributed. Let’s proceed step by step.

What is depression?

As far as I am concerned, depression is a period during which you are persistently unhappy. More importantly, you cannot bring yourself to do any of the things that you used to enjoy and this period is characterized as being largely brooding, lost in thoughts – with a tendency to run away from society and your friends that you usually enjoy. Further, You can always be anxious, with increased heart rate and blood pressure – loss of appetite and subsequent weight loss. For me, my cigarette intake peaked during periods of depression often reaching a pack a day.

Thomas Kuhn once described depression (he was a major depressomac) as a “real – spatial entity”. This is such a profoundly concrete representation. We feel happy, we feel sad. But these are temporary states and they feel transient even to ourselves. We are very well aware when we are happy that the feeling will pass – thus, these are fleeting emotions. Even grief, like what we feel when we flunk a paper or lose a loved one, tend to wax and wane – and can one day be expected to disappear. They are not debilitating. While being ecstatic at the patriots winning the super bowl and cheering with everyone else, we can still be aware of the gloom of having to go to work in the morning tomorrow, or remember at the back of your mind that you have larger issues – like a painful break up or a dying father – that you are temporarily postponing from thinking about now. Happiness of grief does not take possession of us – and expect fools and addicts, no one expects them to last either.

I think, what Kuhn meant by his statement is that depression is very real – it’s so vivid, it’s impact so deep that it’s almost tangible. For me, it is like having a really painful tumor – but only worse. It erodes away all happiness and does so by convincing you that there is no escape!

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