I write this soon after the sad and untimely suicide in August 2014, of comedian actor Robbie Williams. He struggled with major depression and was attributed with the telling quote: “I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel all alone.” Loneliness can trigger depression and paradoxically, people in crowded cities often feel feel more loneliness than those in small towns. It is also well known that suicide rates go up after the glitter of Christmas and New Year has faded.
I had forgotten how easily it could be triggered… All was well, I was discussing a favourite topic, when unexpectedly, someone close to me, criticised, and cut me off in mid sentence. “Down I slide, down the slippery slopes of sadness, into the ever present chasm and the darkness below.” A moment of unkindness, a feeling of loneliness, or even no triggers at all, as when I awaken on a sunny morning, within the “the dark cloud.” I have over the years come to realise that external factors are not to blame. The cause arises totally within my own psyche. Fortunately the cure also lies there too.
I’ve had it intermittently, throughout my adult life. Usually I’ve coped, encouraged that it will eventually pass, and at times even “welcomed it as an old friend.” The passing of time has made it more difficult to “keep out the beast,” but fortunately my strategies for coping have improved. One thing I’ve tried to avoid, is pass this burden onto others. Not only is it unkind but I realised that projecting my misery onto others would only help perpetuate it within myself.
Throughout the ages depression has afflicted many, including those of of high stature; Ludwig Von Beethoven, Charles Dickens, Marlon Brando, Ernest Hemingway, Princess Diana, to name a few. Winston Churchill called it his “Black Dog.” (Interestingly in my case it has often manifested in a re-occurring nightmare, wherein I was persuaded by an amorphous black animal. According to the wife, I would wake up howling like a dog!:)
Depression has become a modern day epidemic, fortunately there are numerous strategies for living with, and curing depression.
Treatment Approaches include:
Cognitive Therapy: This shows much promise and is improving upon drug therapies and avoiding the drug side effects. More on Cognitive therapy and review of David Burns excellent book “Feeling Good – The New Mood Therapy” can be found HERE
Medication: Use of various anti-depressants such as Prozac, Venafaxine, Buspirone
On a lighter note take a look at: https://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/01/22/10-good-things-about-depression/