There’s lots of talk now a days about depression and particularly noticeable is the mention of it in all the world wide economies. If I am cynical, I think this is probably because it has been shown to be one of the illnesses which cause the most absence from work and therefore it is in the respective government’s interests to reverse the upward trend in this global disease.
Whether this is real or not remains to be seen – is it more widely diagnosed now? Is it more medicalised or is it simply because the people of this world are uniquely more unhappy? Whatever the answer, which I suspect is a ‘yes’ to all three, it is a very individual illness. By that I mean that it is not just a linear measure of severity, but also the way each sufferer responds to the symptoms and the way each individual experiences the very same symptoms.
I speak very personally, as a survivor of a very serious form of the condition, severe chronic resistant depression, where I endured a continual seven year episode, spending most of the time in hospital and being treated with talking therapies, many different pharmaceutical recipes and physical therapies. Not only did I have multiple courses of ECT (electroconvulsive therapy), but as a last resort I had brain surgery, which turned out to be highly effective and led to my miraculous recovery.
Fortunately most people who suffer with depression are as the ‘walking wounded’; unable to carry on their normal lives as usual, but not so severe that they end up in hospital. The world has dealt with these people variously with great empathy or horrendous cruelty depending on culture, history and stigma and often depending upon the religion of the community within which the suffering occurs. Today bringing this condition to the fore, represents the hope of reproducing some of the better care, such as warmth, music, talking, love and acceptance as well as the medical advances which have meant those with more severe forms of the illness can benefit.
Cathy is a published writer, and her latest book “Thorn in my Mind” can be bought on Amazon and Christian bookshops.