I was walking around the back of the gorilla exhibit at the zoo and saw this excellent lowland gorilla out of the corner of my eye and it really looked like exactly how I feel some days!
That made me look differently at all my photos when I got home from the zoo. I’ve put together a few pictures that look like how depression feels, at least to me.
Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo
Apologies to the gorgeous animals that made my day at the zoo so awesome for afflicting them with depressive characteristics!
Perspective is an interesting thing I’ve found. It can make all the difference. It can shade anything black or white into shades of grey. It can confuse things, complicate things, and completely change things.
A lot of work that I’ve done with my psychologist is around perspective, or the way I view the world, and trying to change that for the better to improve my mental health.
Identifying when our perspective is blacker or darker or sadder or angrier or bleaker or “more depressed” is step one to changing perspective. It’s interesting to me to see how a thought can change perspective on a larger part of life.
Seeing this gorilla, who is probably in fact happy and satisfied and just mulling gently on life, from my perspective as grumpy and sad and depressed, led on to thinking about my whole experience in a difference, “more depressed” light. I’m sure none of these animals are really depressed; it was just an exercise to demonstrate perspective (and gave me an excuse to share all my great animal shots!).
If I can notice this negative perspective and stop it in it’s tracks, that’s a great step. If I can then take away the negative glasses and see events in a neutral way that is a second and bigger step. If I can overlay the whole experience with a positive vibe, that is the third and greatest step of all! And it’s with these steps that depression can be beaten!
A big claim!! And it comes with a catch. It’s HARD!! It takes effort, motivation, concentration, self awareness, insight, persistence, energy. And these are the things that depression takes away. So that’s a complication right there.
This is why depression is attacked with a multi-modal approach.
One: medications to increase serotonin, reverse some of the effects of depression, and bump up the energy, motivation and effort.
Two: psychologist or counsellor help to identify negative thought processes and find ways to change them
Three: self help – learning all you can about your condition so that you can find ways to help yourself. And being willing to do these things!
Some people don’t like the idea of medication. Maybe they’ve had a bad experience, maybe they’ve had side effects, maybe they have misconceptions, maybe someone has told them something that has put them off. Interestingly people believe talk amongst themselves more than doctors; even though it’s illogical.
All I know is, without medication I would not be anywhere near as good as I am today. Without it, I was a sobbing blob on the floor, unable to move, do anything, see anything but pain and blackness.
And without the medication, everything is so much harder. Because you are fighting an uphill battle against your own self. Against a state of demotivation, lack of energy, unable to enjoy things, difficulty concentrating, sadness and pain that is serotonin deficiency.
Adding in the missing serotonin is so logical and such a necessary step in getting a person back on track. It’s helps so much, gives you such a boost along the path to recovery. Without it I can’t fight the depression. I can’t get up, go out, live life, work, shop, shower, do my daily tasks. Even with a massive dose of it I struggle sometimes, mainly due to swinging moods. That’s a whole other thing.
Serotonin replacement, or anti-depressants give the needed ingredients for me to make somewhere better in my head for my life to live. They enable me, help me, boost me, push me and give me the strength to help myself. To help me change my perspective, to improve my mental health, to make a better life. Here’s to it!!