Monday, April 12, 2010


Me and my dog Shag

As some of you know, I haven't been feeling well. Some of it is from the hepatitis C and cirrhosis. Some of it recently is from a common illness called depression.

Because of various symptoms, I figured I'd better get in to see my doctor. I told her what was going on; she said that I had signs of clinical depression. She gave me a prescription for Lexapro. Ten mg 1x/day.

This happened once before a couple of years ago. I figured it was because my teenage son was giving me so much grief. The doctor wrote a prescription for Lexapro at that time, too. It worked fine to get my seratonin levels back up where they should be.

My son moved out last fall. I went off the Lexapro under my doctor's supervision. Everything was fine until a couple of months ago when something triggered a relapse.

What are the symptoms of depression? In my own case, the main thing is that I couldn't stop crying. It got so I was crying almost nonstop day and night. The only time it was better was when I was around other people. I'm thankful for all my political friends and all the debates, forums, conventions and meet and greets that I'm going to. It really does help to be with others.

Besides crying and a deep senes of sadness, I felt a knot in my solar plexus. I still have all these symptoms, but I can tell they are getting a bit better. I've been taking Lexapro for 3 days now. It takes between two weeks and a month for it to kick in thoroughly.

Another symptom I felt was intense reactions to my own feelings. Each one was blown up about ten times. These lead to sad thoughts and then more tears.

One symptom many feel when suffering from this malady is thoughts of suicide. I thought about it but not too seriously. I believe that this is the game of Life and suicide is cheating. I never was one to cheat at games, not even when I was a kid playing board games. I felt a deep sense of outrage when people cheated. I still do.

If feelings of emptiness and despair overtake you and won't go away, you may be exhibiting signs of depression. Please make an appointment with your doctor. If you have clinical depression, there is an easy solution. Antidepressant medications will get you feeling yourself again within a month. You may also want to consider talk therapy. Studies show that a combination of antidepressants and talk therapy works wonders.

Depression is more than just the temporary blues. The lows of depression make it tough to function and enjoy life like you once did. Hobbies and friends don't interest you like they used to; you're exhausted all the time; and just getting through the day can be overwhelming. When you're depressed, things may feel hopeless.

Some people describe depression as living in a black hole or having a feeling of impending doom. Others don't feel sad at all. Instead, they feel lifeless, empty, and apathetic.

Whatever the symptoms, depression is different from normal sadness in that it engulfs your day-to-day life, interfering with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep, and have fun. The feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness are intense and unrelenting, with little, if any, relief. There are different levels of this. One can have mild depression or severe depression.

If you identify with several of the following signs and symptoms, and they just won't go away, you may be suffering from clinical depression.

*you can't sleep or you sleep too much
*you can't concentrate or find that previously easy tasks are now difficult
*you feel hopeless and helpless
*you can't control your negative thoughts, no matter how much you try
*you have lost your appetite or you can't stop eating
*you are much more irritable and short-tempered than usual
*you have thoughts that life is not worth living (Seek help immediately if this is the case)

Someone who is clinically depressed may not have all of these symptoms. If you have one or more, see you doctor as soon as possible.

Here's a helpful website that tells you almost everything you need to know about depression.

If you've been diagnosed with depression, is your life over? Of course not. If you have any disease, you probably take a pill for it. Depression is no different. It's just a tool to get your body working right again.

Does depression still carry a stigma in our society? I believe that sometimes it does. It needs to be talked about more. I knew there was a reason I'm going through all this. Let's bring it out into the open. I know there are lots of us who are dealing with this malady. Feel free to comment if you like.

As for the political end of it, let's make sure that we all treat each other according to the reNEW MN vision. All are included; no one is excluded. We're all in this together. We may have different things we have to deal with, but we're all trying to get through life as best we can.


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