Monday, January 4, 2010

Last Thoughts on Depression (for now)

I've finally finished "Comfortably Numb" and had to share this quote... it's pretty funny but also has a lot of truth to it:

"As Percy says in Lost in the Cosmos:
Assume that you are quite right [to be depressed]. You are depressed because you have every reason to be depressed. No member of the other two million species which inhabit the earth - and who are luckily exempt from depression- would fail to be depressed if it lived the life you lead. You live in a deranged age-more deranged than usual, because despite great scientific and technolgical advances, man has not the faintest idea of who he is or what he is doing... Consider the only adults who are never depressed: chuckleheads, California surfers, and fundamentalist Christians who believe they have had a personal encounter with Jesus and are saved once and for all."

I also love the following questions that the author poses at the end of the book:

"Which way will we go for our emotional rescue? Which way will we turn? Will we continue our reckless ingesting of drugs, our simplistic explanations of human behavior?
Or will we, with an open mind, heed the lessons from a century of research on psychotherapy and motivation and what enhances people's prospects for change? Will we accept that illness and suffering are part of humanity, and that understanding that only helps us to overcome that suffering? Will we comprehend that change comes slowly and through hard work?
Will we see that progress, when it comes, usually comes slowly, contrary to our preference?"

I loved reading the author's perspective on depression and the history of how humans have treated it. It's been fascinating to learn of the different treatments that have been tried, and those that have proven to be of real worth. I'd have to agree with him that medications have their place in some people's treatment, but for most people getting better will take a lot of hard work, social interaction, the right therapy (especially cognitive behavioral therapy) and the acceptance that if you're human- you're going to be depressed sometimes. It's a normal, natural part of living on this earth. We just need to be careful not to get stuck in the rut of depression.

I have to admire those who are working one on one with those hit hardest by depression and other mental illnesses, and I'm grateful for the research that's being done out in the field. Too bad a lot of the treatments of most worth often receive the least amount of attention as we opt for the "easy" fix.


Cassie said...

I just wanted to say that I really have enjoyed your post lately on this subject. I just haven't been able to write a comment that seems coherent.

I think I would enjoy this book, maybe if I ever get in the mood to read again I'll read it. I'm hoping it soon though.

The strange thing I found was the time I was the most depressed was when I felt I had the closest relationship with God. Weird I know. I still don't understand it maybe it was just something I had to go thru.

I really got a kick out of the last post. You know it always feels like you are the only one to suffer so in the entire world. It's horrible isn't it ;)

chelle said...

I think part of my problem right now is depression. I don't want to talk to anyone or go anywhere where people are. I am fine with my family...but anyone else, I'd rather stay home. =\
I am fighting the urge to go back on medication because, I really don't think it works all that well. (at least for me)
Thanks for sharing. I may have to check these two books out!