I have suffered from depression ever since, as a seven year old, I made my first suicide attempt. I was diagnosed with depression and put on antidepressants a few times over the years but I could never handle the side effects so I always went off them after just a few weeks.
My theory of depression (see My Theory About Depression for more detail) is that there are four main causes of depression.
- Physical depression – a chemical imbalance in the brain and the most well known kind of depression.
- Situational depression – being in a depressing situation for long enough to be depressed by it.
- Learned depression – growing up with someone who suffers from serious depression and from whom you learned to think, and even live, like a depressed person.
- Traumatic depression – being exposed to trauma that causes a depressed view of life, the world, and other people. This usually happens in childhood.
I have suffered from all four types of depression for most of my life along with anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and poor self-esteem.
For most of my life I refused to seek help for any of these issues because I did not believe anyone could help me. In 2007 I finally realized I needed to get some help (see Help Seeking) and I finally committed to getting myself treated.
I saw a counsellor and took antidepressants for about a year or so and the dual treatment worked. The cloud lifted.
Since then I have been free from the worst symptoms of the PTSD, anxiety and depression but there is a lingering residue. I still think like a depressed person at times. I tend to jump to negative conclusions or expect the worst sometimes. Not always. When I was depressed it was always but these days it is just occasionally.
I kind of live like a depressed person if I’m honest but I don’t believe it’s because I’m depressed.
I don’t believe in love any more, for example, so I have closed the door on that aspect of life. I’m done with love to the point where I don’t even want it any more. My kids love me and that’s enough for me. I don’t think that’s caused by depression.
I think it’s caused by an ability to weigh up the pros and cons and accept reality. The reality is I can’t be bothered putting in the effort it would take to make a relationship work. I’ve been there, done that, and it wasn’t worth the effort! I like having the bed to myself and I don’t want to share any more.
I just don’t find anyone attractive any more either. The kind of man I find attractive has not changed from when I was about 20 years old. I have always fancied men who are between 20 to 40 with shoulder length hair, a good body, and a lot of self-assurance. The trouble is they are no longer suitable for me. They are just babies and I could never mess with a baby for fear I would ruin his life. I still find them attractive but now it’s more like admiring a work of art than anything else.
The men I find attractive are 20 years younger than me now and they need to be looking for someone to settle down with and have children with. I’ve been there, done that, moved on and don’t want to go back.
Someone my own age is someone who, like me, probably already has, or soon will have, health issues. I can’t stomach my own health issues let alone put up with a sick man from my own age group who would expect me to take care of him!
The time for love is over and I missed out. Too bad, so sad, but I’m OK with being alone for the rest of my life.
I don’t have a lot of faith in the ability of a man to give me the sort of love I want anyway which is another reason I’m not interested in even trying any more.
Honesty and faithfulness seem to be rare qualities and getting rarer these days. The odds of finding both those qualities in someone I find attractive are slim. The odds of such a person being someone who finds me attractive in return are so slim you might as well say there is no chance at all.
I’m not interested in anything less but I don’t believe the cause of that is depression. It’s about knowing what I’m worth and being unwilling to compromise and settle for anything less even though I live in the kind of world that does not assign much romantic value to a woman of my age or size so there’s no chance of getting what I’m worth.
I am not interested in wasting time trying to get what I can’t have and I think that’s a good thing. I really don’t think I am still suffering from depression even though it might seem like it.
Another mental health condition I’ve suffered from all my life is anxiety and the counselling I had for depression also successfully addressed my anxiety.
I haven’t suffered any more from that than the average person for a long time now. I will get anxious if something comes up that anyone would get anxious about, like being made redundant, but I no longer suffer from the constant low grade chronic anxiety that used to make me to look for trouble all the time and go into crisis whenever there was even a miniscule hint or possibility that trouble might be headed my way.
I’m pretty stable these days, praise God, so I’d say all is well in the mental health department although there are many who might disagree.
I still believe I can talk to God and I still believe God talks to me.
Anyone who does not believe in God is bound to think someone who thinks she can communicate with Him has a few screws loose.
On the other hand – I think anyone who would choose to live without the love of God is crazy!