What You Don’t Know About Depression Can Kill You

In the wake of my post last week, The Black Hole of Depression, the Huffington Post obligingly published a highly relevant first-person account:

When You’re Depressed, You Can’t Pull Yourself Up by Your Bootstraps

Or as I put it, ” If the problem is that your brain doesn’t work correctly, can you think your way out of that… with your brain?”

Remember, you read it here first :)

A couple of points about the Huff Post column:

1). Not caring about anything as a symptom of depression. “Things that you used to enjoy no longer interest you” is a commonly listed symptom of depression, and was certainly true for the columnist above.

(If you are curious what this might look like, check out the Star Trek: Voyager episode “Extreme Risk” from the 5th season. Oddly, there was another episode during the same season in which yet another crew member grappled with depression. Note that violence therapy, which was presented as the recovery “bootstrap” in both episodes, is NOT a recommended treatment plan!)

Indifference does not occur in everyone with depression, however. It certainly should not be depended upon as an identifying indicator. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, there is no “before” to compare with for people who are chronically depressed (or at least, not one they remember). And some people experience extremes of emotions, rather than no emotions – I certainly did.

2). He felt “overwhelmed.” HSPs are familiar enough with that, for sure! And from his description of what was going on in his life, it seems like a reasonable reaction, right? But the important thing to note is not what he felt, but what it motivated him to do. It didn’t spur him to rethink or delegate, it immobilized him. That’s a perfect example of what I mentioned in Black Hole, about normal “negative” emotions not functioning the way they are supposed to when someone is depressed.

So does feeling too overwhelmed to function mean someone is depressed? Not necessarily. It could mean having unrealistic expectations of our own capacities because we’re HSPs and don’t know it (or men, and can’t admit it!). But if you stay that way, it’s a possibility to consider.

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