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we're not alone

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I found this (sourced here http://www.ivillage.com/20-surprising-truths-about-depression/4-a-108174?p=1) and I thought it was kind of interesting - I know oftentimes I will post something that I think is something only I think, only to find that several others know exactly what I'm going through. So I thought I'd post this - just for interest, or perhaps so you don't feel so alone.

:hug: to EVERYONE!

Depression affects more than 19 million Americans, yet it is still misunderstood by many, including some of those who suffer from it. So when a Depression Support community member, legs2001, asked the question, "What is the one thing that surprised you about depression?" the responses from members were overwhelming. The following words from iVillagers help paint a true picture of the stigmas and misconceptions surrounding depression.

I always thought that people who suffered from depression were crazy people on the streets who wandered around talking to themselves all day and wore slippers and bathrobes all the time. When I found out I was just like them, it made me realize that depression doesn't have a face. If you are depressed, it doesn't mean you have to be one of the "forgotten ones." --ewalsh75

The big thing that surprised me about depression is how it could totally knock me off my feet and turn me for a while into something I never thought I'd be. I have always considered myself one of the strongest women I know. I can "handle" anything -- but when depressed, I can handle nothing! I never thought anything could make me feel like that. It showed me how powerful this disease can be. Thankfully I am becoming stronger, but I will never underestimate the disease again. --nobodysdoormat

I had a very sweet guy at one of my jobs tell me that last year he had struggled with depression. He told me that until he went through it he did not get it. That is so true. It may seem odd, but too true. I don't feel anyone gets this until they have faced it. --legs2001

I'd say the most surprising thing that I've learned about dealing with depression is how it can take over your whole life. Before, I thought, Yeah right, depression -- it's just mind over matter. But I've found out that it doesn't matter how positive you are, it totally takes over your whole body, including your mind. --vwtrixie

The one time antidepressants worked for me, I felt normal for the first time since about eight years old. I've spent my whole teenage years and adulthood depressed. It was like the clouds were gone or the sun came up or death stepped away a little farther, and I was strong and safe and ready to do anything. I was so amazed to learn that this was how normal people feel all the time! But the medication started giving me these really bad three-day migraines. So, my taste of paradise? Well, it went away. --karenmrh

I think what has surprised me the most about depression is how easily a good cognitive behavior therapist could help me feel better and different about myself and my life. --cal70

For me, the most surprising thing was the fact that I started second-guessing my decisions and feeling paranoid about things. I am not the most decisive person to begin with, but this is the aspect of depression that drives me the most nuts. I hate wondering if I have made the right decisions in my life, and I hate the fact that when I am feeling depressed I tend to make the wrong decisions, which in turn makes the depression worse. I was also surprised to find that anxiety goes hand in hand with the depression, and that the anxiety attacks were my first clue that depression was there.--cl-tracarts

I think the things that surprised me the most about depression were, first, how many people suffer from it that you would never guess and never know. Second, how sneaky a disease it is. By sneaky, I mean how it often takes little things away from me that I enjoy until one day I wake up not interested in so many things that make me who I am. Now that I know this, I actually keep a mental list of things to watch out for that will tell me depression might be getting its hold on me again, so I don't wake up one day at the bottom. Little things like quitting wearing earrings to work, one of my passions. It is a signal to me that if it starts happening regularly, I need to evaluate my feelings and see my doctor. --savepaws

I was surprised by how much depression has to do with anger and the inability to express it appropriately. I used to perceive a huge gap between what should be and what was, and the size of that gap was the measure of my anger. Since I had been taught in my family of origin that expressing one's anger was wrong, I turned it inward upon myself instead, and became depressed. I've learned that, although I cannot control someone else's anger, I can do something about mine. I've developed a strong faith in a very big concept of God, and I now know that everything happens for a reason. What should be already is, because God is running the show, not me. --lovespirit_nj

What surprised me most was how many people think it's something we can just turn off and on at will. People still tell me that if I just think the right thoughts I'll be fine. Others think I'm feeling like this on purpose. Very few realize it's a chronic health condition, no different from diabetes. If a diabetic thinks the right thoughts, will he or she stop needing insulin? Of course not! Depression is no different. --marykkr

It is so amazingly true that people just don't get it until they go through it. Sometimes, I honestly wish the people around me who have no clue could get a little taste of it. It really is a disease. Part of it may be the way you think or your personality, but I definitely feel that it's often beyond your control, no matter how positive you try to be. --ewm12

What surprised me most about depression was how bloody hard it is to explain! There is no possible way to explain to people what it's like to wake up in the morning and have absolutely NO desire to get out of bed. It also surprised me how it absolutely takes over your entire life. Everything from relationships to your job/school is affected. It's impossible to contain until you get treatment. It's like you're inside a big balloon that's getting blown up, pushing things farther and farther away from you, and the balloon membrane acts like a filter and all you hear is muffled words saying negative things. What a rotten place to be! --cl-silverlightcanada

I think what surprised me most was how it can sneak up on you. I didn't realize for a long time that you can be depressed and not know it. When I was first diagnosed, I took meds for about three months and felt so great. But my therapist was going on maternity leave anyway, so I just stopped everything because I thought I was cured. Well, I had no idea until many months later how deeply I slipped back into depression until I almost lost a good friend and my marriage over it. I went back to both therapy and meds, and am doing so much better. --cl-themadhugger

For me it has to do with my notion of reality. When we're little, we only recognize one reality (our own), and as we age we understand that others have different realities. I guess I've realized that my reality has been and will always be filtered through the lens of depression. My childhood had none of the violence and rottenness that some of you have dealt with, but I was still a very melancholy and painfully shy child. I doubt I would have turned out as "normal" as I have if I hadn't had a perceptive, loving mother and a dad dealing with his own melancholy nature. --mizfinney

What surprised me most about depression is that it is a lifelong illness. The birth of my first child is what triggered my depression. I got treatment shortly after the birth of my second child. At that time, I thought as soon as my children were a little older I'd have an easier time of it. When they become a little more independent and I can take care of myself more, then I'll feel better and can get off my meds. My children are six and seven now. I'm pretty sure that depression is something I will have to be on the lookout for and deal with for the rest of my life. Even if I manage to get off meds someday, I will have to watch for relapses. I'll be able to feel better, but I'll never be cured. --sierradawn

I was surprised at my family for not thinking it was a big deal. My mother blamed the way I was on me and that I was just lazy and didn't want to do anything. When all was said and done and I was in therapy for three years, the doctor invited her to join in with us. She said no because she didn't think it was necessary for her to go. She was being defensive, even though there is no one to blame anymore. But now that it has been so long, no one even asks me if I am okay. They just make believe that it went away. I am surprised at their lack of consideration. --pinlake

The thing that surprised me about being depressed is that it could happen to me. And that it was something that I had for most of my life. But the kicker was how out of control I felt. I felt like I had no control over my emotions. I had one emotion (sadness), but it was the fact that I was empty inside. I cared about nothing and no one. Now I am learning to be "normal" and to feel things the way that others do. --ewa

What surprised me the most was people's perception of it. We all know the famous cases of depression -- people who do extreme things under depression that make the headlines. When I first told my family I had depression, the first thing my mom said was, "You're not seeing one of those 'loony' doctors or taking drugs, are you?" I just couldn't believe how narrow-minded my own parents were. My husband's parents on the other hand saw that I was depressed and encouraged me to seek help. They had no bias whatsoever and saw it for what it was, a medical problem. Why are people so ignorant about it? I am dumbfounded by the number of people who say depressed people on meds are just looking for a "high" or an escape from real life. If they lived one day in my shoes, they wouldn't survive! --littleswissmiss

I was surprised by how depression can, well, surprise you. So many little things and little letdowns all seem to add up, and I never thought my feelings were caused by something bigger. I always blamed them on a fight with a friend, or my period. It took me a long time to realize how much I was missing out on in my life, and how much I had changed. I remember hearing this explanation of depression somewhere: It got me gradually and then suddenly. Depression is a sneaky little bugger. It was like it built up and built up until I finally looked at my life from outside and saw how much different I had become and how many walls I had put up. It was a very scary realization. I was also surprised at how many people suffer from depression. I used to think that I was a special case -- that normal people didn't get depression and something was permanently wrong with me. Now I realize that none of that is true. --goohead05

I didn't realize what depression was, how hard it can hit or how long it can take to snap out of it. I had broken up with my boyfriend of three years and the toll of the loss just destroyed me inside. I have been extremely surprised lately when I think back at how depressed and completely hopeless I really was. You hear the symptoms, but until you really experience them it's almost like a shock when you can openly say, "Yes, I know what that feels like." I was mostly surprised at how much I suffered. A lot of people think depressed individuals are just somber and in a daze, but it is quite the opposite. I suffered from the extreme physical pain of exhaustion, I had major sweat attacks and altogether was in some sort of mental state out of the ordinary. --shordae

I have been battling with depression for most of my life. I've been on several meds, and now on Zoloft I have experienced how it feels to be alive for the first time ever. No one can understand that unless they have walked a mile in my shoes. In the last seven months, depression has taken such a hold on me that I quit working. I'm a single mom. No, I cannot afford it. No, I am not lazy, and no, it doesn't make sense to me either. But all I know is that I got to the point where I could not make myself get up and go to work in the morning, and every time I think about looking for a job, I start to cry and I just cannot handle it. --countrichick

I have been somewhat surprised by the absolute lack of caring that depression can produce in a person. Even when I used to be quite depressed, I still cared about making an A in a class or at least doing the minimum so that people would think highly of me. But since I left college, I have lost even that motivation. I sometimes wonder why I should even get an advanced degree, or why anything I do matters. --rosa444

My biggest surprise about depression is how much people in general do not understand it. As technologically advanced as we are and with so many so-called "intellects" that we have in this day and age, we are so ignorant to the health and well-being of our fellow humans. --izeti

I am surprised by how resilient it is -- how hard it is to make it let go. --susanah2449

I am 53 and suffered my first remembered depression while still in high school. I went for therapy many times over the years. It was not until eight or nine years ago that my general practitioner suggested drugs. I could not believe that drugs could make a difference but went along with him anyway. I was so surprised at the results achieved by taking antidepressants. It is totally unbelievable that the drugs can change the way you feel and handle life. I tell everyone that I take antidepressants now because I know that it is really a brain-chemical thing and not that I am just crazy. It has to be a brain-chemical thing to cause the positive attitude changes that take place. --lwalsh33
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