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Abriee Abriee 36-40, F 32 Answers Aug 22, 2008

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My experience with it is that depression is, by its own definition, difficult to understand. Coupled together with the fact that medical technology in this field is still at the level of chemical analysis (such as balancing chemical equations without being able to actually see the atoms at work) and not to a point where it can actually measure the quantity of the components in the brain that the drugs are designed to manipulate, there isn't a lot of 'solidness' that can be given to the definition of depression. This is further complicated by the complexities of the human brain, in general. <br />
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We (at least us in the US - this probably goes for other parts of the world, but I can't speak to whether it really does or not) -- are very much a 'I'll believe it when I see it', kind of society, and the only thing that can be 'seen' of depression right now are its symptoms. And the symptoms themselves are far-reaching, complex, and scary.<br />
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Society frowns upon people with depression because it frowns on things it doesn't understand, and those people happen to represent something that can't be understood. Depression can be scary. No one ever wants to think that it could happen to them, and thus, no one really wants to learn about it. And even when one does, as happens when a loved one falls under its blanket, what kind of information do they have at its disposal? Basically something that amounts to 'Depression has been clinically proven to be a wide spread ailment, but the cause and effects are not fully understood. Your best case option is to speand a lot of money, meeting with a psychiatrist that will prescribe medications that will make it difficult for you to tell exactly what you are feeling, and a psychologist / psychotherapist that will try to understand what you are feeling through the adjustments of the medication. If you are lucky, there will be people before you that the medication 'worked' for, and they will be able to set you up with some kind of cocktail that will mostly make things better, rather than worse. If you are unlucky, you will be among that small percentage that no reasonable drug combination works for, and in that case, there is shock-therapy, which may carry rather longterm lethal ramifications. (As far as I know, it's not known whether or not it does.)<br />
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It's not a pretty picture. Nor is it an easy picture to digest. And then there are cases, like me, that turn everything we know about depression on its side:<br />
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I was rather morbidly depressed for a period of ten years. Finally, my spouse decided she couldn't handle living with me any longer, and filed for a divorce. In a (rather) blind panic concerning my survival, I quit every medication that I had and joined a church hoping for a miracle. At the time it happened, I was (sometimes) working 10-15 hours a week, and just couldn't stand being out in public at all.<br />
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I now work a 40 hour a week job and a contracting job on the side. I attend public events in order to socialize and meet new people. Life has never been better for me. I give little thought to depression because I just don't have dark spells like I used to. I think some would term my experience 'situational depression' thinking that the marriage just wasn't working out for me. Some might be tempted to attribute my recovery to seeking faith. I'm sure others might even swear that I never had 'real' depression.<br />
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... but therein lies the rub: What makes depression 'real' depression versus something less deserving of attention? For 10 years, it was the most solid barrier in my life. Now, I have difficulty conceiving what it used to be like. Even if we conceive that yes, my depression must have been real, what does it mean to the medical community that I just up and recovered, dramatically and suddenly, without the aid of medication? Does it mean that we should dramatically alter our lives at a time when we are so downtrodden as to believe that there is no way we could ever possibly survive in the harsh real world? Not particularly. As I understand it, I'm an anomoly. None of my experience is particularly beneficial to anyone else that currently suffers.<br />
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Understand that I am not advocating going against doctors' orders and not taking prescribed medication. That's not even how I did it. The way it worked out for me, I told my doctor that I was losing the ability to pay for medication, so I needed to come off of it in a stable manner, and he worked me off of the dosages I was on. I am not saying that depression is not a serious condition. It most certainly is. I'm not advocating joining random churches looking for faith healing.<br />
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I'm just a guy that was depressed, that isn't any longer, making a report on how it happened for him. As I understand it, those that were officially diagnosed with the disease are assumed to never be without it. But one thing I learned during this experience is that the mind is a powerful influence on mood, so I will be seeding the thought that I am cured, in favor of the thought that I am currently just not experiencing it, because I have much more to gain from the former thought than the latter.<br />
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One thing is certain, to me now, however. I learned more about depression than I ever wanted to know.

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I must take a different position on this one. In today's society, there are many more people with mental illnesses than you are giving credit to. It almost seems like NOT having a mental illness is becoming quite rare.<br />
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There are reasons for this - societal, environmental, etc. But, in today's society, the understanding of mental illness itself causes more problems, rather than helping the mentally ill.<br />
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Think about it - how many rich celebrities don't have some mental illness? How many politicians would you bet money on to be mentally healthy? Teachers? Police officers? The list goes on. In fact, the list is so long, the U.S. government can't even begin to deal with mental illness in any comprehensive manner, so it doesn't try. The mental illness "crisis" right now is far worse then drug use in the 1980's, but you don't see the government proclaiming a "War on Mental Illness" do you?<br />
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The fact is, being mentally ill is becoming normal and nobody really knows what to do about it. By ignoring this, the government (and other "responsible" parties) can avoid doing what is needed to help us. It's not that others don't understand what it feels like to be mentally ill, they just don't understand how to "fix" it. Much of society is mentally ill, but by stigmatizing others for it, it helps them to hide their own illnesses. It just makes them feel better to think they are better than other people, out of reach for such a troublesome illness, when really, they are just as screwed up as the rest of us.<br />
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Also, think about this - as painful as it is, mental illness is almost necessary to be a true genius - Einstein, Dickinson...just to name a few. This is scary to them. We may take over the world!

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Because they don't understand depression and or other mental illness. What people don't understand they tend to be afraid of. <br />
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Shai

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I have seen more than one person with depression. My experience is that when you look such a person straight in the eyes, you see some kind of depth which is frightening. You see a soul that's unvoluntarily closed up behind something untouchable. You see numbness, often no ex<x>pression at all, but behind that there is something that longs to be free. It's not comfortable to see such people. They pierce your soul. Their struggle can sometimes even be partly recognizable. All of that is not a combination most people want to get close to.

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For alot of reasons:fear, lack of understanding, intolerance for people they see as weak or inferior,alot of times people think its all in our heads and if we would just say were ok then the illness will go away, sometimes mental illness get in the way of societies goals. People seem to think we choose to be mentally ill and then some people think its not real because you cant do surgery on it or give it stiches. There are probably more reasons out there than actual mental illnesses.

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Because they've never been affected by it - either personally or through loved ones. They are ignorant of the facts - they feel depression is a choice - a light you can just turn off if you want to.

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Never Been effected by it and ignorant to the facts you got it trustnoone77

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I think that one reason is because they don't fully understand. They don't see firsthand the sibling who shuts you totally out of their life because they are so depressed they can't cope. They don't see what the person with the mental illness is going through and how they struggle day to day to be normal. When you have a physical ailment the proof is there more so than with a mental one. You can see a broken leg. You can see the immense weight loss with cancer. You can hear the cough. You can feel the fever. However you aren't able to touch, hear, or a lot of times see mental illness. People forget about it and/or want to sweep it under the rug. My sister is bi-polar, a self mutilator (cutter) and mentally ill. I have lived with that for many years. I love her with everything that is in me although if you would ask her she would say that she hates me with everything that is in her. (partly because I forced her into treatment.) It hurts me when people refer to her as "psycho" "crazy" etc. She is none of these things and sometimes I just want to shake the persons and say "look jacka$$ she has an illness. Wake up and learn and I pray that no one in your family ever has to go through it. "

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I'm so sorry. I'm bi-polar and the one of the worst parts for me when I wasn't able to manage it like I can now is what it did to my family. I hope one day soon your sister can learn to manage her moods and realize that you just wanted to help.

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i think society looks at it like u are weak and it's all in your imagination or something. the brain is an organ, just like the heart or liver. when something goes wrong with one of them,u don't hesitate to seek help and it should be looked at the same way when u have a mental illness. it's very real.

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It's because they don't understand it. In fact, reading some of these comments here of people who supposedly understand highlights this. Depression is not "being down once in a while", and I feel that in todays society people are more likely to seek medical help for simply "feeling down" or when they have had a bad day. People who suffer from depression will understand what I mean when I say, it is not simply "feeling bad".<br />
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Clinical depression is a debilitating mood disorder. It does not go away from simply "thinking happy thoughts" like some people seem to suggest. I'm sorry to say, it just won't. It is not "feeling bad once in a while", it is feeling helpless, unable to enjoy the majority of things you used to enjoy, and inability to be happy in every day life, an overwhelming urge to break down, withdraw, cry, and/or a sudden and sustained loss of motivation that seems to come out of nowhere and stays with you, and not just once or twice, but seemingly every day, for months, years, and it is difficult for anyone who has not been through it to understand.<br />
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It should not be frowned on by society, people should be more willing to understand, it is clearly an illness. However I do believe that people should be more restrained about seeking medical help until they are sure that they need it. It is not simply a low mood and people need to understand that.

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Perhaps because the depressed or mentally ill find it difficult to clearly communicate what they are going through. As other people cannot understand them, they cannot empathise with them. Depression and mental illness can be severely debilitating and those suffering from these conditions may find it impossible to hold down a job. Society then, may frown upon those people because they view them as non-contributors to the functioning of society.

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Well i feel like people who have never had to deal with depression can't understand how painful it really is. It is not something you have control over. It can hit you at any given time for no reason at all. And i feel that people view people with depression and mental illness as not whole human beings but defective and that scares them. It is as if they think they might catch it if they get to close. So they shun what they don't understand.

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society as a whole does not understand mental Illnesses. thanks to sterotyping by movies and talk show hosts mental illness is not understood it is looked upon as if it is a debilitating disease. MOST people tend to see mental illness as retardation, slobbering and unable to speak in a clear manner.<br />
There are many organizations to repute the publics distaste. NAMI( National Alliancefor the Mentally Ill) has some unique programs for families, friends and people who care, as well as programs for teh person with a mental illness

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Because not enough people have purchased and read Invisible Driving by Alistair McHarg, available from Amazon.com. This spellbinding memoir of Manic Depression actually takes readers inside a Manic episode while providing a thoughtful context for understanding it. It demystifies Bipolar Disorder in a highly entertaining and completely original fashion.

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People do not try to understand others with this illness. This is a Society were most people seek Perfection. People don't want to talk about it, much less let anyone know, you have a Family member with these problems. They don't realize that this can Happen to them at anytime. A Teacher of mine once told his students, that Mental Illness and Physical Illness are alike in that they are both Illnesses. Your Friend Always, Shorty

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people think we are felling sorry for our self, and for them it is clearly a choice not a ILLNESS.<br />
I have the Illness and they can not imagine what it takes to just get throug the day.

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Because they are led to believe that we have control over these things and that it isn't related to any biological or chemical imbalance. <br />
Most people don't want to admit to being depressed for fear of being called weak or just lazy...

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I think people fear what they do not know. I also think people with mental illness challenge people without. People without mental illness think they have to walk on eggshells around us. We frustrate them so it is easier for them to walk away so they can keep their wits about them than to be our friend. Not everyone with mental illness copes really well with it. It's hard because conventional means don't readily briong solutions. For some forms of mental ilness recovery or just learning to manage takes years. In ignorance they compare us to people who hae committed horrible crimes. A dear friend of mine just got fired from his job because he is mentally ill. This shocked me. I really wish the world didn't work like that. I feel I have just as much of a right to be here as anyone else. It can impede efforts toward gainful employment and it causes some of us to have to go on disability. Some people say that there is nothing wrong with us therefore we have no right to it. Some look down on us and say that we're not as good as everyone else. But I can tell you for a fact you can be mentally ill regardless of your stature and education level.

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That is crazy! and illegal. Please tell me this friend sued...

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i think its just fear of the unknown, its really hard for someone without mental illness to identify with it and its not something they wish to become. It also destroys the illusion of the perfect world!

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i think its just fear of the unknown, its really hard for someone without mental illness to identify with it and its not something they wish to become. It also destroys the illusion of the perfect world!

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I find it interesting that everyone who has answered so far has only spoken of depression, when the question was about depression "and other mental illnessess". <br />
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People often think the mentally ill are weak, lazy, or out for attention. When they know someone really is mentally ill, though, it scares them. It is scary, you know. Having a mental illness, or even to think of having one.

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