Note: Everything expressed in this wiki is simply my opinion. In the case of mental health issues my opinion is far from "expert" but my belief is that the experts of mental health are too influenced by out-dated and government-sanctioned theories of psychology to actually address the common factor linking all mental illnesses: late-stage capitalist society. My opinions are biased away from established medical descriptions of all these so-called "disorders" and directed at finding spiritual healing for the common pains we all experience of being born into this confusing, pain-filled world.
- 1 BeyondBlue Summary
- 2 Article Summaries
- 3 Recovery and Transformation
BeyondBlue.org.au characterises the traits of depression into three groups: melancholic, psychotic and pre/post-natal.
The same page also describes seasonal depressive symptoms.
This is the term used to describe a severe form of depression where many of the physical symptoms of depression are present. One of the major changes is that the person starts to move more slowly. They're also more likely to have a depressed mood that is characterised by complete loss of pleasure in everything, or almost everything.
Sometimes people with a depressive disorder can lose touch with reality and experience psychosis. This can involve hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren't there) or delusions (false beliefs that aren't shared by others), such as believing they are bad or evil, or that they're being watched or followed. They can also be paranoid, feeling as though everyone is against them or that they are the cause of illness or bad events occurring around them.
Antenatal and postnatal depression
Women are at an increased risk of depression during pregnancy (known as the antenatal or prenatal period) and in the year following childbirth (known as the postnatal period). You may also come across the term 'perinatal', which describes the period covered by pregnancy and the first year after the baby's birth.
The causes of depression at this time can be complex and are often the result of a combination of factors. In the days immediately following birth, many women experience the 'baby blues' which is a common condition related to hormonal changes and affects up to 80 per cent of women. The 'baby blues', or general stress adjusting to pregnancy and/or a new baby, are common experiences, but are different from depression. Depression is longer lasting and can affect not only the mother, but her relationship with her baby, the child's development, the mother's relationship with her partner and with other members of the family.
Almost 10 per cent of women will experience depression during pregnancy. This increases to 16 per cent in the first three months after having a baby.
SAD is a mood disorder that has a seasonal pattern. The cause of the disorder is unclear, but it's thought to be related to the variation in light exposure in different seasons. It's characterised by mood disturbances (either periods of depression or mania) that begin and end in a particular season. Depression which starts in winter and subsides when the season ends is the most common. It's usually diagnosed after the person has had the same symptoms during winter for a couple of years. People with SAD depression are more likely to experience a lack of energy, sleep too much, overeat, gain weight and crave for carbohydrates. SAD is very rare in Australia and more likely to be found in countries with shorter days and longer periods of darkness, such as in the cold climate areas of the Northern Hemisphere.
What does depression feel like?
"Depression is actually much more complex, nuanced and dark than unhappiness – more like an implosion of self. In a serious state of depression, you become a sort of half-living ghost."
"Making even the smallest decisions can be agonising."
"I am more clumsy and accident-prone. In depression you become, in your head, two-dimensional – like a drawing rather than a living, breathing creature. You cannot conjure your actual personality, which you can remember only vaguely, in a theoretical sense. You live in, or close to, a state of perpetual fear, although you are not sure what it is you are afraid of."
"There is a heavy, leaden feeling in your chest, rather as when someone you love dearly has died; but no one has – except, perhaps, you. You feel acutely alone. It is commonly described as being like viewing the world through a sheet of plate glass."
"Admittedly, severely depressed people can connect only tenuously with reality, but repeated studies have shown that mild to moderate depressives have a more realistic take on life than most “normal” people, a phenomenon known as “depressive realism”. As Neel Burton, author of The Meaning of Madness, put it, this is “the healthy suspicion that modern life has no meaning and that modern society is absurd and alienating”. In a goal-driven, work-oriented culture, this is deeply threatening."
Signs of a Functioning Depressive
Depression is diagnosed with a huge selective bias (naturally) towards people who under-function under psychological stress. For people who tend to over-function, it is not anywhere near as well understood or discussed.
Narcissists experience depression in a very different way to empaths.
Most dangerous is that because of this over-functioning mechanism, it's not unusual for a narcissist to never show any external sign of depression until its already too late and they've permanently hurt themselves or someone they care about. (Ben Hocking fb post).
11 Habits of People With Concealed Depression
"1. They may intentionally make efforts to appear OK and maybe even seem exponentially happy and upbeat. 2. They may have habitual remedies. 3.They may have trouble with abandonment. 5. They may have abnormal sleeping and eating habits. 7. They may exhibit a very involved perception of life and death. 8. They are often uniquely talented and expressive. Many of the most inspired and life-changing artists, musicians, and leaders of this world were also plagued by mental illness. I use the word “plagued” in a contradicting fashion, because having a serious depth of emotions can also lead to profound greatness. People who live with depression that may not be visible to the naked-eye, often express themselves in incredible ways. They are in touch with the good and bad pieces of their souls. They are able to formulate and illustrate beauty through the shadows of the emotions they carry. 9. They are often searching for a purpose. 10. They at some times will release subtle cries for help. 11. They seek love and acceptance, as every person does. Shielding the world from one’s personal demons is not done so for the sake of dishonesty. People who live with depression in a private and undisclosed way do so for protection. This is for the protection of their hearts. This is for the protection of the people around them. the truth is that most depression goes unseen by our human nature. We live in a world that encourages us to hide what is dark and unpleasant. We don’t have to. The most important habit and motivation of those with unseen depression to understand is that they search for love and acceptance. We all do. The only way to gain it is to spread it. Never turn away from a person who seems to be struggling. Love when it’s difficult. Cry when you need to. Reach out when someone closes the door. Open your heart, even if it feels terrifying to do so. If we keep forcing the bad to go unseen, the good will also go unseen."
Recovery and Transformation
In the views of many spiritual faiths, depression and other mental illness is often seen as a conflict of the psyche. No longer satisfied with the course life has taken, our subconscious sabotage's our ego to force us to face the growing gap between who we are and who we truly wish to be.
My experience of depression has been much like a cocoon. It is dark and painful and the experience carries on for so long that it can be easy to forget your life prior to depression and even harder to envision a life afterwards. But this is exactly how the caterpillar most likely feels in its cocoon before it is transformed into a butterfly.
Dark Night of The Soul
The "dark night of the soul" is a concept in such spiritual contexts that describes the deepest and most painful reconciliation between the ego and the subconscious, where the karma of all of the ego's projections and negativity come back to show you the cost of living out of line with your destiny and higher path.
The more that a person has fought against themselves, the darker this experience tends to be. My own dark night of the soul brought me very close to suicide and I was forced to redefine my life and its meaning in order to will myself to keep living.
It is this reformation that gives the dark night it's power. It is capable of transforming the relationship between soul and ego in a way like no other experience, and hence it is a period of intense transformative growth. (See Pluto and Scorpio)
"At the center of Hutson’s piece is Paul Andrews, an evolutionary psychologist at McMaster University in Canada. Andrews argues that depression may be “an adaptation for analyzing complex problems.” He sees it in the condition’s bouquet of symptoms, which include “anhedonia,” or an inability to feel much pleasure; people who are depressed ruminate frequently, often in spirals; and they get more REM sleep, a phase associated with memory consolidation. This reflects an evolutionary design, the argument goes, one that’s to, as Hutson summarizes, “pull us away from the normal pursuits of life and focus us on understanding or solving the one underlying problem that triggered the depressive episode.”