D is for Depression

April 4, 2014 at 12:34 pm | Posted in Family, Family History, Health, Mental Health, Ways of Living | 15 Comments
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A2Z-BADGE-000 [2014]

I found this post difficult to start. It is so easy to write about the wonderful things in life, as I have done with my first three A to Z Challenge posts about Dad. But it is much more difficult to write about the difficult things – like depression.

Depression head

So, I will ease into it by defining the word. Look here for a medical definition of Major depression, and here for more about symptoms and advice on Depression and Clinical depression.

If you have read my previous posts about Dad, e.g. this one, you will realise that he didn’t suffer from depression. Indeed, he couldn’t understand it. He saw what it did to Mum and he tried to do what he could to help her, but that is not the same as knowing what it’s about.

For all Mum’s life, little was known about depression, and until the 1970s or so sufferers were still being committed to asylums.


Mild depression may only be due to current circumstances, such as losing a loved one, or your job. When time passes, you get over it or you change your situation.

Clinical depression is not just a matter of feeling ‘blue’, or sad, or ‘down in the dumps’ over an event or circumstance. Clinical, or major depression, can and does interfere with one’s whole life. It can make you feel unloved, unwanted, useless, continually tired and unmotivated to do even the things you love.

I'm useless - depression

It can paralyse you, cause you to withdraw from others – even from those you love and who love you. You can become suicidal, feeling that life is not worth living and the world will be better off without you.

It doesn’t help someone with severe depression to tell them to ‘buck up’ or ‘it’s not that bad’, or ‘it’ll be better tomorrow’.

The medical profession has finally come to realise that depression is not something you can help. It isn’t just an attitude of mind.

We don’t fully know what causes major depression, but there is strong evidence that a variety of genes can cause a pre-disposition – so it can run in families.


On the biochemical side, it may be that neurotransmitters break down; those that affect mood are serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine. Medication can replace these and vastly improve quality of life for sufferers.

Depression does run in my family, from my mother. I don’t know if her parents ever suffered from it, but I don’t think they did. It may have come to Mum from further back in her family.

What I do know is that depression has plagued the lives of myself and all of my siblings to varying degrees. We have all coped with in our own ways. In my case, medication is the only thing that has helped to moderate its effects.

depression1 -from mamamia

In the past, I have been at the stage of taking my own life, but my depression is manageable now to the extent that I am even able to take inspiration from positive people like my father. I used to just envy them and think I was useless, but now I can even emulate them some of the time. I still have my down times, but instead of months, they only last for days, or even hours.

If you don’t suffer from depression, it is hard to understand someone who does. Just realise that they have a medical condition and try to help and support them – don’t put them down.

Depression awareness badge

If you do suffer from depression, there is help available, whether from medication or from support groups like Beyond Blue or The Black Dog Institute, or others in your part of the world.


My dear mother: Agnes Thompson 1920-1994

It is interesting that this photo shows Mum with both a crown-of-thorns (Christ) plant and pretty, scented sweet peas. Life with depression can be like that!


Do you or someone close to you suffer from depression? If so, what are some ways of coping that you know of?


© Linda Visman 04.04.14 (644 words)



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  1. A courageous and sensitive post Linda. Thank you for sharing so openly. It’s this kind of personal sharing that helps people to understand.

  2. It is an insidious illness and robs so many of quality of life. Finding strategies that work for you when you are able and knowing when to allow it to run its course are powerful tools to have identified. Good post 🙂

  3. I do think there’s a chance depression runs in families, Linda. It’s a horrible, sad condition and really needs to be understood more by people. I don’t know that anyone who has never suffered from it really knows how awful it is.

    • What you say is true, Sarah. All we sufferers can do is take what help is available and then work it our for ourselves. All the best.

  4. Thank you so much for your thoughtful and informed post. Sorry to hear you battle with it but it sounds like you are coping well. I have once thought of suicide too but that was when my skin was terrible and I was having trouble coping with it. It is hard for some people to understand!

    • It can be so hard when you are really down, indeed. Glad we are both still around and having productive lives now. All the best. 🙂

  5. I’ve dealt with depression and I do think it’s hard for people to understand. It’s not something you can physically see so it’s hard to understand it’s effect. Great post.

  6. I just finally asked for help. It took me years. Depression affects a lot of people in my family, but rarely talk about it to each other.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • I’m glad you finally asked for help Rebecca. It is often too hard to cope on your own. It is also something that needs to be brought out and discussed. Hope your family can learn to do that.
      Thank you for calling in, and all the best to you.

  7. Hi Linda .. I said I wouldn’t .. but I am commenting again. I’m glad you’ve sorted out what help you need for you … I have a great friend, who goes through phases .. and though we each live on one side of London .. I don’t see it all – but having been blogging .. I pick aspects up .. I’m just thankful I don’t suffer ..

    We are so cruel at times – when we don’t understand or try and comprehend life on the other side (as such)

    Thanks for writing such a great post about it – cheers Hilary

    • Many thanks again Hilary. Once I found the way to get through it, I began to improve, and it is much better now.
      It is difficult for those who do not suffer from it to understand someone who does. I just hope that the growing awareness of the problem will help reduce the stigma attached to it.

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