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a few quick notes on depression


--  About 7% (20 million people) currently suffer from depression in the U.S.

--  About 15% (55 million people) of the population will suffer from depression at some time during their life.

--  Clinical depression is not a temporary case of the "blues."  People with depression may experience recurrent episodes of depression that can last anywhere from a few hours to a few months.

From William Stryon’s “DARKNESS VISIBLE”:


“...Depression is a disorder of mood, so mysteriously painful and elusive in the way it becomes known to the self—the mediating intellect—as to verge close to being beyond description.  It thus remains nearly incomprehensible to those who have not experienced it in its extreme mode, although the gloom, ‘the blues’ which people go through occasionally and associate with the general hassle of everyday existence are of such prevalence that they do give many individuals a hint of the illness in its catastrophic form...”


“...Such incomprehension of this ancient affliction has usually been due not to a failure of sympathy but to the basic inability of healthy people to imagine a form of torment so alien to everyday experience.  For myself the pain sis most closely connected to drowning or suffocation—but even these images are off the mark...”




a depressive disorder is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts. It affects the way a person eats and sleeps, the way one feels about oneself, and the way one thinks about things. A depressive disorder is not the same as a passing blue mood. It is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be willed or wished away. People with a depressive illness cannot merely "pull themselves together" and get better. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years. Appropriate treatment, however, can help most people who suffer from depression.




a psychoneurotic or psychotic disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies









my thoughts:


a sledgehammer-like paralyzing sadness which includes an unrealistic self view—and a broken perception brought on by a fabric of issues... manifested in biological inadequacies...i personally don’t think anything is caused by any one thing...

how do you know if you have depression?

Depression is present if at least five or more of the following symptoms are present during a two-week period; at least one of the symptoms must be either depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities.

Depressed mood

Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities

Change in appetite or weight

Change in sleeping patterns

Speaking and/or moving with unusual speed or slowness

Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities

Decrease in sexual drive

Fatigue or loss of energy

Feelings of worthlessness, self-reproach or guilt

Diminished ability to think or concentrate, slowed thinking or indecisiveness

Thoughts of death, suicide, or wishes to be dead

additional factors that point to an increased risk for suicide in depressed individuals are:

Anxiety, agitation, or enraged behavior


Drug and/or alcohol use or abuse

History of physical or emotional illness

Feelings of hopelessness or desperation

statistics and information:

Women suffer from depression twice as much as men. This two-to-one ratio exists regardless of racial and ethnic background or economic status.

The economic cost of depressive illnesses is estimated at $30 billion a year.

Even though effective treatments are available, only one in three depressed people gets help.

Although most depressed people are not suicidal, two-thirds of those who die by suicide suffer from a depressive illness.

About 15 percent of the population will suffer from depression at some time during their life. Thirty percent of all depressed inpatients attempt suicide.

Nearly eight out of ten patients with depressive illness will improve through treatment with medicine and psychotherapy.

Over 60 percent of all people who die by suicide suffer from major depression. If one includes alcoholics who are depressed, this figure rises to over 75 percent.

More Americans suffer from depression than coronary heart disease (12 million), cancer (10 million) and HIV/AIDS (1 million).

About 15 percent of the population will suffer from clinical depression at some time during their lifetime. Thirty percent of all clinically depressed patients attempt suicide; half of them ultimately die by suicide.

Depression is among the most treatable of psychiatric illnesses. Between 80 percent and 90 percent of people with depression respond positively to treatment, and almost all patients gain some relief from their symptoms. But first, depression has to be recognized.

As horrifying as William Stryon describes his own depression in and plans to commit suicide (which he does not), he nevertheless concludes with positive, surprising cliche comments on how others should approach the depressed or suicidal person:

“...By far the great majority of the people who go through even the severest depression survive it, and live...acute depression inflict few permanent wounds.  There is a Sisyphean torment in the fact that a great number—as many as half—of those who are devastated once will be struck again; depression has the habit of recurrence.  But most victims live through even these relapses, often coping better because they have become psychologically tuned by past experience to deal with the ogre.  It is of great importance that those who are suffering a siege, perhaps for the first time, be told—be convinced, rather—that the illness will run its course and that they will pull through.  A tough job, this calling ‘Chin up!’ from the safety of the shore to a drowning person is tantamount to insult, but it has been shown over and over again that if the encouragement is dogged enough—and the support equally committed and passionate—the endangered on can nearly always be saved.  Most people in the grip of depression at its ghastliest are, for whatever reason, in a state of unrealistic hopelessness, ton by exaggerated ills and fatal threats that bear no resemblance to actuality.  It may require on the part friends, lovers, family, admirers an almost religious devotion to persuade the sufferer of life’s worth, which is so often in conflict with a sense of their own worthlessness, but such devotion ahs prevent the countless suicides.”

In short, we must admonish those who are depressed and suicidal that they are worthy—that they are needed—and that although their suicidal feelings are 100% real—the act of suicide is an unacceptable option right now.

The truth is self worth is nearly non-existent...people dig through rubble to find things of value—but they will NOT dig if they perceive there is nothing worth finding.

The solution for depression lies in therapy, medication, and a healthy lifestyle...You can’t just do one of these things

what i’ve noticed is that in jail, when i do a medical screening, people never answer yes to having any psychological issues, but eagerly admit to taking all kinds of prescription psychiatric medications—and then answer no to seeing anyone (a doctor, counselor, psychiatrist) regarding the reason for their medication or issue.


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