Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Beyond Blue

Here's my story: My life is 'beyond blue' right now!

In the beginning I thought I was burnt out as I had been involved in so many projects: work, ministries, online businesses, home study education etc.  I had lost motivation in doing things. When a friend suggested that I sounded depressed, and recommended for me to read the website of beyond blue - the national depression initiative - I pretty much self diagnosed my depression when I found out that I had most of the symptoms. This was confirmed by a specialist on Monday.

"Kitty, why are you feeling like this? That just doesn't go with your nature." A friend responded upon seeing my facebook status.

I'm always known to be a cheerful and happy person. It's puzzling to me and I am sure to many others that I would be suffering from depression.

It is generally accepted in the medical field that major depression is due to an imbalance in the chemistry of the brain. Neurotransmitters are chemical substances that carry electrical impulses from one nerve cell to another within the brain. They are released from one cell (the sender) and travel to the next cell (the receiver), where it is either absorbed or returned to the sender. The best understanding of clinical depression is that there are not enough neurotransmitters to ferry these messages across all the gaps.

This deficiency leads to a change in the person’s mood, thinking and behaviour. Serotonin and noradrenaline are two neurotransmitters that increase brain activity and improve mood. Antidepressant drugs help the brain to retain more of these substances and so stabilise the mental condition.

Call it what you will, the most agonizing fact of the condition is that pall of darkness laid upon the mind. Life and light seem beyond reach. Something intervenes: a gray mist of separation, a feeling of worthlessness, locked away from everything and everyone — including God at times.

Perhaps this is one way to distinguish between the “blues,” which afflict nearly everyone at one time or another, and the blackness of clinical depression. Clinically depressed patients cry, “My God, why have you forsaken me?”

Have you ever cried out to God in depression? If so, how did you cope with it?


Evan said...

If you need to work at being positive, optimistic and so on it could be you just got exhausted. Especially if you have lots of projects on the go.

For mild depression walking is as good as drugs. (Especially walking up hill from what depressed people tell me.)

Kitty Cheng said...

Thanks for your suggestions Evan.

Kitty Cheng said...

Thanks for your suggestions Evan.

Ross said...

I agree with Evan. I also recommend eating properly and getting a good night's sleep.

Kitty said...

Hi Ross, I am eating pretty healthily, but have to say my sleeping pattern is still not that good. How have you been bro?

Enigma said...

You are the candle in the darkness.nice blog.keep it up

Indigo said...

I understand, Kitty, and all my love to you right now. I have been back and forth from that forsaken place more times than I can count. The road is not easy to see from there, even when you have traveled it before.

Here are some things that help me:

1) Exercise is key. It may be the last thing you want to do, but it is key to breath and get blood flow--even if it makes you cry or anger comes up while you are doing it. It's okay, even helpful to release it.

2) Creativity. Let the feelings express themselves and move through you. When you can get some time alone with no possibility of interruption, move, dance, make sound, yell, sing. Let it be ugly if it needs to be ugly. Really get into it, even if it seems counterintuitive to go there, let the energy move and express because it's stuck. Don't go halfway.

3) While you are doing this (or any time you feel desperate), repeat this mantra: "Yes to ______". fill in the blank with everything you are thinking, feeling, doing, wanting, hating--everything. Including and especially the things/feelings/thoughts you are pushing away. Just keep peeling away the layers and say yes to whatever this experience has, at its core, to teach you.

4) Go to church or somewhere you can commune with the spirit (sit in the back & bring lots of tissues!)

5) If possible, be with people who can accept your feelings without trying to "make it better". If it is possible for you to let yourself be seen in your brokenness by someone who you really trust and who will not judge you, let that happen. Even though it is so hard, it can be healing to be that vulnerable.

6) Try not to judge yourself for having this experience, even though it feels terrible. Trying to make it go away or telling yourself you should not be feeling this way just makes it worse (and none of that "somebody else has it worse off" stuff--that is not helpful with true depression).

Here is a better description of the Yes Meditation:

I'm sure there are more things I could offer. If you want to skype, let me know, and please let me know if there is anything I can offer, even if it's just the presence to be with you as you are.