Do you ever get over depression?

I get asked this a bit. Usually by carers of someone with depression, but sometimes from people who are yet to recover. One went something like this.

One thing I am interested in knowing is you don’t talk about having depression anymore, you speak of it as if it were in the past. Do you ever get over it? Are you on medication? I never really asked you about the medication bit and I am leaning towards it because my girlfriend is on Zoloft and she says that she is a changed person.

It’s a good question – one that I’ve thought about for a while (I think it says a lot that I still think about depression). The answer went like this:

I would say I’ve recovered and no longer have depression but I don’t say I’m cured. Basically what I mean is I am not symptomatic anymore and I’m able to do the things I want in life without being impeded by depression.

I do still have a low level of anxiety quite a bit and have a low resistance to sadness so when I’m too busy or haven’t had much self time I tend to get sad. But other than that I’m happy most of the time.

I have changed though, so things aren’t back to the old “normal”. I do things slower. I do less and pace myself more. I am more intentional about self care. My brain doesn’t work as well. But on the upside I’m more patient, understanding, compassionate than before and value simpler things in life because I’m less ambitious. I’m more satisfied and I know myself and accept myself more.

I’m not on antidepressants anymore but they worked really well in controlling my anxiety. They really calmed me down and gave me the space to face my issues. They were important in my recovery. They have their downside (no sex drive and no feeling of happiness either) but on balance I found them useful. They work best for severe depression and anxiety and are line ball for moderate depression and anxiety. My long suffering wife says within 36 hours of me taking it she could talk to me again. Gold!

Recovery is a journey and depression is episodic so I’m not sure I’ll ever be free of it but can still lead a happy,  satisfying and rich life. I don’t regret having it. I only regret coming so close to dying before diagnosis which is why I do the work I’m doing today.

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One Response

  1. Depression is one of a number of mood-related and behaviour-related disorders. I’m not sure that many people realize that you don’t “get over it”. You manage it, with the tools provided to you.

    In my case, it’s (medically diagnosed) ADHD.

    Funny how people can shrug at the idea of someone with a broken leg, but when you mention mood or behaviour disorders, it becomes a different story. The brain is just another body part, subject to disorder, the same as the respiratory system, or body structure systems.

    I even had to put “medically diagnosed” in front of “ADHD” because so many people have assumptions. Like “oh everyone has ADHD”. Um, no they don’t. “Oh , everyone gets depressed”. Yes, they do, but not everyone is clinically depressed.

    The corollary to those assumptions comes in the form of advice. “Buck up”. “Get over it”. “Just determine not to be lazy”. That’s like telling a blind man to just try to look a little more closely.

    I’m glad you’re writing about this, Jack.

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