Sunday, July 7, 2013

Clinical Depression Runs in the Family - How Do You Deal With It?

I recognized that something was wrong about the time I was 20 years old. At the time I was serving as a missionary for my church in Europe in the country of Hungary. I was speaking fluent Hungarian and doing something that I dreamed of most of my life. My religion and missionary experiences are for another article. Right now I want to focus on my struggle with clinical depression, a disease that affects a large amount of people. My goal is to give a little bit of hope to somebody out there that they can know that, first, they are not alone, and second, there is a way to beat it.

My Family Struggles With Depression

One of the toughest things I had to deal with growing up is the fact that so many people are ignorant when it comes to understanding clinical depression. It is commonplace to believe that people with manic depression belong in the looney-bin. They believe that depression equals handicap or incapability. Fortunately, I was exposed to depression at a young age. So I guess my perspective comes from a different angle then most.

My mother has clinical depression, and has had it all of her adult life. She copes well with it 99% of the time and has a lapse every now and again. She explained to me that having clinical depression is like being sick, or having a disease. It doesn't mean you have brain damage, or that you are just experiencing the consequences of bad choices. It is a chemical imbalance that can cause one to experience high bouts of anxiety and stress even over little things, loss of enjoyment in things that usually bring joy, an overall feeling of a lack of purpose to life, and can lead some people to thoughts of suicide.

My grandfather also lived with clinical depression. He grew up in a time where people were really ignorant to psychological disorders. So, those poor people who had to deal with the disorder usually dealt with it privately and didn't look outward for help.

The Best Way To Beat Depression Is To Be Open With Loved Ones and Specialists

I, too, have clinical depression. Like I stated at the beginning of this article, I came to the realization when I was about 20 years old. It was a very difficult time of my life. I was on the other side of the world serving an LDS mission (again, something I was very excited about and really enjoyed). It was a tough experience learning Hungarian and the responsibility I felt of teaching the people we met with. Most people that face clinical depression have it manifest during a really high-stress experience.

After months of trying to beat depression on my own I finally surrendered and asked for help. I spoke to my leader, who was very understanding and helpful, and he got me in contact with a specialist. It was a relief to talk with the specialist and come to an understanding that I wasn't crazy! Instead, I came to realize that I wasn't alone and that I didn't have to fight my battle with depression by myself.

Over the years I have come to realize that there are so many people around us that are willing to help give you encouragement, support, and love. It is how I am winning my battle with depression everyday. And so can you!

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