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Understanding my Depression

There is a lot of uncertainty and history around my struggles with depression.  One thing I do know is that it just didn’t happen one day, it was something that I taught myself over many years.  Yes, that’s right, I said that I taught myself to be depressed.  Now, it’s not like I set out to be depressed, thinking that it would be a good idea, but all the same I did learn it.

What I know now from a physiological perspective is that there is indeed a chemical imbalance in the brain or body that is a result of being depressed.  There is research stating that low serotonin levels is the “cause” of the depression.  While I agree that there is definitely an imbalance, I don’t believe it is the cause of the depression.

I  think that over the years of being alone with my thoughts of feeling unworthy of not measuring up to the supposed expectations of my siblings, parents or even my peers, has slowly manifested my sense of depression.  I am in no way blaming anyone for what I went through for more than 30 years of my life with regard to feeling depressed.  This came out of not knowing what else to do with all the self-talk, the unworthy talk I gave myself day in and day out.  This came out of analyzing a thousand times each and every situation I was in, what I said, what other people said and how they reacted to what I did or said.  I manifested my depression because it was the only way I knew how to survive my social interactions and the lack of support I had around me.

As I got better and better at recognizing my oncoming depression, it was easy to see how my own thoughts would literally paralyze me in my brain-storm of self-analysis.  It was interesting to experience going from feeling completely “normal” to having the one thought; that one thought about what I said or did and that thought would lead to the next thought of how stupid or ridiculous I must have looked or sounded, and the next thought… and the next.  Soon I found myself just staring off into nothing while in the shower, driving my car or eating a meal; replaying the scenarios in my mind a thousand times in a thousand permutations.

It got to the point where I could actually step outside myself and observe myself becoming depressed.  This ability didn’t not come quickly, it came out of years of assistance from an anti-anxiety medication which allowed me to take hold of myself at some level and work my way back out.  My “cycle times” between depressions prior to medication became shorter and shorter as the years went on.  Medication was my godsend, but I knew that I didn’t want to be on medication forever.  It took about six or seven years before I successfully won my battle over the depression and the medication.  I tried three times to stop the medication, but the first two times just didn’t work.  They didn’t work because I wasn’t ready, I didn’t have my own tools in place to deal with the source of my depression, this would come later.

As I write this to myself and the world, I have decided that it is important for me to remember my journey and to tell my story.  Maybe someone will find this and identify with my struggles as their own.  Maybe I can give hope and a possible solution to their own depression problems.

As I move forward with this topic, I will be unfolding my past and my journey with depression.  I will tell you the steps I went through on  my journey out of the wastelands of depression.  I welcome feedback or questions as I move forward.

Dwight Raatz

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