Well maybe not CONFUSING… more specific to a family that is knowledgeable first hand about depression. July was over in a blink and August has done a dash on me, and in its wake has left me with a case of what we call the “sads”… Now what is the “sads” you may ask? And well you should!
Through out my marriage to Ken there have been MANY discussions about feelings (sadly sometimes one of us was much more up front and honest about the ones spinning around in their heads. But that is more an ability to voice and accept than a withholding so settle down Mr. Man). Depression is a word that the world seems to toss around a lot. Much like love in our society – if you listen to people talk in general we pretty well love EVERYTHING. Love is not reserved for the significant or special. You can love you partner just like you loved that piece of celery you munched down on at the YMCA. (ok a rather specific example, but I have eaten A LOT of celery lately).
The word depression or depressed can be tossed out and used on a whim as well. I was so depressed, my favourite show ended. Wow was that movie depressing. This is not the same thing as what Ken and I term capital “D” Depression. Capital “D” Depression is a whole different realm of emotions (and if you ask Ken I am sure he would sometimes term it as his own personal hell). In this family we reserve the term DEPRESSION for those scary times. For the active emotional quagmire that is full blown depression. For the moments of unease and confusion that are not tolerable or fleeting.
Lower case “d” depression comes up when we are mid journey after medications have been settled and therapy begun. Lower case “d” depression is the emotions and thoughts we are working on, the stuff we know now is running through his mind on repeat and are aware of but cannot yet shut off. Ken is depression, he is dealing with depression but he is not Depressed right now… that nasty little dialogue in his head is not the winning thought pattern. He is not cured, he is not “done” he is dealing and improving at that point – he is depressed but on the way out of it. He is an amazing work in progress.
So hopefully everyone is following me so far – Capital “D” depressed – SUPER BAD NEWS… lets not toss that term around unless we are sure… lower case “d” depression – well still not “good news” but it is a process right? We can use this term carefully. That movie didn’t make me depressed, though if I am dealing with depression I bet it sure didn’t help – maybe it reminded me (ok not me – Ken? someone who is mid journey?) of thoughts I am trying to deal with differently, etc etc.
NOW for the “sads” – I kinda of see this as the Lisa form of depression – when I am utterly honest and rational (cue Ken with a joke asking if my time of the month is imminent and then lifting an eyebrow and reminding me of irrational behavior I honestly own up to) I can totally explain them all… though in the throes of the “sads”… well, the “sads” can feel (in the moment), overwhelming and impossible. I can be in the middle of it an not know why the heck I feel that way. BUT and here is the big BUT – the “sads” are not forever. The “sads” are explainable and once you come upon the reason – the niggling nugget of brain unrest and down trodden feelings, the “sads” become… well… maybe the “merely morose”, the “meh I’ve felt better”s.
The “sads” are a normal human reaction to so many things – not enough sleep, too many good byes, too much activity, that super sad movie that lingers in your brain. THOSE are triggers for the “sads”. They are not a sign that you need medication (unless hugs and chocolate and a good long rest are considered medication). They are a sign that you are human. We feel A LOT, we ignore A LOT. We hide from emotions sometimes and that is not good. When I get the “sads” I tell someone, I talk about it, I think about it and I figure out why the heck on a sunny day (like the day I am writing this on) I felt so meh, so blah, so not happy happy joy joy. And, after a bit of introspection I realized – well hot damn, I miss my friends back home and all my crochet work for people up north, my dear friend heading home herself for a visit, the people who ARE planning to come and those who CAN’T… well I wasn’t taking a moment to breathe and be ok with the fact that I am a wee bit homesick. Instead I was packing on the activities and wallowing in my “sads” inadvertently.
My point is – maybe we need some new terms, some levels of emotions, some quantifying of our harder and darker emotions. Seriously, telling Ken I have the “sads” makes him almost smile and in that moment I am already working my way out of them. I have named my darker and harder to shake emotions. I know that they are fleeting and that they won’t hang on for long if I work on my thought process and acknowledge my off kilter internal dialogue.
When we use the term depression a lot I think we diminish its definition. We need to realize that it is ok to admit to depression in all its stages but we also need to realize that we cannot place that term on things that do not fall within the true definition of it. Though this may be more relevant for those living with depression/anxiety/bipolar etc. When you can place a certain weight on that specific term you can better explain to your support system your current mental well being. When I ask Ken how he is feeling he doesn’t say I am depressed, rather he will use other terms to equate the level of his emotional well being. I don’t have to guess what depression means. That way if (heaven forbid) emotions make a downturn we have a safe word almost to let him alert me to that change.
PLUS who doesn’t feel like having the “sads” is something surmountable? I, for one, am not going to let something so silly sounding as the “sads” take me out of the game for more than a day (or two tops, I promise). Instead I am going to delve deep, shed some tears if I need to (I am a crier, true story) and remember that as homesick as I get – it will pass (maybe with the assist of chocolate but who am I to tell?).
As always – those who are suffering – never alone, never – we are here and if you need a shoulder – message me! And those who are support – well you are amazing and we all know it!
Take care, please share your thoughts, ideas, suggestions! Til next time!
Hi Lisa – not exactly a comment on your insightful blog but an observation. I feel the same way about “bullying” as you do about tossing out the term “depression.” We should exercise caution when we cavalierly use these terms. We diminish their power and effectiveness when we do so.
At the Grand old age of 59, I still feel “tense” about once a month. I’m not complaining, as it’s way better than what I used to suffer, but I do understand you, when people want to call what I have “depression”, and I KNOW that, this too, will pass. I get it!!
I agree Aunty Pat… people accept things that are common place and the more we use a word the more it becomes just … something that happens.
🙂 I am glad Auntie Becky! I know when I say I have sads I can name it, accept it and still give it importance but not have to be bundled into depression and that seems to matter on some level in my head 🙂
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