In the past, there were two popular responses to depression: “get over it” or “medicate it.” Those suffering with depression were considered to be self-indulgent and self-obsessed. Their dark moods were responded to with little patience or understanding. People with depression were often counseled to just “cheer up!”
When the “get over it” method didn’t seem to work, increasing numbers of sufferers turned to medication. The use of Prozac and other antidepressant medication has recently skyrocketed.
For those choosing to medicate their way out of depression, some turn to prescription medication, and others medicate their pain with age-old remedies such as alcoholism, drug abuse, promiscuity, eating disorders, self-mutiliation, and other compulsive behaviors. Some retreat to addictions, and some retreat to lethargy and sleep, unable to get out of bed in the morning, day after day.
One Story, Different Voices
When individuals acknowledge their depression and say, “Yes, that’s my problem,” they can feel as if identifying their problem also solves it. But understanding the problem of depression doesn’t mean the journey to healing is over. The diagnosis of depression in a person’s life is more like a crossroads than a single destination.
People arrive at the point of depression from many different places, indicating there are a variety of paths to recovery. In short, there is no one answser for depression and no single path to recovery. Just as the reasons for depression are as varied as the indviduals who suffer from it, the paths to recovery will also be unique to each individual.
Not every person suffering from depression should be medicated.
Not every person who has a bad day is depressed.
Not every person who struggles over meaning and purpose in his life should be viewed as crazy.
Not every person is able to bounce back from a major traumatic event without assistance.
In order to deal with depression, each individual’s unique story must be heard, understood, and integrated into personalized recovery through a whole-person approach to treatment.
Are you depressed? Though no replacement for a formal diagnosis, this survey can help you recognize the signs.
SOURCE: Introduction, Moving Beyond Depression by Gregory L. Jantz, PhD., founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources Inc.
Review Blog Schedule (every weekday devoted to excerpts from a different book by Dr. Jantz)