While at a recent writer’s conference, five or six us started talking about depression. We went around the table.
“I’m on Welbutrin.”
“I’m on Prozac.”
“I’m on Zoloft.”
“I’m on. . . .”
Every single one of us was on an antidepressant! One was on an anti-psychotic—obviously a fiction writer. (See Are authors in their “write” minds?)
Depression is not simply a malady of writers and poets. It’s the most diagnosed mental illness in America, and at the same time, one of the least admitted to. After all people who are depressed sit in the dark all day eating their body weight in chocolate and writing really bad poetry. Right? Wrong!
Here are some signs that you may be depressed:
• lack of concentration (you’re reading this instead of doing what you should be doing)
• deep-rooted boredom
• eating too much or too little
• lack of energy
• negative thinking
• feelings of guilt, shame, fear, or helplessness
• rebellion; over confidence; lack of fear of injury or death
If these symptoms last longer than two weeks at a stretch, you may be clinically depressed. (And all the prayers and positive-thinking you can muster may not change your mood.)
But help is available! The bio-chemical imbalance that creates these feelings, can often be corrected with anti-dpression medications.
So, if you or a friend are exhibiting these signs—or sitting in the dark all day eating his or her body weight in chocolate and writing really bad poetry—please seek one of the many treatment options available. (And here are some additional resources.)
Depression (National Institute of Mental Health)
Depression is real (American Psychiatric Association)
Depression (Teens Health)
If your thoughts go beyond depression to suicide, please click here for further help and hope.
Copyright © 2008 James N. Watkins
Photo: Nik Shuliahin