No, this is not a post about Cymbalta.
People don't like to talk about depression as a disease. They talk about it as a "mental health issue" - something from which a person suffers, just like she might suffer from low self-esteem.
Sometimes it is. Situational depression is a "response to a specific set of external conditions or circumstances." Someone dies; you get depressed. You lose your job; you get depressed. The thing about that sort of depression is you can point to something and say, there's the cause; and you know it's temporary.
But clinical depression is different. It's a constant state of despair, with no real cause - and no end in sight.
But people don't see it as an illness. Many think people who suffer from depression are weak. "If you need a pill to get through the day, don't bother..." is the attitude most people have. "Just get some exercise or take a vitamin; you'll feel better."
No, I won't.
It's a health problem, just like anything else. You take a medication for a thyroid condition, or allergies, or high blood pressure; I take one for depression. Actually, if you want to get technical, I take a low-dosage medication that treats both depression and generalized anxiety disorder. Living in a constant state of worry is tough - and doesn't do a darn thing to help with depression.
I take medication because my body (and brain) can't get me to the "normal" level most others can get to naturally. Does that mean I'm never sad, or worried? Of course not. It just means that without the medication, I see everything as cause for worry and sadness. With the medication, I'm as "normal" as the next person.
Stuff can still make me sad - and if it's really bad, my mind might not know where the sadness should end. I'm just now starting to come out of a terrible period of both depression and anxiety, that was definitely situational.
To be perfectly honest, it was scary as hell. Thankfully, I have friends who supported me. I keep telling them thank you and they say, "Oh, it's nothing; that's just what friends do."
That may be. But I hate to think what might have happened if I hadn't had my friends - or my medication - during the last couple of weeks.
So the next time someone tells you she's depressed, don't shrug it off, or suggest she just get herself to GNC. It might be a bigger deal than you realize.