King of Excellent (according to Scaryduck)

Tuesday, January 18

More on Depression

As mentioned before, I know I have bouts of depression. I know I have them, I know the signs, I know the symptoms, and I most importantly know they're not because of outside influences, but because of a chemical imbalance. When I stayed with Bryn last summer, he mentioned the direct link between depression and thyroid. I know I have a slightly screwy thyroid gland, sometimes over active, sometimes under active, and this would explain the feelings that I get. I also know my mother, her mother, and BLS all have the same problem, and this would explain depression in the family. TDT and I got talking last week about depression, and the effects and cures, and I mentioned the most excellent documentary from a few years ago, all about large funny man Stephen Fry. It was well documented that he has inner demons, and at one point he walked out of his West End stage show, and disappeared for a week. He was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder, better known as manic depression. He then embarked on a 2 hour programme where he met other depressives, celebrities or otherwise, what causes it, and how they deal with it. Robbie Williams (he of Take That) admits his binge drinking and drug taking was a way of masking his depression. He then realised that it was making it worse so he stopped the drug taking and cut back on the drinking (a well known depressant), and seems to have everything back in control. Richard Dreyfuss (he of "We're going to need a bigger boat") was a surprising addition to the list, big Hollywood actor and all that, but he took the simple step of taking lithium (Priadel) and now doesn't look back. Tony Slattery (he of Whose Line is it Anyway) is like me, and knows when it's bad, but soldiers on. Outside influences are not the cause, but don't help, and so soldiering on really is the only option. Taking Lithium, whilst completely making life normal, is not always the best option. And the problem is that once you take it, it's very difficult to stop. Stephen Fry takes no medication, but when he gets it bad, he gets it really bad and locks himself if he can. This was a tactic used by the most famous depressive, Spike Milligan. He would leave notes on his office door swearing at his family, and they knew not to disturb him.
Non celebrities in the programme included a woman who suffered for 20 years. She had herself sectioned for a year, and dealt with everything as best as she can. When she was released she started to change her diet, taking a lot of oily fish for Omega 3 and a lot of wholemeal products to flush out her system. It seems to be working for her, and she has returned part time to her job as a Doctor (!).
The problem with depression is it's still classed as a mental illness. I think it's time we reclassified it as a neurological disorder, so that it doesn't sound like a) you're a mental or b) you're ill. Both of these things can be the case, but more importantly most of the time you're not. You're just a normal human being, and should be treated as such. I personally think that a new word needs to be found, telling others that whilst something is wrong, it isn't catastrophic. As a former narcoleptic, I could use this new word, and as a depressive, I would also be able to take advantage. I just need a word. How about "Normal?"