Friday, February 25, 2011

Always Learning - more on depression

One of the things that I really LOVE about life is that we are always learning.  About everything.  There's always something out there to learn - about history, the environment, ANY topic, really.  And I'm always learning about my body - what works, what doesn't - what causes me pain (in any variety of ways), what helps my body work better.

I'm reading a book called the Mind-Body Mood Solution (published by Rodale and written by Dr. Jeffery Rossman).  For anyone with depression/anxiety issues, I highly recommend it.  He goes into a lot of things that's I've known intuitively for a long time - it's nice to hear it from someone else, though. 

The one thing that struck me the hardest so far is his confirmation that rumination is a symptom of depression.  Now understand this:  I've never been actually diagnosed by a professional as having depression.  I didn't have to be.  I went to the doctor, with my knowledge of depression (intimate knowledge having lived beside it my entire life) and told him that I had depression issues.  After disusing my symptoms he agreed with me (as have all the other doctors I've had as well as the psychologist and psychiatrist I've seen), but I diagnosed myself.  No one EVER told me what to expect.  I suppose they figured they didn't have to.  And they were probably right - most professionals aren't as intimate with the disorder as I am.  I've only understood the symptoms as I've experienced them, witnessed them, or read about them. 

Before now, I'd never heard anyone actually say that rumination (or over-thinking) is a symptom of this disorder.  But Dr. Rossman did - and he's so right.  Probably my first sign that I'm having a problem is the rumination over a seemingly innocuous event, comment, look.  The slightest thing can send me into rumination - which in turn can become a mood spiral.  And it's never an upwards spiral.  If I'm feeling good, it's not liable to have the same effect, but if my mood is "off" (i.e. if my serotonin levels or low, or whatever other chemical balance is off), then even the littlest thing can have me ruminating.  And we're not talking about a couple of hours - we're talking days.  And no matter how much I tell myself that it was nothing, that everything is okay, that I DIDN'T make the biggest social faux pas in the history of the world, it doesn't go away.  I can't let it go.   Even if I can let it go for a few hours, I remember that something is bothering me and I drag it back up again.  And I don't know HOW to NOT do this. 

New hope is there now, though, realizing that this is really a symptom of the disorder and not just "normal" behaviour (now that someone else has confirmed it).  Now that I know it's a problem, perhaps I can re-train my brain to do it less, to not ruminate.  When I figure out how, I'll let you know.  Right now it seems like an impossibility (because I've never managed to do it before), but somehow having this new knowledge gives me the motivation to find the solution.

I'd love to hear from some of the friends out there who deal with the same issues - do you ruminate?  Did you ever consider it a symptom?  Or did you even think that it could be?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.