I’ll be honest and say that one of my greatest irritations with this whole depression malarkey has been the fact that it is called depression at all. It’s just such a crap word. Having to repeatedly use that word to explain what’s wrong with me feels so feeble.
Oh, you’re depressed are you? Poor you. Well, nevermind dear. Pull yourself together, and I’m sure it’ll pass.
No one, I hasten to add, has actually been so crass or uncouth as to say this to me. This is simply my patronising internal monologue from time to time.
The problem is that the word is too weak to communicate the utter crapness of what has actually been going on.
Apparently the wizards (you may know them as ‘scientists’) don’t really know what causes depression, but the common assumption is that it’s all to do with a shortage of serotonin in the brain, and the happy pills, also known as SSRIs, are believed to increase the extracellular level of the neurotransmitter serotonin by limiting its reabsorption into the presynaptic cell, increasing the level of serotonin in the synaptic cleft available to bind to the postsynaptic receptor.*
Or, probably, by magic.
I’m inclined to believe this particular theory, mostly due to the fact that the drugs surely do work.
With that in mind, I may start referring to my illness as chronic serotonin shortage, on the off-chance that I’ll get rid of that unpleasant internal monologue.
In the meantime I have been trying my hardest to ignore all of my natural cringing inclinations, and so telling people what’s wrong, in an attempt to do my little bit towards undoing some of the terrible taboo of talking about mental-health-type things. In doing so I’ve been staggered by the number of people who have shared similar struggles – particularly amongst the student-types, with whom I spend a considerable amount of my time. The official figures of those struggling with a mental health issue in the UK is 1 in 4, and I reckon I might believe that now.
How terribly common.
More wise thoughts coming soon, including something about depression and being a ‘professional Christian’.
In summary: serotonin-deficient
* So sayeth Wikipedia