Perhaps the most frustrating thing about depression is what I call the emotional hangover–the time after I’ve been in a good mood, when things get extra hard.
It was describing these emotional hangovers to my family doctor that led him to believe that I had manic depression. When describing these symptoms to a psychiatrist, she disagreed. She thought that because I was happy so infrequently I didn’t know how to deal with it. While the Lexapro has helped deal with these hangovers…
Today, besides recovering from G, I’ve been extra aware of the physical manifestation of depression. I’ve been stuck in that annoying place between sickness and health.
Last week, I happened upon a local PBS station airing the first part of “This Emotional Life”. I watched, fascinated, and noted when the next part would be shown, and made sure to be home so I could see it. The first part talked about relationships, which made me cry. The second part talks about negative emotions, which made me cry. The third part is about positive emotions, and hopefully, it won’t make me cry.
I’m extremely interested in all things mental health, especially depression. I was especially interested in the new therapies and research talked about throughout the program.
What really impressed me was research showing that chronic depression physically changes the brain; people with chronic depression have smaller hippocampuses (hippocamipi?) than non-depressed people. The flip side of this is people who have received treatment for depression, whether through anti-depressants or electroconvulsive therapy have normal sized hippocampi. Experiments with rats have shown that anti-depressants and ECT actually cause the hippocampus to regrow new cells.
I know it’s sad that the only thing I have to report on for my Friday is a TV show, I promise to do better tomorrow. I’ve set a goal–to go to the temple grounds, at least, if not inside, and to go somewhere–the mall or Wal-Mart or somewhere like that. Not to do any shopping, mind, but to be surrounded by people.
We’ll see how that goes. I’m hyperventilating a little just thinking about it.