I have enjoyed reading the comments on this thread even though many surprised me. Food for thought, right?
I suffered verbal, psychological/emotional and phsyical childhood abuse by pathologically Narcissistic parents. I was 16 when my parents divorcedand 17 when I found myself on my own. I repeatedly attracted into my life "abusers and abandoners." I've been into "self help" since I was 23 years old (now 53) but like peeling an onion, healing is a process and sometimes I honestly think those who are "stuffing" it or "denying" it are the lucky ones. I tend to cry easily. My life on paper: "darn, that woman is strong!" My life in the
open: "She's so sensitive!" Why? Because I cry easily. How much pain is inside of me and is it really helping to let it out?
I have three Brothers and Sisters. My Brother 2 years younger: Alcoholic, compulsive gambler and prone to verbally abusive outbursts. My Sister 7 years younger: Probably Borderline Personality Disorder (Cluster B), very "tough" (at least on the outside). She has spent her entire adult life being Anorexic. Classic Anorexia to Bulimia to Exercise Bulimia (treadmill after calories - compulsively), very prone to verbally abusive outbursts. She has even expressed remorse about
how horribly she abused her "sensitive" ex-husband. My younger Brother of 9 years is basically a "lost man." Functional drug addict and prone to verbally abusive outbursts. Here is the interesting part: My Mom is the Matriarch at the tip of every "triangle." While I did not become addicted and would not even hurt a mouse, verbally or physically, I have been subjected to criticism and disgust by my parents and siblings. Why? Because I cry. Because I am sensitive and compassionate to the point of being "perceived" as a pushover. Truthfully, I am not a pushover. I am fiercely independent. The problem is, I want to have it both ways. I want to be true to myself AND I want other people's approval, especially those whom I care about
the most. Unfortunately, "people pleasing" has nearly always won out. I know this isn't healthy and since my divorce 10 years ago, the pendulum has swung to the other side (extreme) in that I isolate out of a need for "self preservation."
I remember my first Depressive episode being in high School Jr. Year. This is when my Mom and Dad went through a divorce and it was horrific. I suffered worse than I had my entire life during this time and because I was thrust into the world, paying my own way for everything, being left behind with my abusive Father, and now taking the brunt of all the abuse my Mother used to take, I am numb in between emotional breakdowns.
Sorry for rambling. I guess what I'm trying to say is that all of my life I have had Depression "off and on." I always believed it was "situational." Heartbreak = depression. Job lay off = depression. Only once did a therapist suggest that perhaps the "chemicals" came before the depression. Honestly, I remember "filing" that in my brain but not really understanding or buying into it. I suppose he was asking if it was possible that my chemical imbalance was causing me to handle these periods poorly. Perhaps if I had not been chemically imbalanced, I would have not become depressed. Since I always had a "situation" to refer to, it seemed most likely a response to extreme unhappiness and what I know now as "triggers."
The reason I am not sure of that anymore is, this year, I have gone through the "deepest and longest depression of my life." The reason I think it is more "chemical" (or biological) is because I could literally wake up, not having had a single thought yet, and feel depressed. Crying depressed. I could also wake up feeling "scared" and "anxious" for no apparent reason other than an irrational fear of facing the day. The "roller coaster" of depression this time did not feel the same. I wasn't dwelling on negative thoughts and then crying. I was just crying and thinking negative thoughts as a result of a "FEELING" that would come over me without warning. In other words, there wasn't always a "trigger."
I am not in a "crying/depression" state right now but nothing has changed. Nothing exciting or positive has changed in my life. Everything is the same. The only difference is that I am not crying. I am not feeling as depressed. It makes no sense to me and therefore, I tend to believe that "chemical imbalances" are real. Sometimes the chicken (the chemicals) do come before the egg (the Depression). A case could also be made that the egg (the Depression) comes before the chicken (the chemicals). In other words, our mood alters our chemicals.
In any case, the diagnosis of Depression is complex.
====================================================================Risk Factors for Depression
Depression can affect anyone—even a person who appears to live in relatively ideal circumstances.
Several factors can play a role in depression:
Biochemistry: Differences in certain chemicals in the brain may contribute to symptoms of depression.
Genetics: Depression can run in families. For example, if one identical twin has depression, the other has a 70 percent chance of having the illness sometime in life.
Personality: People with low self-esteem, who are easily overwhelmed by stress, or who are generally pessimistic appear to be more likely to experience depression.
Environmental factors: Continuous exposure to violence, neglect, abuse or poverty may make some people more vulnerable to depression.
Post Edited (kellyinCali) : 10/17/2017 4:36:29 AM (GMT-6)