I believe I've battled with depression most of my life...but it wasn't until the 70s that it became something that was common knowledge. I started taking different antidepressants in my 30s and 40s...but since I was drinkin heavily at the time the results were inconclusive. When I stopped drinking in 1992, I really felt the depression. But I thought it was just part of learning to live without alcohol. And I dealt with it the best I could for 5 years. Then I had my first heart attack. The doctors told me that I might experience depression as a part of the aftermath. I didn't want to take any medications that I didn't have to, so I "toughed it out"...for about 6 months.
Then one nice sunny day, I was working on one of my cars, having a great time, feeling pretty good. The next thing I knew I was sitting on the sidewalk, crying like a baby. I'd gone into a depressive spiral in a matter of minutes. After things like this happened a few times I finally gave in and went back to the doctor...and admitted defeat. I told him that I'd tried everything I knew to deal with it, including positive mental attitude, active interests in hobbies, prayer and meditation...and I was whipped. He said that it would probably be a good idea to try some medication. After trying a few different anti-depressants, we settled on a low dose of Prozac: 20mg. I've been on that ever since. I've tried to "get off it" several times for different reasons. My darlin bride tells me that if I try it again, the's gonna put me outta my own misery first. :)
Seriously, it's been very effective for me. Not only has it helped with "the blues" (not to be confused with the blues that I love to play on the bass), but it's also helped me to decrease the level of irritability that I always seemed to have. Things don't get to me nearly as much as they used to. Makes my wife's life a lot more pleasant...and mine, too.
I don't foresee wanting to stop taking the Prozac (Fluxuotine in generic form) in the future. It's actually been very good for me.
Now since the quad bypass, people have been watching me closely for signs of depression. I can say that with one exception (which was a "meltdown" that was probably due more to external stimulus than internal) I think I've made it this 6 months past the surgery without any significant depression.
Another thing...winters are real hard for me. But I've tried to occupy myself with other things this past winter (music, web pages, email, making plans for the spring, etc.) And it's worked. I have a close friend who goes thru the "seasonal affective disorder" thing, too (We just used to call it the winter blues.) He's done exactly the same thing: music, arts, writing, performance...now that spring is around the corner he's making plans to get his cars to run faster. All of these things helped both of us to get through what could otherwise have been a very difficult winter...with a minimum of difficulty. Yeah, we've had some days that weren't the greatest...but neither one of us ended up curled up in a ball under the bed...which could possibly have happened on a real bad day.
So for me, depression is a VERY complex subject. Part of it seems to run in my family. Part of it is seasonal. Part of it is related to the heart trouble. And it's virtually impossible to separate them out. Ohh...and then there's the VALID "down in the dumps" feelings...like when you get denied for disability on a technicality. To me, that was different than depression..especially since I came out of my corner ready to fight the next round and escalated the hostilities to the next level (state labor commission, lawyer, etc.) That one is still goin on. But it ain't eatin my lunch.
I don't know if this narrative has helped or not. But it's the only story I got, so I'm stickin to it.
Btw...a wonderful thing happened yesterday...and today. I finally got the new tailgate installed on my old Ugly Truck (that had been on the burner since January) and this morning (after really workin hard yesterday) I woke up with very little pain and blood pressure of 126/77. No nitro (all day), only a coupla Advil...and I also bought a treadmill so I can start following the doctor's orders to walk. But now I can do it while I'm watching auto racing on video tape and not get bored outta my skull. I guess I can read while on it, too like I did in Cardiac Rehab 8 years ago. For $100 I got a used low-end treadmill....which is all I need...and since I busted my butt to get it downstairs this evening, I'll start the walking (complete with record keeping) tomorrow.
Sorry for the ramble, but I guess I had a lot that I wanted to say. :)