The Line Between Depressed and Depression

In an era where antidepressants are handed out by medical professionals like candy at Halloween (or on the Saturday before Halloween this year), one would think that I would just hop on down to the doctor’s office, say “Trick or Treat,” get my prescription, and go pick up my happy

Trick or Treat

Trick or Treat

pills at Walgreen’s.  I fight doing that everyday.  Not because of some fear of being thought of as crazy.  Most of the people who know me have thought about committing me, at least once.  But, because I have always thought of depression the way I used to think of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), it is highly over diagnosed and most of the kids just need a good butt whippin’.  Not that depressed people need a butt whippin’, but I thought that it’s the part some of them need to get off of.  I’m not so sure anymore.

Most of us have heard the phrase, “don’t judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes.”  Now, I used to think that had something to do with how many times you went bowling and rented those sheik, leather loafers, but I have come to realize in my wise, old age that instead it refers to not criticizing someone until you’ve been in their situation or circumstances.  That lesson was learned in April 2009 when it was determined that I had Adult ADD.  Yeah, Fate beat that into me like I was her husband’s auburn-tressed son.  Alanis Morrissette could have taken a lesson in irony when this man, who always thought that the ADD diagnosis been over used, turned out to be one who could have most used that designation as a child.  It was a real emotional time for me because I couldn’t help but to ponder how my life might have been different if I had got the help I needed back then.

I must have a fairly thick skull, because as hard as Fate hit me before, she again had to slap me like I was a female canine.   Over the last three months, my life has been akin to walking in my backyard.  My dogs like to dig, so you can’t go five feet without tripping in a hole, or falling flat on your face.  I have been trying to face this walk with a happy face, but I find that my facial muscles aren’t working anymore; my smile is broken.  I keep thinking that if I can fill some of these holes, then my journey will go a little more smoothly, but those damn dogs are digging holes faster than I can fill them.

That brings us to this moment.  I sit here and contemplate the title of this blog post.  Where does that line lie?  When is that moment when I need to ask for help?  Am I there yet?  Am I clinically depressed?  I guess that is not a question for me to answer.  I’ll have to make an appointment to find that one out.  That’s going to be one hard phone call to make.  The National Institute for Mental Health states that at anyone time 6% of the U.S. population, or 11.9 million Americans, suffer from major depression.  If I do, I guess I won’t be alone.



About Richard Howk

Fiction author with my first novel, Pariah, available December 2nd.
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2 Responses to The Line Between Depressed and Depression

  1. J.C. Fralick says:

    I’ve battled depression for probably 20 years now. It’s no joke and yes, sometimes it is chemical. Winter gets me the worst and I have a fairly extensive medical record confirming both moderate depression (that does go into remission from time to time) and Seasonal Affective Disorder. Not all pills turn you into a zombie anymore, in fact, some of them can save your life. It hurts to think that so many think like you used to. You have no idea how many times I’ve been told to “just snap out of it” or “look on the bright side” It doesn’t work that way. It wasn’t until I was treated that I was able to begin a career, look at interests again and maintain a relationship with anyone. It hurts to read these words, I just hope you’ve come around. Depression is not simply a case of the blues. It is multi-year documented cyclical downs with few ups. I’d be wary of a doc that was eager to write a script without a full assessment and they often work best along with counseling. Offended? a bit. It is people who never come around to the understand you’re moving toward that make someone with depression feel like maybe they are crazy or maybe there IS something seriously wrong. Good thing for you, I’ve learned not to hold onto things like that. Make the call if you need to. You’re not alone, as much as it may feel like it.

    • richardhowk says:

      Didn’t mean to offend, J.C. That wasn’t my intent at all. Just commenting on how my current situation has caused a total paradigm shift in my view toward the subject just like I had when I was diagnosed with Adult ADD. Sorry, man.

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