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Depression--it's not "all in your head"

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If you are reading this and you are depressed, you are not alone. Depression is suffered by stroke survivors AND caregivers alike and is one of the most frequent deficits of stroke. Lately I have seen more discussion of depression and the word being thrown around but rarely with the importance it merits. A major reason for this is in our culture depression is viewed as a sign of weakness, or negativity, or wallowing...none of us want to be seen in that light. We resist medications that could help us instead choosing to "tough it out" or stand on faith or keep so busy depression can't catch us. Sadly we've been fed a lie and many of us have fallen for it hook line and sinker. Depression is a bio-physiological disorder that can't be wished, worked, or ignored away. In this topic I would like to shine some knowledge on what depression really is.


There are Neuro-transmitters, Neuro-receptors and axons. Axons what Neuro-transmitters travel along until they are "caught" in the axon through the neuro-receptors and carried through the axon and delivered in the brain to tell the brain how to act/react.If there is any disruption in this chain, depression or anxiety or any number of problems can occur. Over or under production of neuro-transmitters can become a problem as the Neuro-receptors can not receive the transmitters, sending incorrect messages to the emotional centers in the brain. Medication is needed to cause the neuro-transmitters to be received and routed correctly. Medication is the first line of defense, but by no means is it the only thing we can do.


Depression is debilitating and crippling and cannot be thought away. Once medication is introduced there are many ways we can help ourselves but without medication we're merely pretending.


It's not all in your head--depression causes increase in general stress that can raise blood pressure, can cause heart problems, can cause digestive ailments, sleep disturbances, eye and skin ailments. Knowing this, I often wonder why we will refuse help for depression yet spend countless thousands on experimental devices for our other deficits.


Depression in men is often exhibited as anger or rage. Anger, perceived as a more strong or masculine response is more socially accepted than the "weaker" depression. Often in anger men (and women) will resist/balk at those things that will improve their health and cause pain and frustration for those who love them.


"As soon as this is over", "If we can only get this problem solved". "when things settle down: then I won't be depressed. Yes, but that is called situational depression which causes the same bio-physical disruptions in the brain--and organic depression, which is a biological, physical trauma to the brain--like stroke.


I am not a doctor. I am merely someone who has battled depression and mental disorders for 30 years and learned everything I could to get better because with the severity of my problems, the doctors gave up on me. If you are suffering from emotional effects of stroke, please don't give up on yourself by refusing yourself one of the best tools in your arsenal.


Medication is not the end all be all in emotional affairs and to be complete I will offer another topic on non-medication methods to help depression.

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