Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Having a Tom Cruise Moment

My employer has a stupid online "wellness" program that contains self-assessments tutorials on a variety of topics from nutrition, to addiction problems, to work-life balance. I never bother with this BS because it's generally a waste of time and an insult to my intelligence. However, in a recent monthly spam email they sent out, there was a link to a "depression self-assessment".

[Clue #1 that you are depressed - you click on stupid self-assessment quizzes.]

So in this assessment they list a bunch of propositions and you are supposed to rate how frequently you experienced them (from "almost never" to "every day"):
  • I had trouble keeping my mind on what I was doing
  • I felt hopeless about the future
  • I felt fearful
  • I talked less than usual
  • I had crying spells
  • I could not get "going"
  • I felt that I was not as good as other people
Clue #2 you are depressed - you fail every single question on a depression self-assessment.

What's incredible is that I tend to sugar coat things and pretend like things don't bother me, so the fact that I immediately admitted to all of these is further evidence of a problem.

Clue #3 you are depressed - your response to failing a depression self-assessment is not staunch denial, but only further sadness and feelings of inadequacy.

So what does all of this have to do with Tom Cruise? Well, we all remember his "depression is not a disease" scandal, and how he criticized anyone who relied on medication to treat it. I don't agree with his conclusion that chemical imbalances don't exist, but I do wonder whether the feelings I am having are truly something that requires drug intervention.

My own personal preference has always been to leave drugs as a last resort, and fortunately I have rarely had to resort to them. At the same time, the prevalence of chemical therapy for depression has created an environment where people have little patience for those who are taking their time dealing with sadness the old fashioned (i.e. slow) way.

I am tired of pushing sadness down for the sake of other people. This has been a problem lately as I have chosen not to attend some social functions. I don't feel like putting on a happy face, especially on my day off when I should be doing things I want to do rather than things I have to do. The response is always "oh, come on, you'll have a good time once you get there" or "don't be such a boring no-fun loser". It's like being sad is no longer an acceptable state for anyone to be in for any period of time. Ok, fine, you can't be down in the dumps forever, but why can't you take your time to properly let out the sadness?

I realize that I'm stepping into controversial territory by saying all of this, but that's just how I feel, so eat me.


  1. what you said makes complete sense and seeing as how the grieving time line is like two years, it only makes sense that we will grieve for at least that. and all drugs really do is kind of mellow out the pain ( i have relied on them in the past) but i also found that in some instances that mellowing effect actually helped to prolong the grief.

    take your time getting back out there. you will know when you are ready.

  2. I think it is completely acceptable to be depressed during this awful journey. However, i will say that I was probably clinically depressed for at least two years before seeking treatment, and boy am I glad I did. I thought that I was a tough girl and didn't need help, but after one particularly rough patch, I did get help - therapy and anti-depressants. Totally made a huge positive difference for me. take care.

  3. Urgh - I just wrote you a long rambling comment about how anti-depressants literally saved my life, and how they're not permanent, but an amazing tool for healing if taken along with talk therapy and bla bla bla and stupid blogspot gave me an error message and my lovely thoughtful comment got lost! Oof!
    Ok - the long and short of it is this: when you feel up to it, check out my blog and read through the "how it started" and the "happy pills" categories. I used to be completely anti-meds. Now that I'm on them, I regret not doing it sooner, because they have been a godsend.
    If you feel like digging into it - email me faerie4ever (at) gmail (dot) com . Seriously - I'm happy to listen and help any time. :-)

  4. I remember how I felt when I finally asked for antidepressive meds...and, it was the hardest thing I ever had to do. Grieving has a long timeline and there is np right time when you have to be over it. However, if you think you might need AD meds, you probably would benefit from them. {{{Hugs}}} and prayers. If you need to talk, my email is up on my profile and on my blog.

    ICLW #19