Shades of Gray

Originally posted on August 11, 2010 at 2:20 PM

Where does one emotion end and the next begin? Is it always shades of gray?

I’ve always battled with depression. Depression with a capital D, actually, as in Clinical Depression and not the over-used sentiment, “I feel depressed.” Depression is known to be at least partially genetic, and that holds true for me. Still, I can’t help but wonder: would I have ever gotten depressed if such horrible, tragic things hadn’t happened to me? There’s a difference between being sad because something sad happens and just always being depressed… isn’t there?

At some point, if sad things continuously happen for an extended period of time, I would have to say no. Because sadness is like a fraction of depression, as is tiredness, and if you’re exposed to that emotion for a long enough time, the brain gets used to it. The neuropathways literally get more worn for sadness than for other emotions, making it difficult if not impossible to “climb” out of those deep grooves. Genetics certainly effect depression, but it seems to me that so does life. If really sad things keep happening to a person, it would be inhuman not to be really sad about it.

The problem though, is that once a person has been severely, clinically depressed for a length of time (the length is part of what differentiates depression from grief, or sorrow), the brain can never undo the effects of that. Those grooves are worn deep, and no amount of happy living can build them back up. What this means for me is that when I get sad, I get depressed. Not the light sense of it that people toss around, which just means, “I’m currently sad and tired.” No, somehow it’s different, isn’t it? Depression is familiar, and my mind goes to it like an old friend when any related emotions pop up. Grief? Depression. Sadness? Depression. Tiredness? Depression.

So when I say, “I feel depressed,” I don’t toss the phrase around like many people do when what they really mean is they feel sad, or they are grieving. For me, it is one in the same. All shades of sad have blended to one color: dark, gray, Depression.

Share this:
This entry was posted in Depression and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.