Once again I’ve emerged from the dark miasma of depression and am finding all those things I enjoyed in the past are once again sources of joy and stimulation. I’m no stranger to this situation having ‘been there, done that’ more times than I care to remember. But this time is different because I finally sought medical assistance for the condition and am continuing to take 50 mg. of Sertraline (Zoloft) on a daily basis. The med is helping as did the counseling but I’m left wondering if I would’ve once again found my free of the desperate darkness of emptiness without such assistance? If the past is any indication then the answer is an unqualified ‘Yes’. But this latest bout was stronger than most and it showed no signs of dissipating after ravaging my emotional well-being for more than a month. Sure, I remember times when I struggled for a year or more but that was also before I recognized the depression for what it was…a chronic condition that was robbing me of my joy, my balance and my caring. And while I ultimately am just pleased it is no longer a factor in my day to day existence I still wonder…
Of course part of my concern is based upon the fear it will eventually once more sweep into my life and drag me down into the dark depths of despair. However, if I continue taking the Sertraline this most likely will not occur. However, I really am not a ‘pill person’ and hence I have real issues with taking meds especially if I feel they are having minimal to no immediate benefit so I remain a bit conflicted. I’m working on becoming more sanguine regarding taking the daily dose of Sertraline – my doctor tells me it is about the minimum dose prescribed nowadays – and am viewing it like I do insurance. It is an investment in maintaining my well-being should the worst occur. In this sense I view the daily med as I do insurance in general – a ‘necessary evil’. I guess if I didn’t already take daily doses of HCTZ, Amlodipine and Losartan Potassium for the hypertension and Metformin for the late onset Type 2 diabetes swallowing my daily tablet of Sertraline wouldn’t be such a big deal..?
So I’m heading towards a place whereby I just need to remember how bad this last bout of depression had become and how much the Sertraline appeared to help in dispelling the condition. As I look back at this latest event I remain confounded by how this condition functions. How does an apparent biochemical imbalance have the ability to literally wipe away the joy and enthusiasm one holds for life and replace it with a complete lack of motivation and an overpowering numbness which makes even the most beloved activities empty and without value? In contemplating this question I am struck by the awareness that if depression is ‘just’ a biochemical imbalance with such power over our thoughts and perceptions what does that say regarding the basis for our reality? Is our very existence nothing but a complex series of biochemical and bio-electrical reactions? Are the emotions which are so ‘human’ such as love, compassion, fear and loathing predicated only upon a proper balance of molecules, electricity, neurons and synapses?
In a way this description of human beings seems almost derogatory but there’s no denying the direction our race’s ‘voyages of discovery’ are heading regarding the biological sciences. However, if one looks beyond just the mechanical/chemical reactions there’s something I find truly fascinating. If all life exists based upon these same fundamental interactions then is not all life related? Some may find the concept of a human being’s life force being identical to that of a microorganism to be insulting but I do believe this feeling is valid. In this sense, all life is inter-related and, hence, all life is precious. Think on this concept! On an energy level all life is related and most likely interconnected as well. This ‘connectedness’ is probably on a quantum level but being part of the very small doesn’t diminish its importance. What a profound concept!!
We human beings have seemed driven to place ourselves at the apex of the ‘web of life’ on this planet and, in many respects, this is an accurate measurement. But we should never have allowed this concept to morph into a feeling of being superior to all other life! If we do, indeed, share such basic commonalities with all other life on this planet perhaps we should look deep within ourselves and begin to realize as a race with so many distinct cultures we honestly need to stop celebrating our differences and begin to embrace our commonalities. There is nothing ‘wrong’ about being different or distinct unless we allow these perceptions to divide us or set us apart from other. So perhaps we should begin to celebrate our uniqueness and our commonalities..? While doing so, perhaps the time has come to enlarge our acceptance of all life around us and understand that the myriad of life forms is but the Universe’s way of celebrating life? If we could all come to honestly embrace this fundamentally amazing ‘sameness’ our lives would be so much richer and we might better understand the value of diversity.