Let me just start this post by saying that these are MY thoughts on depression and this post is not intended to offend anyone.
I believe that depression is a very real disease and that not enough recognition is given to depression. My eldest brother suffers from depression and is bi-polar; I have had friends who have depression and have tried to commit suicide. So yes, I do believe that depression is very real and is not simply a “state of mind”.
That being said, I feel that doctors are too quick to diagnose every Tom, Dick and Harry with depression and prescribe anti- depressants. This I have personally experienced.
In 2009, I had a very hectic year. I had lost weight (so much weight that even my boss noticed and commented on it- he never notices these things). I wasn’t sleeping. I wasn’t eating. I had no energy to do anything. Then Yolandi passed away.
In 2010, I decided to go see the doctor who immediately said I was depressed. I argued with her. Told her I had just lost my best friend and who would not be upset or “depressed” by this? She insisted I was suffering from depression and put me on anti-depressants.
I had never taken anti- depressants before and after taking the first one felt “out of it”. I decided to take my boss in my confidence and tell him what my doctor had said so that he would understand should there be a decline in my work. He immediately said I must get a second opinion and in fact referred me to a homeopath.
I was very sceptical about a homeopath and had never been to one before but at this stage, I was willing to try anything. The homeopath did some tests and described my symptoms without me even telling him. He immediately told me I have adrenal fatigue and I told him the doctor said depression. He said to me doctors often make a huge mistake in misdiagnosing adrenal fatigue as depression and that could be very dangerous as I could have a heart attack. My body was under so much stress that it was not longer producing the hormones that I needed to sleep and function. All it was producing was adrenaline to deal with the stress and this was very, very bad for me. He gave me herbal medicine and within 2 months, I was better. I was eating, sleeping, smiling. Needless to say, I had stopped the anti-depressants within the first week.
Last year May, I went back to the Doctor. I also was not sleeping well and I just wanted something to help me sleep (on that note, I hate any form of sleeping tablets so you can imagine I must have been desperate).
I had in the interim also gone to see a psychologist and she had also not agreed with my doctor that I was depressed. She did say that I was depressed, but that it was circumstantial and caused by what I had been going through. Once my circumstances had resolved itself and I had dealt with my friend’s death etc, I would feel better.
Again, I was going through a huge amount of stress in my personal life and at work. Again, the doctor diagnosed me with depression. I immediately argued with her. I told her what the psychologist had said about having circumstantial depression. What I was going through last year was a terribly emotional time for me and if I was not unhappy or upset or feeling a bit depressed, then there most definitely would be something wrong with me. She refused to give me anything to help me sleep and instead said, I have anxiety and gave me something to calm me down. She said that would help me sleep and also said she would not prescribe more than a month for fear that I get addicted to it. Well I have you know that nearly a year later, I still have some of those tablets left so not sure how addicted I got to it.
I again went to the doctor on Tuesday, purely because I have terrible sinus and it has just been getting worse. I thought that I would again ask her for something to help me sleep. The first thing she asked about was my anxiety. I now know what to expect as I expect her to tell me I am depressed and lo and behold she asked about my circumstantial depression. I told her that I still am under a lot of stress but I am happy where I am in my life. Yes, I have problems – who doesn’t? Her answer to me not sleeping – I am going to bed too early and I must do something to make me bored before I go to bed. And no- she doesn’t want to prescribe me anti- depressants (clearly implying that she thinks I am depressed in the manner in which she says it). I again say to her I do not want anti-depressants, I just want to sleep. She gave me a lecture on needing to exercise and on ways to help me sleep and then gave me some sleeping tablets (only 10 so that I don’t get addicted and to only use it when I need it).
No, I have not used the sleeping tablets yet. Why? Because quite frankly, I hate sleeping tablets and am also scared of having to rely on tablets to sleep so I am trying the alternatives for now and keeping the tablets for when I am exceptionally exhausted and cannot sleep.
The point of my rant is that it is and was simply too easy for the doctor to say that I am depressed. She knew that I was mourning my friend ( I literally saw my doctor a mere month to two months after her passing). Instead of referring me to a psychologist or doing other tests (as in the case of having adrenal fatigue), she immediately diagnosed me with depression and wrote a prescription.
The doctors are too quick to say depression, write a prescription and send you on your merry way. They do not look at the causes. The result, everyone is suffering from depression and this takes focus away from the people that are really suffering from depression and who desperately need the help for it.