Tuesday, January 12, 2010

How loved ones perpetuate depression

Not that you care, but I have clinical depression. I mention that you don't care not to guilt-trip or ask for pity, but because it's true - you have a lot on your plate too, and it probably angers you that I bring up depression as a justification for letting things bring me down.

One of the toughest parts of dealing with clinical depression is that friends and family often don't understand it, and actually think less of a person for it. Like one is using it as an excuse to not buck up and pull yourself out of a rut. Unfortunately, it is misunderstood. When stressors occur, the brain can start to get depressed (not sure what happens chemically here). To balance this effect, the body releases chemicals into the blood (I know of two, epinephrine and serotonin) as "mood lighteners." However, for whatever reason, sometimes the body doesn't produce enough, or maybe cells re-upload (remove from the bloodstream) the chemicals too quickly, and one moves from "normal" depression (i.e., something bad that has happened in your life) to a prolonged depression that can bring one down, even when things aren't going too badly. Basically, your mood can't be "lightened," so it's perpetually "dark."

Luckily, when diagnosed, one can take anti-depressants. I don't know how all of them work, but the ones I've taken, including Cymbalta, which I am currently on, operate as re-upload inhibitors; they prevent the cells from re-absorbing the mood lifters from the blood as quickly, attempting to balance the affects of depression using the body's natural solution. Here, dosage can be tricky. If the anti-depressant dosage is too small, the effects of the drug will wear off too quickly in comparison to the imbalanced system, and when it wears off, the depression comes back in full force. If the dosage is too great, the patient's mood will be over-mellowed - almost emotionless - which can add its own problems to the situation (low reaction times, feelings of lifelessness, etc.).

All I can assume is that people just don't understand the lack of control I have over it. It is assumed that I should be able to flip depression off like a switch; folks get tired of me having this problem, so they get mad at me for it. Particularly when most of the time, because of medicine, I am fine.

So I'm just venting it here, in the middle of the Internet.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Rock Hard


Played some rock n' roll with my buds Sunday. Not only is it amazing that we can play The Thing That Should Not Be, by Metallica, or amazing that we're doing it with just bass, drums, and synth, but it's ridiculously amazing how heavy we sound with just those three instruments! Also started some work on my progressive epic The Paralleladigm; we'll be tackling it in parts. My forearms and throat are a little sore, but I'm really excited to be making music again, especially with such talented and energetic friends and musicians.

I was reading an article at work earlier today about adult learning; here is an excerpt, written by the managing partner of One Eighty Partners and founder of the Amherst Consulting Group in Boston:

Scientists now believe that the brain makes sense of the world through stories. Therefore, stories become effective behavioral change tools for managers. Because stories are experiences rather than arguments, the brain doesn't summon up rebuttals. When we encounter a story, we identify with it as if it's our own, trying out its points of view and the thoughts it conveys.

I couldn't help but find it laughable that scientists are figuring this out now, when Jesus was teaching through story and allegory two-thousand years ago.

Have a great week!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Calendar Day

Seriously, the Earth reaches this one particular point in its journey around the sun - a completely arbitrary point, mind you - and everybody gets so excited that they cry and get drunk and drop gigantic balls on television?!? I mean, I understand that it signifies a start and stop point for our yearly cycle, but businesses actually close for this? Why?

Sorry, I'm not trying to be a pessimist, but it just seems silly to make such a big deal for New Years! :P

In other news, Lifehacker posted a neat article about doing a 365-day photography project. Seemed like a cool idea to keep the art juices flowing. Not that I would really call myself a photographer, but art is art, you know?

In other, other news, I'm using the New Year as a motivator for getting some things done that have been weighing on me for awhile. Hopefully within a week or two, I'll have these work-related projects completed, and I can start some full-on creativity focus. Wish me luck.

And in triple other news, I'm going to play some music with some rockin' dudes tomorrow. I'll you know how much we rocked.