The Difference Between My Sadness and Depression
I have experienced sadness and depression, and I know there is a big difference between the two. Even though I live with a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, sometimes I feel sad, and I recently began taking medication for depression. When I experience sadness, I drink more coffee, cruise the social network for something to inspire me, and I wish I had someone to ask, “What would you like to do on this lovely, Saturday?”
The last time I experience some depression, I was experiencing some suicide ideation for which, luckily, I did not have to be hospitalized. My psychiatrist, at the time put me on a low dose of an anti-depressant.
My depression is a deep pool, and I cannot touch the bottom. I am about to sink, and I do not have a way to swim to the ladder or wall. I am surrounded by water and there is nothing or no one to rescue me. The faces of my family pictured on my office wall do not affect me. My mother’s pleas cannot break the wave of water about to swallow me whole. I must cry out for help.
In 2013, I was hospitalized for my depression for which I had no control. I slept a lot. I could not put into words what I was feeling, however, my doctors understood. I hate being hospitalized, but that was the only way I could leave the ledge and my feet be on steady ground again. I realize now that my only way to save myself was to be hospitalized. Those doctors saved me, and I am grateful.
The depression reminded me of a similar feeling I had in high school. My dad would say, “Jason, it seems like you have a dark cloud overhead.” I did not know how to explain how I felt. If it were not for my friends at the time, I might not have survived that troubled time. I thought life had no meaning, and life was mediocre. Life would not pick up, nor would I reach that peak of a satisfied life. Now I wonder if I was depressed rather than just sad.
In my early years of college, I was only motivated to work hard enough for an average grade. I was in the depths of a ditch that had no way out. The only thing I wanted to do was to drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes. I had heard of the word depression, but I thought I was just experiencing life. I thought life was hard for everyone, and I was just experiencing life like everyone else. If I could tough it out, I would get through.
About a year or so ago I was having some suicide ideation. I saw a vision of myself holding a gun to my head. I did not think I was conspiring against myself, but these thoughts gave me some concern, even though I did not own a gun. I did not always tell my doctors about my depression or suicide ideation, but that time I chose to do so.
My diagnosis was schizoaffective, which is schizophrenia with a mood disorder, but surprisingly this was the first time I was treated for depression. My psychiatrist wisely prescribed an antidepressant for me. This turned out to be a huge moment for me. As a result of being on the new antidepressant, I now catch myself in moments of pure happiness. Despite living alone, I am not overwhelmed with loneliness.