This topic is a difficult one for me, as it leaves me open to scrutiny. However, I don’t see many talking about it in the community, so I wished to share my experience in hopes that it will help others. I want to talk about depression. No, not the kind you have when you’re having a bad day, or the kind that lasts for a little while after a death in the family, or even the kind after your favorite sports team loses a big game and you become sad for a few days. I’m talking about major, or clinical, depression.
I’ve figured out from experience, and from others, how to be happy even in the most difficult of circumstances. I know just about every professional tactic there is out there, and have tried them all, so this isn’t a case of me not knowing how to ‘find my happy’. Major depression, at least in my case, is caused by something completely out of my control. In my case, it was caused by low levels of serotonin in my brain. For those who don’t know, serotonin is a chemical your brain uses to regulate your mood. In other words, you could nickname it your ‘happy’ chemical.
Having a lower-than-normal level of this chemical can cause many side affects, many of which can affect your professional life. Examples of these would be: inability to focus, indecisiveness, fatigue or loss of energy and diminished interest or pleasure in activities. All of these symptoms could greatly diminish our ability to live a good and happy life, and also perform good quality work. Also, this is a fairly common thing that people experience, with around 7% being affected by it constantly, and 20-25% being affected by it at some point in their life.
I’d found out about this after I’d started experiencing times where I simply could not focus at all. I would try to read words on my screen, but my mind was not processing what I was reading with any sort of efficiency. I was tired constantly, even when I exercised, slept well and had a good diet. I was anxious about many things, which took my mind off my work. My passion and drive were diminishing quickly, and I was finding it difficult to do anything. People noticed these things, and started to avoid me, because few would want to talk to an unhappy person. I even stopped going to almost all user groups, as I just didn’t have the drive to do it.
After some consideration, I went to my physician and told them about my symptoms. I came to find out all these facts above, and also found out that this can be hereditary, or caused by major trauma. I have people on both sides of my family that deal with major depression, and I have gone through quite a few stressful life events, so this could’ve cropped up from either. In any case, they had many treatment options available, which I happily accepted. Now, I’m able to focus, feel much less tired, am generally in a more cheerful mood, have my passion and drive back, have been going to user groups again, people have stopped avoiding me, I feel nearly no anxiety, and my wife is much happier for all of it :).
If you’ve experienced these symptoms, please go see your physician. If you don’t have one, ask me and I’ll recommend one. It’s not worth it to deal with those symptoms.
Please pass this along if you know anyone that’s dealing with this, in hopes that it will help them along.
Thanks for reading!