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Wendy’s Dark Decade

Major Depressive DisorderOn Friday Wendy wrote a long post that kind of describes where she is right now in terms of her depression and life right now.  I found it quite uncomfortable to read, partly because of the details she wrote about are often painful ones for both of us.

A bunch of you wrote me with questions and while I tried to respond to as many as possible, some of the answers can be posted here.  In 2009 I wrote a bit about it as well.

  • Wendy isn’t bi-polar, she’s unipolar or as it is also called, Major Depressive Disorder which means that she is just down.  There are no manic episodes, no up, just one long extended period of down.   The reason I say that is that almost everyone when they hear depression thinks, bipolar.  There is a fairly significant difference.
  • She mentioned the childhood sexual trauma which started at a fairly young age and continued by more than one person growing up.  I don’t think I understood the impact of it until this year when I listen to Dr. Gabor Mate speak in Winnipeg in which he talked about the long term psychological impact of childhood trauma actually rewiring your brain.  As Mate looks at the neurobiological roots of addiction, parts of our brains governing some of our most basic and needs and functions: incentive and motivation, physical and emotional pain relief, the regulation of stress, and the capacity to feel and receive love.  If these brain circuits develop, or don’t develop, largely under the influence of the nurturing environment in early life, and that therefore addiction and behaviour dysfunction represents a failure of these systems to mature in the way nature intended.  The good news is that this can change (or so Mate says).  In essence her base instincts and reactions were changed and under stress, her actions and reactions are always going to be in pretty destructive ways.  If you want to read more, check out In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts.
  • A lot of you suggested a lot of different vitamins and medications but it is quite a bit past that.  Many of the medications have been tried and failed, others are for different kinds of depression.

2 Comments

  1. patricia Cone says:

    I really like Mate’s writing. I also liked his take on attention deficit disorder, Scattered Minds. Mate really points out in his writings the importance of taking care of people psychologically and the results for individuals and society if we don’t. I’m sure you see evidence of this every single day you go to work.

  2. JW Ginn says:

    Jordon,

    I met you at Soularize briefly in Minneapolis back in 2002 or 03. I had found your blog sometime prior to that event and considered myself a jordoncopper.com fan :)

    I’ve enjoyed following your site and even though we don’t always arrive at the same conclusions – I’m still a fan (Might be the civilized Canadian in me -))

    I’ve been deeply moved by the raw honesty that both you and Wendy share regarding life and her health. I relate in a very small sense as I experienced the darkness of depression when I was 15 for over a year. It is sort of a blur, but in my case I remember the emotional, mental pain was so severe it hurt physically. Unexplainably my depression lifted and has not bothered me in 20+ years.

    For me the worst part of being depressed was not having anyone who truly understood. Sure the doctors had academic and professional insights, Pastors had spiritual insights, and friends expressed their best wishes – but no one truly understood my private pain. That isolation is the closest thing to Hell i’ve experienced.

    I don’t mean to sound trite or anything but I continue to pray for you and your children and for Wendy. I pray for strength and understanding; for love and peace; and I thank you for sharing on a regular basis.

    JW Ginn

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