On 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.