Real talk

Everything I know about Depression is a Lie

I just read an article about how there’s actually no conclusive evidence that a low level of serotonin causes depression, and now I’m reevaluating my entire life.

I’ve been feeling kind of down lately, which I’m prone to feeling every couple of months because, you know, happiness is fleeting and we’re all just cretins on a giant rock hurtling through space and time at a million miles an hour. But I digress.

Anyway, I was wondering if there was a difference between treating depression thats a result of a chemical imbalance in the brain, as opposed depression that developed because of environmental/emotional factors, if such a distinction even exists.

Well let me tell you, there is no distinction at all, AND there is apparently no method for measuring a person’s seratonin levels in the first place. Scientists are also unsure of whether low seratonin causes depression, or if depression causes low seratonin. So really, we’re all just guessing about everything all the time.

Maybe I’m foolish for trying to make a distinction between causes, but I’m trying to figure out how to make myself better and I thought I’d at least figure out the root of the problem.

When I was in high school and my anxiety was just starting to rear its ugly head, I felt like it came out of nowhere. Granted, I definitely had early warning signs over the years, but it didn’t feel like the makings of the crippling social anxiety I would end up experiencing in college.

I had always been an outgoing, attention-seeking child. A bit of a loud mouth, really. I was social. I had friends. I wasn’t afraid to meet people. I’ve been chalking it all up to post-pubescent chemical imbalance, but now I wonder if it’s nothing more than a product of my upbringing.

When I first realized all the chest pains and dizziness I was feeling were panic attacks, it felt so good to have a name for it. It was a relief that I was suffering from something real and there was some explanation for my inability to function. But I thought I was just born this way. I thought it was something I couldn’t control and it wasn’t my fault, and that made me feel a little better to know that it was an illness and not just a lack of mental toughness.

I suppose I’m not technically responsible for the impact my upbringing had on me, but if depression is bred and not born, then I feel a little at fault here. My sister was raised the same way I was, and she doesnt suffer from any of this. So what made me different?

I took an SSRI for almost a year until last fall, when i stopped because I thought I was doing really well and no longer needed it. But my anger issues slowly came creeping back and every since winter I’ve been on a decline. I tried taking it again, but it made me feel so lethargic and emotionless I had to stop.

Maybe there is something to SSRIs. Or maybe it’s just a placebo effect. Who knows. But anyway, learning this information has changed my approach to coping with it. I don’t think I’m the type of person who would benefit from therapy. I’m too much of a know-it-all and it’s too hard to find a therapist who understands Indian/Muslim culture.

Right now im trying to focus on bettering myself and doing things that make me happy. It’s difficult and there are lots of bad days, but I feel like there’s a lot that I need to change about myself that I ignored when I was on medication. Insha’Allah things will get easier.

Moral of the story: There isn’t just one solution to every problem. And sometimes you outgrow your solutions and have to find a new one.

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