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Manic Depression Beautiful?

clin's picture

Neuroscience and Biology

Manic Depression Beautiful?

There is a Chinese saying that before you can conquer a beast, you must first make it beautiful. Is it possible to make the ugliness of depression beautiful? Yes. It’s a word we hear so often that most of the time; we just let it pass over our heads, thinking of it as just another statistic. The scientific definition for depression is: a syndrome that reflects a sad mood exceeding normal sadness or grief. More specifically, the sadness of depression is characterized by a greater intensity and duration and by more severe symptoms and functional disabilities than is normal.[i] Like a vacuum cleaner, depression sucks even the most normal and conscientious person into a space of bewildered darkness. How do I know this? May it is because I have been around people who are manic -depressive and am possibly plagued by this unrelenting disease as well. Scientific definitions such as the one above will never thoroughly explain what depression is; no clear or concise way. It is like an abstract painting, leaving the viewers to interpret it whichever way they deem fit; and like that painting, some might see it as beautiful while others only see a mess of colors splattered on the wall.

We are aware that depressive disorders appear to be associated with altered brain serotonin and norepinephrine system, both of which are lower in depressed people. Medication of course, is always an option. Prozac, Paxil, ECT, Cymbalta or lithium to name a few is used to raise the serotonin levels in the brain. However, once one stops the medication, the symptoms come back like a flood of unwanted memories. How much of all this medication is worth taking? Is taking lithium in order to curb manic depression really worth sacrificing the ability to read and focus or the ability of speech?

Manic depression, or some might know it as bipolar disorder runs in my family. Though I come from a line of strong-willed men and women who are determined to not show weakness, it is inevitable that sometimes one of us slip from the façade we so painfully try to keep up. Interference with work, sleep, social mania, grandiose spending and notions, bursts of energy, empty moods, along with most symptoms of depression have been a constant in my life. However, it was not so long ago did I realize the brevity of the situation. I have long known that my family is quirky and normal a foreign word that one never hears. However, ever since I was a child, I have learnt to accept whatever symptoms may be present in the immediate or extended family. Acknowledging the symptoms would be admitting to having depression; which would mean showing a sign of weakness. Rationally speaking, this method of thought makes no sense and is quite the befuddlement to people looking in from the outside. Ironically, it has worked quite well in the family, with no medication involved.

The way my family deals with depression is probably viewed as unhealthy by others. Instead of seeing the symptoms as something that should not be present, those splatters have just become another painting on the wall for us to view. It might not be beautiful, but it can be appreciated; the beast is at least tamed. For others, medication might be the only solution to, “ How come my depression doesn’t go away?” The arrays of antidepressants are the aesthetic frame to the splatter of vibrant and dull colors on the wall. The beast that has been tamed so far will wake up one day, and no longer will it be just another incident. Perhaps we are all hiding from the real issue through medication and different interpretations because when it comes down to it, can we really understand and explain what depression is? Or will it forever be an abstract painting?



Serendip Visitor Karen's picture

Beautiful Depression

I am manic depressive. It's been about twenty five years that I've experienced the symptoms. I am currently in a deep depression. I had been "well", or so I thought, for a time. Now it's back and it's dark. I fought it this time, I got mad, drank, acted out...etc. Today I just ran out of fight. Yesterday I decided to accept it and let it be. I realized that this depression and isolation is actually freedom and independence. That maybe there was something my soul has decided it wants to show me again and the dark, still times are when I can see. I found that idea beautiful. So.. I googled beautiful depression, and here I am.
It will stay as long as it stays and I will learn again the lessons I am gifted.

Serendip Visitor's picture


How’re you doing now, Karen?
I’d really like to know.

Benjamin's picture

I read "now its black and

I read "now its black and it's dark." you are very smart. I'm younger, 20 right now. Beautiful dark shade of black rose pedal into your mind. I am very different, your views, I understand semicompletely, why give in, why be around people why go out at all, why stay in, why continue living, why breathe, why keep on in this so dead life, earth and dead people that think they are alive. Jump off the F*CKING EDGE!!!


Ky's picture

i agree completely as well.

i agree completely as well. Like the previous responder, i am also an admitted student. I am also being treated for depression, but the only member of my family to have a problem with it is/was my grandmother. she is now passed, but i believe she suffered from manic depression. It is very possible to utilize the emotions for other means (for me, it was my artistic expression.) good luck and hope to see you in the fall!

Anonymous's picture

i know how u feel and agree

Hi im an admitted student and i just filled out my deposit. im reading the blogs and completely connect with you. i have been treated for bipolar disorder for 4 years, and the medication has saved my life. but i still cannot talk about it openly with most of my family, especially my grandparents. however, it is very possible that my grandmother has a mental illness that she would never address. i am one of the first ones in my family to get help for this problem and i can honestly say that i am willing to be on medication for the rest of my life in order to feel happy and stay alive. i hope that you can acheive the same, with or without meds. this blog system is great and perhaps i will meet you next year when i enter the community.