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Depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Posted Aug 24 2012 8:00am

Depression is part of the PTSD experience; I bet you’ve already discovered that. A nice thing to discover is that you’re not alone with it.

Altered brain chemistry adds to the difficulty of wrangling any mood disorder. Without the proper chemical balance thoughts can be distorted beyond your holistic ability to manage them. This can create a feeling of powerlessness that hits the very core of who you are. Powerlessness drains all hope and from there it’s easy to slip from powerlessness to hopelessness. It can happen without you even realizing it.

An estimated 19 million American adults live with major depression. It’s not necessary to hide. In her book  Living with Depression: Why Biology and Biography Matter Along The Path To Hope and Healing , Deborah Serani writes of her own struggle with depression:

My emotional journey has taken me from sadness and despair, through adversity to resolve. Through it all, I discovered within myself hidden reserves of strength and spirit – what many in the field call resilience.

Part of resilience, I think, comes from acknowledging and validating what we feel. Knowing we are part of a crowd, knowing we are, in a sense, normal; knowing there are others who walk and have walked our same path. Hope and change come from looking outward rather than only within.

The first appendix of Serani’s book includes a list of famous icons who struggle with mood disorders. The following have all dealt with depression:

Mike Tyson, Mark Twain, Meredith Viera, Damon Wayans, Oprah Winfrey, Joan Rivers, J.K. Rowling, Winona Ryder, Yves Saint Laurent, Brooke Shields, Sting, Serena Williams, Burt Reynolds, Ann Rice, Willie Nelson, Stevie Nicks

The list goes on for pages and pages. Serani also writes, I hope my story will serve as an encouraging reminder that depression can be treated… and there should be no shame in living with mental illness.

Depression wins when we think we are alone and there is nothing to help us move to a better place. Admitting that something is wrong, reaching out for help and sharing with others are simple steps to begin the journey to shed some light on the darkness.

Dr. Deborah Serani joined me for a candid discussion about depression earlier this year on  YOUR LIFE AFTER TRAUMA , check out the archived show about depression, trauma, PTSD and how we heal .

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