19 July 2006

Depression and iPods

One good reason for me to keep blogging every day is that when I skip a day, I suddenly find I have a million things to post about. Argh.

Let's put the most serious topic first: Tuesday's forum on religion, being LDS, and mental health. This is a topic very close to my heart, considering I have several family members battling depression and various other mental problems. The problem with this topic is trying to come to one conclusion as to what a mental illness is and what causes it. Different people draw the line between normal sadness and depression at different places. As for causes, the suggestions vary widely between personal sin, social problems, chemical imbalances, and heredity.

I am often quite shocked when discussing this topic with other people, especially within the LDS community. There are some pretty harsh and unfair conceptions of depression out in the church. For instance, yesterday at work, someone tried to convince me that there were no medical causes of depression and that it was simply the result of our society's unrealistic expectations of happiness. He seemed to think that medicating depression was ridiculous and that all these people needed was some good counciling to set them right. Let's make this perfectly clear: I am not a fan of our medicate-it-and-forget-it culture. I personally believe many drugs are overprescribed, and I avoid using even painkillers unless absolutely necessary since overuse creates tolerance.

However, as I have watched some close family struggle with depression, ADD, anxiety, and other diseases, I have seen the huge difference medication can make. Contrary to popular belief, depression medication is not something that makes the person feel instantly happy. It is not a wonder happy pill. As far as I have been able to tell, what it does is remove the person's inability to deal with their problems. When someone is depressed, everything seems hopeless and even the smallest of obstacles seem impossible to get over. With medication, I have seen this barrier removed and people able to tackle their problems, which are still difficult, hard and painful, but now manageable.

As you might have noticed, I try to take a balanced approach to depression. I believe that there is a biological/chemical component which, when removed, allows to person to deal with the underlying social/personal problems that caused it to appear in the first place. When life is good, people with depression are just like any of us; it's just that when obstacles appear, their biological make up causes them to panic, freeze, and plunge into despair out of proportion with the problem. No, I can't site any studies to back this up, yet. These are just my observations from personal experience. Feel free to send sources my way.

And on that note, sixth and lastly, I bring you iPod accessories to the point of ridiculousness. Alright, I admit, I sometimes envy the cuteness and portability of the iPod. But most of the time I manage to resist the temptation to buy one by thinking of two things. One, how disgustingly consumeristic this whole thing is. And two, it's really ridiculuous of me to have to pay to have my life soundtracked when I can just do it myself. *I'm siiiiiiiingin' in the rain . . . . .* Besides, I have an mp3 player on my phone, assuming I ever get around to purchasing some memory for it.


Marisa VanSkiver said...

Huh, I just bought an MP3 player. 4GB, but it's a Creative, so not as popular. And, it holds photos, contacts, tasks, calendar. It's great, I have to confess I am really happy with it.

Not Too Pensive said...

Dang. I wish I had an iPod again. Mine protested greatly to constant dropping that occurred while travelling and is now... retired.

I think I'll pass on the iPod toilet paper dock, though...