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Managing depression can be as simple as an aha moment.
I LOVE aha moments. Oprah Winfrey describes aha moments as “those moments when I sit down to talk to somebody and they say something that makes me look at life or a situation in a completely different way. And I say, ‘Aha! I get it!’ Light bulb . . . and the little hairs on your arm stand up. That is an aha moment.” After recognizing my depression, the next step was managing depression. My aha moment was a critical part of that. It helped me fully understand my depression, and what I was going through.
Are you ready? The aha moment: “People confuse depression with sadness.” Boom. Life changing. This quote from Cara Santa Maria changed my life. It is when I realized what it meant to be living with depression. It wasn’t a traumatic childhood or a life-threatening event. It was a biological illness, because something in my brain doesn’t function like everybody else.
Cara said this on the Joe Rogan podcast. My husband recommended that I listen to the episode she was on. “She is talking about depression and I think it will help you.” True love people. In sickness and in health, through thick and thin.
It’s very scary when you first realize that you are struggling with depression. Because you don’t feel sad, but yet you know something is wrong. You can’t pinpoint the exact problem and it’s daunting thinking about what the future will bring. It was my opinion that something in my brain wasn’t lining up. I felt my depression came from a scientific and physiological place rather than an emotional one. Deep down I felt this way, but I wasn’t sure if i was right. Cara made me feel so much better and reaffirmed what I was feeling.
The antidepressant I take is an SSRI, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. And Cara breaking down how it works neurologically helped me tremendously. She has a background in neuroscience and explained it in terms I could understand. SSRIs help depression because they increase the levels of serotonin in the brain. The SSRI, it bonds to the serotonin receptor in my brain. It allows me to dump more seratonin into the synapse (the gap between two brain cells), so I always have more available. It keeps the serotonin in that gap instead of sucking it back into the cell so more is available to me. This explanation was life changing in helping me manage my depression.
Cara also explains the side affects of medicine and why it make take awhile to find the right medicine. Here is the link for those interested 🙂 She helped me understand that brain chemistry was making me feel out of sorts. For some reason that made me feel better and I became “ok” with having depression. My doctor is extremely supportive and she assured me there was an antidepressant out there which would help me. It might take a few tries, but we would get there. Cara added another level of reassurance that there is a science behind all the madness.
You Will Have Your Aha Moment
I am very fortunate SSRIs work for me and to the best of my knowledge, have helped in managing my depression. But doctors don’t 100% know what causes depression, how it affects the brain, and how/why antidepressants improve the symptoms. Do not let that add to your guilt. You will have your aha moment. I promise you are going to reach the point where you understand what is “wrong with you.” Because the interesting thing is when you have depression you start seeking out how to correct it: resources, books, podcasts, websites, doctors. Anything to help you understand what is going on.
Managing depression is different for everyone. Just like the recognition stage of depression looks different for everyone.. Cara described it as a “brain difference combined with an emotional experience.” No matter the reasoning or the circumstances behind your depression, there is help out there. You are not alone. You are fighting a battle in your own head but there is a light ahead. Managing depression is possible for everyone. All you have to do is reach out for help.