Depression is the fear of life. It is a combination of all the fears I’m discussing in my painting. It is a horrific fear which is both soul destroying and life threatening. I would describe it as a bottomless pit of despair or as being imprisoned in a dungeon at ones own request. There are a variety of degrees of depression. These range from abnormal sadness to Major depressive disorder (MDD) (also known as recurrent depressive disorder, clinical depression major depression, uni polar depression) to bipolar depression. This fear steals interest and pleasure from a persons life. Depression effects a person’s sleep, eating habits, family, work education, and general health. People with depression can suffer with any of the following symptoms:
Self neglect – including eating disorders, neglect of personal hygiene
Self harm – including physical self harm, mental self harm and drug abuse (including legal drugs like alcohol and pain killers).
Sleep problems – including insomnia, excessive sleep and disturbed sleep with nightmares
Sexual problems – including a lack of sex drive or higher sex drive
Phobias – including paranoia (the fear that others are ‘out to get you’) and agoraphobia (the fear of going outside).
Low self esteem
Having a sense of worthlessness
Crying a lot
Health problems – including digestion problems, low immunity, heart problems, headaches, back pains, muscle pains, tiredness and loss of energy
Concentration, memory and decision making problems
Problems with aggression and irritability
Having depression is basically giving up on life. Suicide rates are high in people with depression:
Warning signs of suicide include:
Note that the address above has an excellent guide on the subject of depression and I highly recommend reading it if either you or a loved one is suffering from depression. This site lists the causes and risk factors for depression as follows:
Causes and risk factors for depression
- Loneliness (Fear of being alone)
- Lack of social support (fear of asking for help and fear of others)
- Recent stressful life experiences (fear of a variety of situations)
- Family history of depression (sometimes genetic and sometimes learned behavior and is thus, not fear, however it is necessary to be fearless and educate yourself in order to counteract some of the effects of this kind of depression. Do not fear getting support for these types of depression)
- Marital or relationship problems (fear of communicating, fear of loss and fear of seeking help)
- Financial strain (fear of not being able to provide for oneself or ones family)
- Early childhood trauma or abuse (Fear of the past)
- Alcohol or drug abuse (This is the fear of facing problems and trying to escape them by altering your mind. Note also that sometimes prescribed drugs can also cause depression so try to limit risk factors which could make this worse or speak to your doctor and see if they can prescribe an alternative drug without side effects)
- Unemployment or underemployment (fear of the actions needed to become employed, such as getting an education, changing skills/type of employment, fear of rejection, fear of criticism, etc.)
- Health problems or chronic pain (these can sometimes be psychosomatic, but if they are ‘real’ you should not be frightened to seek help and support)
- Note that the bracketed sentences above are my own additions.
Getting help for depression involves being courageous. Read more about this in my section on Courage.
In my painting I have depicted depression as a naked blue woman chained up in a dark dirty cave with a key to escape within reach but my figure does not take this opportunity. She has given up on the idea of escaping, because she lacks the courage to do so. She is content to live the way she does because she fears change and action. In fact she thinks so little of herself and fears everything including life, that would rather die neglecting herself in chains and squalor than freeing herself from her despair.