Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Fun with Depression

I’ve just had a great deal of fun researching and writing an article on treatment for depression. You’d think it would be a depressing subject – finding out exactly why taking antidepressants makes people more susceptible to suicide, for example – but actually it was fascinating. (For the record: two of the main symptoms of clinical depression are lack of motivation and desperate black mood. So severely depressed people consider suicide but don’t actually have the energy to do it. Antidepressants tend to alleviate the apathy a few weeks before they raise the mood, and it’s during that time that some patients find that they do have the oomph required to kill themselves.)

I’m an English graduate, and writing is my thing. I love it in any form, from writing articles on depressing subjects, to writing this blog. I even get a kick out of compiling my shopping list. The day I spent writing the article left me wondering why I get paid for doing my job, rather than having to pay LawCare for the privilege. I learned that something that is very beneficial in treating depression, is to spend time doing things you enjoy – writing articles, in my case, apparently, but I might also list eating sushi, watching science fiction and having very hot bubble baths until I look like a steaming prune.

Of course, it might have made more sense had the article said “doing things you used to enjoy, before depression stopped you enjoying anything.” Depression robs people of their passion and zeal too. We frequently hear helpline callers say that they used to love the challenge and stimulation of working in the law, but now they find it pointless and no longer care. It’s not always changes in the profession or their working environment which are to blame – sometimes the extreme stress they have been under has led to symptoms of depression and their dream career no longer excites them.

Depression is a distressing illness which affects a quarter of us at some point in our lives. I’ve been lucky enough never to have experienced it, and I hope there will never come a time for me when researching and writing an article, whatever the subject, ceases to bring me pleasure.

LawCare’s free and confidential helpline is available 9-7.30 Monday-Friday, 10-4 weekends, on:
0800 279 6888 (Solicitors, Law Students and Legal Executives in England and Wales)
0800 279 6869 (Solicitors, Advocates and Law Students in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man)
0800 018 4299 (Barristers, Clerks and Judges in England and Wales)
1800 991801 (Solicitors in the Republic of Ireland)

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