As if it’s not bad enough to see the world darkly when everyone else seems to be viewing it through spandex-hot-pink-colored glasses, I just heard that according to a new study from an epidemiologist at Harvard’s School of Public Health, people with chronic depression have a 66% great chance of stroke than other people. (I almost said, than “normal” people, thus contributing to our cultural prejudice against those who suffer “mental” illness. . . .)
For those of us who struggle against chronic depression, even those of us who use every tool in the arsenal against it (and yes, I include heavy-duty exercise, therapy and pristine nutrition in that toolkit, as well the usual pharmaceutical aids, so please don’t tell me it will disappear if I go gluten-free) this is just one more burden to tote.
Bad enough that it’s one of those invisible illnesses which our society makes almost impossible to use as explanation when its presence puts the kibosh on some scheduled activity. (“But you don’t look sick!”)
Bad enough that some of us battle such persistent internal “demons” that simply smiling can sometimes seem an effort as great as climbing Mount Everest.
(I use the phrase “internal demons” advisedly, given statements like the following which a dear friend with bipolar disorder was handed: “We don’t believe that’s a real illness. You just need to pray harder.”)
Bad enough to have an illness which most people aren’t comfortable talking about, which apparently still conjures up ominous images of locked wards, barred windows and straitjackets. Even in this world where a description of every inch of one’s digestive tract makes the list of acceptable topics at friendly dinner parties.
Now the medical world is predicting what our old(er) age may very well look like, and it’s not a pretty picture.
Now that’s depressing.