ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Post Election and Pandemic Symptoms. Category: Columns from The Berkeley Daily Planet – Berkeley Daily Planet

Emerging from depression is an uphill battle. After a bout with psychosis, often a patient will experience depression. We may mistakenly believe the symptoms of depression are caused by being medicated with antipsychotics. However, this is mostly not so. When we return to tracking reality, the brain needs an extended recovery period, and part of that may include being depressed. The reader should realize that this depression will eventually clear up. 

Emerging from depression, again, is an uphill battle. We must find ways to make ourselves happier, and at the same time, we may have responsibilities that we dread fulfilling. Returning to tracking reality includes that we no longer have a set of delusions that in some ways may have made us falsely happy. We may face a more difficult reality compared to how we thought it was going to be. 

I’ve had an extended period of very mild psychosis that heavy medication, therapy, and cognitive techniques together, were not enough to completely resolve. I haven’t felt safe in my life circumstances. I’ve been uncomfortable with perceived uncertainty about my living situation. Now that I am calming down, I find myself depressed. Maybe I was depressed before but was unaware of it. 

The coronavirus is certainly part of the issue. Being deprived of social situations is hard. Now I’m at a lower level of adrenaline, and this means that my brain is no longer creating a natural “speed” to feed the synapses. In the long run, this is probably healthier. Yet for now, it seems more difficult. I’ve experienced my fair share of despair, an emotion that many Americans and people of other countries feel, from the effects of COVID. People who would ordinarily have no mental health issues, because of what the species is up against, are getting a taste of what it’s like for us.  

There is such a thing as “post psychotic depression,” just as there is “postpartum depression.” When there is a major change in the body, this has a major effect on mood. People with heart disease frequently feel depression. I’ve resolved a part of my depression–in this way: on a deeper, transcendent level I am not depressed. However, my body and mind are still depressed. 

Because emerging from depression is an uphill battle, it can be incredibly hard to enact the changes we need to make so that things will be better. Emerging from depression can require a lot of effort. Yet, if we can’t take a few steps to start making things better, then we fall back. And we endanger ourselves of going into a deeper pit, one that is even harder to get out of. Depression doesn’t always go away unless we make it go away. And sometimes this is a call for action. And when depressed it can be awfully hard to act. 

In January of this year, the U.S. government was close to being decapitated in a deadly attempted coup. Russia is a grave threat to the U.S. now more than it ever was. Putin recently remarked he hoped our President is in “good health”. This is clearly a threat to the President’s life, issued by the head of Russia. How much more do we need to see? Russia likes Mr. Trump and would like to see him regain full Presidential power. 

Misinformation is a massively powerful weapon, and this weapon is being deployed by multiple people in multiple places. 

All of the above facts are terrifying, and they present difficulties if a person wants to feel safe. If we can manage to feel safe because we’ve dotted all of our “i’s” and crossed all of our “t’s”, by that I mean we’ve dealt with all of the necessary details of life, that’s when the depression begins to set in. Once we’ve dealt with survival, we then calm down and that’s when the emotions begin to come up that we were too threatened to feel. 

Yet, the depression passes. We must find things that bring us joy or find the joy in things. Either of those will work. A book and a cup of coffee on a Sunday afternoon. Watching and listening to birds. The birds are watching you too. 

Those in a battle must eventually stand down. While my “battle” isn’t physical, it is genuine just the same. Sometimes the battle is against a part of myself. In other cases, the battle becomes trying to survive when my efforts to be successful are repeatedly stymied–often because of the sabotage of others. 

If we fail to eventually stand down, we run the risk of running our bodies, minds, and souls “into the ground”–akin to excessive use and lack of maintenance of a good car. And some amount of depression comes with the territory. 

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