I have a theory about chronic depression. Mostly because I’ve been a long-time sufferer of this condition myself, and watched my mother suffer through it throughout my childhood.
My theory also came from a recent experience I went through when I fell and chipped my knee. My knee sustained so much damage from that one injury, that now when I experience falls that I would not have worried about before, I’m terrified that I’ll shatter my kneecap altogether.
You see, that one fall damaged the bone so much, it made future injuries more likely. We all accept this about physical bones and organs. But why has no one ever said this about the brain?
My theory is that chronic depression is an early injury to the part of your brain that handles guilt. And every day, most of us go through our lives with small injuries to this part of the brain. We accidentally dropped something, elbowed someone, heard someone call us a name. Now, someone who never sustained major injury to this part of the brain, will have a mental “stumble” as it were, but otherwise, would get back up and continue business as usual.
But someone with a prior massive injury? Well, it breaks us. Our brains start beating us up for “no reason” and we become depressed. What’s worse, we beat ourselves up over the fact that we’re broken for supposedly no reason! Considering the damage was originally done to the part of the brain that processes that guilt, we’re deepening the damage, almost like taking a crowbar to a broken leg!
I truly believe that that’s how chronic depression truly works, and that whether the damage in question is caused by genetics or trauma, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that those suffering from chronic depression realize that though seemingly small damage is easy for a healthy brain to process, a damaged one needs more time to heal.
Personally, thinking this way has given me more patience with myself whenever my brain breaks over a seemingly harmless detail. So I wanted to share it with my fellow depression sufferers in the hope of relieving just that little more pain for all of you!
Stay hopeful, everyone!