John Steinberg: Gazette article on depression insightful
To the editor:
Congratulations to the Steele family and to the Gazette for such an insightful story July 11 regarding depression and suicide. As a psychotherapist, I just want to highlight Zachary Steele’s statement, “I shouldn’t have had depression.” In my work, I find that most people can understand situational depression. This is depression which might be expected when a person has lost a job, has a relationship breakup or has been seriously injured.
Clearly these are reasons why a person might be expected to become depressed. But all too often when there are no obvious reasons the question becomes, “So why are you depressed?” or “There is no reason for you to be depressed.”
In the Gazette story, even Zach Steele, who was experiencing depression, thought he shouldn’t be having a problem. However, people with chronic or biologically based depression don’t have to have a reason any more than people with asthma, diabetes or heart disease have to have a reason.
Chronic depression is ongoing. It might come in episodes or it might be constant. This is a mood disorder which can make a person feel “helpless, hopeless, worthless” (symptoms of depression) and believe it is true when there is no basis in fact. Chronic depression can be helped with medication and with psychotherapy aimed at recognition of feelings and management of distorted thinking. Thanks again to the Gazette for this important contribution to public awareness of depression and suicide.