Recently, one of my relatives stated that Dysthymia is nothing more than a mild depression, that I should do my research and I was making a big deal out of nothing. Nothing? Depression is nothing? Here’s why I wrote Born Mad on this rarely talked about disorder:
1. Mild depression can be just a detrimental and devastating to a person and their loved ones as much as a severe depression. At least three quarters of those suffering with dysthymic disorder also suffer from another psychiatric disorder, such as anxiety disorder, OCD, or drug addiction or alcoholism. In and of itself dysthymia can create havoc on a persons psyche and relationships with everyone they know or encounter because it causes inability to make decision, heightened frustration and excess anger. But add to it one or two more untreated disorders-that’s a recipe for disaster.
2.Individuals with dysthymia have a higher than average chance of developing major depression. Which means, if you live with untreated dysthymia for any length of time, as I did, the chances are very good that you will one day sink to all time low, hit rock bottom and possibly even think about harming yourself or others. What is so mild about that?
3. Many mental disorders, including dysthymic disorder can be genetic. If one member of your family is proven to have dysthymia, there is a great possibility that others in your family are affected by it as well. One person in a family with dysthymia is bad enough, but more than one or all members of a family could spell disaster for the cohesion of the group. (See previous blog on www.bornmad.org) titled "Anger Has Ripped My Family Apart)
4. Many men and women do not ask for help for depression either mild or severe. But eighty percent of all people with any form of depression can be helped by medical treatment. Which means, not only is a mild depression devastating, but there is no reason for individuals to tolerate it as if it can't be helped. Seek help, find a treatment that works and your life will turn around for the better. You will feel like a new person.
5. A major sign of Dysthymic disorder is excess, chronic anger. Anger destroys everything in its path. It destroys whatever and whomever is in it’s path. Chronic anger, angry outbursts and making decisions when you are mad are never good. You will never make friends with anger –your own or anyone else’s.
Nothing more than mild depression? No such thing. Depression in any form is a mental illness and needs to be treated. You owe it to yourself, your family and friends and everyone you meet on a daily basis to NOT live with such a debilitating and life-long malady.
If you had diabetes would you refuse to take your insulin? If you were diagnosed with cancer would you refuse any and all treatments you might benefit from? If you had tuberculosis or lymes disease or malaria, would you refuse treatment? I'm betting you most likely would do whatever possible to restore your health and well being. Mental disorders are no different. Please try anything and everything to help yourself and restore your sanity.
There is no such thing as “nothing but a mild depression”. There is much more to dythymia than a sad mood every now and then. Depression is depression. Please seek help so you don’t have to live even one day of your life sad, mnad, confused or feeling worthless. Depression will detract from your quality of life but treatment will restore that quality of life to levels you may not have ever experienced before. Don't short change yourself for the rest of your life. Make the rest of life something special. Defeat depression, even the mild forms.
Robyn Wheeler is the author of Born Mad, a true story about her struggle to defeat anger, anxiety and mild depression. She resides in Texas and has gone back to school to study Psychology and is a public speaker on Dysthymia, Forgiveness and Conquering Anger. In 2010 she was diagnosed with Dysthymic Disorder and given daily antipressants which turns her life around in more ways than one.