Depressed: When Control Is Out of Control

Magician's Card Trick

Why I try to understand depression, I find too few words with too many meanings. This isn’t quibbling over semantics. It’s about what you feel when living with depression and what you feel when you can finally live without it. It’s about the experience behind the words.

Take the word, control. To control and to be controlling are bad. Your world is all about you, and everyone else is there to meet your needs.

But being out of control is also bad. Most self-help books and therapists I know encourage me to take back control of my life.

As far as my experience goes, both of these ideas about control are true. I’ve lived each one.

When I’m depressed, I can flare up in anger with my family. I’m anxious and panicky at facing groups of people. I’m nervous and fearful about trying any new experience. I avoid people as much as I can and prefer to be alone. All of that is about control. Read the rest»