Allergies and Depression

I am allergic to pollen. Unfortunately, I am expected to spend a lot of my time in a field full of plants that are pollinating. I don’t want to, but people are constantly demanding that I go into that field. “Just man up and deal with it!” they say. “Just take some medication!” they say. Those are, of course, the few who even know about my allergy. Because I failed to mention before that I live in an alternate universe, where pollen allergies have a stigma attached.

The previous paragraph was a metaphor, in case you couldn’t tell.

The truth is, I suffer from depression. It’s a mental illness, in case you weren’t aware… not just a mood or an attitude. I’ve suffered from it for probably my entire life, but I only truly became aware of it over the past year.

Like an allergy, it is an incurable (though treatable) part of my physical makeup. But also, like an allergy, it’s subject to flaming up when catalyzed by certain triggers.

Unlike an allergy, those triggers aren’t as easily pinpointed. I myself can’t pinpoint the specific triggers of my own disorder. I have a few ideas. There are certain people in my life who seem to exacerbate it. Certain situations I sometimes find myself in that will cause it to flare up. But are these the real triggers? Or just superficial symptoms of deeper causes?

When attempting to find my “deepest cause” for depression, it’s simply that “I’m never happy”. But is that a description of the cause, or the disorder? The things that I pretend would “make” me happy are just basic things that every human being searches for. Security. Companionship. Independence. Satisfaction.

So my triggers are all superficial. They’re in simple things like bills running higher than my paycheck can withstand, listening to a brilliant musician whose talent I could never hope to emulate, or seeing someone I used to love be happier with someone else than I could have ever made her.

These are universal triggers… everyone deals with these problems. But in certain seasons, pollen blows through the air that we all breathe. It’s only us allergic people who can’t breathe.

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2 responses

  1. So I realize this is an older post. I thought I signed up to get these in the email, but I guess I messed that up. Anyway, go ahead and be complimented that I just read all the way back to the post I missed. 🙂

    I can relate to this post a lot…not necessarily the part about people making me go in a field…but the rest. I have allergy induced asthma, so there are many situations I have to avoid (mostly cats and smoke of any kind), and that can actually be hard. I also have an anxiety disorder, which is very similar to depression, and it’s really tricky to learn how to manage that/what the triggers are/if they really are the triggers. Since it’s generalized anxiety, there’s even more unknowns, such as, ARE THERE EVEN TRIGGERS? haha.

    Anyway, I don’t share this with many people but wanted to let you know. Hang in!

    November 9, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    • Sam

      Yeah, I don’t actually have allergies, I just find them to be the best analogy for what depression is like. But there aren’t always triggers. When I was younger, I used to experience a sense of dread for no reason at all, fairly frequently. I was never diagnosed because I didn’t have regular contact with a counselor or anything.

      November 10, 2012 at 12:51 am

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