analytical Q May-Aug 2000 Sept-Dec 2000 Jan-Apr 2001 Discussion

The Diary
Anne Ku

2 January 2001 Tuesday






APPARENTLY only 2% of Californians suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) while as many as 10% of the English population get it. England is not a place to live from September to February if you suffer from this type of depression.

Depression was an unfamiliar word until my senior year in high school. My gang of friends were all a year older. The summer after their graduation, I suddenly found myself alone. I found release in the British Literature class I took first term of my senior year. "Woe is me, who cannot fight this agony," I wrote. "Depression which I know so well right now...."

Later in my working life, I learned that it was an illness that is becoming more and more common. The genetic evidence is strong. It is positively correlated with poor health. In other words, depressed people are not only more susceptible to illness but recover more slowly from them. It's a cage that the depressed person willingly locks him/herself in but cannot get out. I don't think I've ever been seriously depressed, but my friends have - and thus became my quest to find out more.

The monthly magazine Positive Health (May 2000) listed the most common symptoms of depression as follows:

  • change in appetite or weight
  • sleep problems
  • anxiety
  • lack of energy
  • memory loss
  • inability to make decisions
  • problems concentrating
  • low self-esteem (feelings of worthlessness or guilt)
  • lack of interest in or enjoyment of activities
  • suicidal thoughts

The best way to cope with depression, I think, is through regular exercise and exposure to sunlight. It's hard to be contemplative when the weather is bright and warm and you're cycling with your friends. Perhaps the lonely hearts in cyberspace are also running away from depression.

Related analyticalQ:
Ups and Downs
Watching Together
Sonnet I
Sonnet II
Planet Rx contains a goldmine of research, clinical treatments, and topics related to depression for sufferers and their carers