Semantics: Depression vs. Sadness
It’s not uncommon to ask a friend how she’s doing and have her response be, “Depressed.” She’s probably sad or down, but not actually depressed. This same sort of thing happens with migraines. If someone has a bad headache, he’ll call it a migraine, even if it’s not.
Popular word choices can make understanding and recognizing actual diseases difficult. If Joe can pop a Tylenol and wipe out his “migraine,” then maybe the rest of us are just whiners. Similarly, the common use of “depression” as a synonym for “sadness” makes it hard to know if you’re in a funk or struggling with clinical depression.
So that’s why I chose “sadness” instead of “depression” in yesterday’s post. Yes, I’m being nitpicky, but with good reason. Chronic headache and depression often occur together because they involve the same brain chemistry. Your docs don’t (necessarily) think you’re “hysterical” when they prescribe anti-depressants, but are targeting serotonin to treat your headaches. And, you may be depressed as well as in pain because the same brain chemistry is under attack.
Much more on this later. I’m off to catch a plane. My internet access will be spotty the rest of the week, but I’ll be posting and checking e-mail as often as I can.