PB reacted to this article and asked about depression/medication stories. She got lots of people who didn't like loosing the emotional extremes depression can bring.
I've mentioned before that my Dad is schizophrenic. He has never believed in medication. I should baldly state here that different people with different mental illnesses take their mental illnesses out on the people around them different amounts. (But yeah, I do hope that everybody in the "Brilliant sadness" chorus has examined the effect of the depression on the people they live with.)
Anyway, my Dad was beyond volatile when I was a kid. The things that set him off always seemed to have just enough of a pattern that figuring out a plan to never freak him out always seemed just out of mental reach.
Growing up with a Dad who was essentially human nitroglycerine made my thinking really, really Dad-centric. "How would my actions affect my dad?" was constantly on my mind. I to this day retain a large list of Dad reactions to various things, assembled when I was desperate to figure out why thing A upset him and closely-related thing B did not. I can remember sitting in front of the TV as a very small child, doing mental drills. Which commercial would set him off? Which one would be fine?
Depression was like having Dad in my head all the time even as an adult. It was a head full of nitro. It was having to spend ridiculous amounts of energy on not getting depressed. "Can't think about thing B, because it's closely related to thing A and I might set it off" is the basic pattern, but in my near three decades of life I'd spun off many variations.
The affect of medication for me was to take away the inherent volatility and give me a little bit of power over the situation. I am still sad over big things, but for smaller things or things that don't affect me, I can say "Boy, that's really depressing" without letting the depressing thing be the center of my life and attention for some undetermined period of time.
I am having to learn how to pay attention to things now, having spent a lot of time as a kid learning to keep things in my mental peripheral vision so I could look away quickly if they started upset me. It sucks, but it's progress.
A Yakov Smirnov voice in my head is saying "In Russia, depression has you."
No interest in going back to Russia, kids. None.