Renaming Depression

As I am back on the pills as of this morning (and I have a Zoloft headache to prove it!) I am thinking a little more than usual about depression. Hard to imagine, given my obsessive nature.

I think one of this big problems in addressing depression in our culture is the name. Everyone assumes they know that depression=sad. What’s the big deal about being sad? Everyone gets sad sometimes. Get over it.

But if it had a name like Asberger’s Syndrome or Lou Gehrig’s Disease or Sickle cell anemia, then people would know they didn’t have a clue. They wouldn’t make presumptions about the nature of the illness. They wouldn’t presume to judge or lecture nearly as much about it. It might help.

So I’m taking a poll. What should we name depression? My first thought is something like Lincoln’s Syndrome or for you Lutherans out there, Luther’s Disease.

-DMR

16 thoughts on “Renaming Depression”

  1. I’m sorry you have a Zoloft headache. I hope your body adjusts and you feel better soon.

    As for a new name – how about…
    Sympathetic Anhedonia Monoamine Syndrome
    Or SAMS for short?
    That might make people think a little! 🙂

    Sympathetic
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sympathetic_nervous_system
    Anhedonia
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anhedonia)
    Monoamine
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monoamine_neurotransmitter)
    Syndrome
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syndrome)

  2. I’m sorry you have a Zoloft headache. I hope your body adjusts and you feel better soon.

    As for a new name – how about…
    Sympathetic Anhedonia Monoamine Syndrome
    Or SAMS for short?
    That might make people think a little! 🙂

    Sympathetic
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sympathetic_nervous_system
    Anhedonia
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anhedonia)
    Monoamine
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monoamine_neurotransmitter)
    Syndrome
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syndrome)

  3. Interesting you say that. The 75 year old psychiatrist told me the
    last time I saw him to refill meds, that the worst thing the psychiatric
    academic community “did” was to name THIS depression in any way
    shape or form. “Clinical depression”. The official DSM diagnositc
    criteria then flow from that .

    How fascinating you just said the same thing. He said we did not do justice
    to the true nature of this condition by that. I will ask him next
    time I see him what he thinks it should be named in fact I might
    just Email him ;he might be interested to hear such a comment
    and ask him what he would name this instead.

    He said it lends itself to all kinds of misconceptions in the MINDS of others
    who know someone with the disease. You are SAD so is everyone
    else. Blah Blah Blah (Oh how intellectual LOL) but you know what I mean.

    I remember as a young college student in a private Hospital hidden away
    in an Internal Medicine Ward under the pretense of a “female problem”
    so as not to embarass my family while receiving intensive treatment.
    I went to college every day as much as I could and finally the disease
    overwhelmed me and I dropped out. The Woman next to me dying
    with cancer said I envy you and your youth I have 6 months to live.

    I said truly, I’d trade places with you in one minute if God would allow it.
    She was shocked out and horrified. She said did you say what I heard you say? I said yes. She said oh that is so nice of you to say such a thing
    but how sad to hear such a young person say that.

    I said, no, it’s nothing noble at all (Like lay down my life for your brohter)
    I would simply rather not be here anymore. She was like TRULY
    SHOCKED out, I am surprised I myself did not kill her from a heart
    attack she looked so horrified.

    She said what are you here for. I said “Female problems” . She said
    No you are not and at night we talked for hours. God sent me
    some grace, only woman I ever talked to about how horrible it was
    to have severe clinical depression. I guess for the 3 weeks I was
    there so they could try experimental medication on me triple doses etc
    she became like a mother to me.

    Sad thing is I was so doped up I had to drop out of college that semester.
    Think anyone understood that? What? you have to drop out? You will lose
    this year scholarship? Guilt heaped on me from everyone. Even the dying lady. Honey, don’t make things WORSE finish this semester. My Dr even
    oh don’t do that.

    Figure he’d understand. NO I could barely get out of bed, was doped
    up so much I could hardly even understand anything etc.

    I have no clue what to rename it.
    I’d have to find something in Latin LOL to diguise it so no one would
    know what it means.

    By God’s grace I did finish but I thought no one has one half a clue
    that was in the 70’s and I really don’t know if anyone has a better clue?

    I’d be curious to know if any life long sufferers of on and off clinical
    depression feel that things are different these past years as far as
    others understanding?

    Mary.

  4. Interesting you say that. The 75 year old psychiatrist told me the
    last time I saw him to refill meds, that the worst thing the psychiatric
    academic community “did” was to name THIS depression in any way
    shape or form. “Clinical depression”. The official DSM diagnositc
    criteria then flow from that .

    How fascinating you just said the same thing. He said we did not do justice
    to the true nature of this condition by that. I will ask him next
    time I see him what he thinks it should be named in fact I might
    just Email him ;he might be interested to hear such a comment
    and ask him what he would name this instead.

    He said it lends itself to all kinds of misconceptions in the MINDS of others
    who know someone with the disease. You are SAD so is everyone
    else. Blah Blah Blah (Oh how intellectual LOL) but you know what I mean.

    I remember as a young college student in a private Hospital hidden away
    in an Internal Medicine Ward under the pretense of a “female problem”
    so as not to embarass my family while receiving intensive treatment.
    I went to college every day as much as I could and finally the disease
    overwhelmed me and I dropped out. The Woman next to me dying
    with cancer said I envy you and your youth I have 6 months to live.

    I said truly, I’d trade places with you in one minute if God would allow it.
    She was shocked out and horrified. She said did you say what I heard you say? I said yes. She said oh that is so nice of you to say such a thing
    but how sad to hear such a young person say that.

    I said, no, it’s nothing noble at all (Like lay down my life for your brohter)
    I would simply rather not be here anymore. She was like TRULY
    SHOCKED out, I am surprised I myself did not kill her from a heart
    attack she looked so horrified.

    She said what are you here for. I said “Female problems” . She said
    No you are not and at night we talked for hours. God sent me
    some grace, only woman I ever talked to about how horrible it was
    to have severe clinical depression. I guess for the 3 weeks I was
    there so they could try experimental medication on me triple doses etc
    she became like a mother to me.

    Sad thing is I was so doped up I had to drop out of college that semester.
    Think anyone understood that? What? you have to drop out? You will lose
    this year scholarship? Guilt heaped on me from everyone. Even the dying lady. Honey, don’t make things WORSE finish this semester. My Dr even
    oh don’t do that.

    Figure he’d understand. NO I could barely get out of bed, was doped
    up so much I could hardly even understand anything etc.

    I have no clue what to rename it.
    I’d have to find something in Latin LOL to diguise it so no one would
    know what it means.

    By God’s grace I did finish but I thought no one has one half a clue
    that was in the 70’s and I really don’t know if anyone has a better clue?

    I’d be curious to know if any life long sufferers of on and off clinical
    depression feel that things are different these past years as far as
    others understanding?

    Mary.

  5. I understand anxiety better than depression (I think), and would guess that not only are you right, but the same could be said for many conditions. Though I can imagine it being particularly unhelpful there. The language is so slippery. Aside from any stigma, many don’t adopt the labels because they don’t sound like they fit. Not for a long time. Then one fits better than others. Or certain symptoms do. And then people try to interact with your label rather than any description of what you’re going through. (In place of “Everybody gets sad sometimes,” I sometimes hear “Everyone gets anxious now and then.” Right. But “now and then” with regard to a few big things is different being anxious about everything. I’m usually not in that spot. But when I am, “Everybody gets anxious now and then” is not helpful.) Problem with coming up with a new name is that it will make it a better fit for some and a worse one for others. “You can’t take that drug. You don’t remind me of Luther at all!” On the other hand, what do you think of the old “melancholia”? Maybe Melanchthonolia?

  6. I understand anxiety better than depression (I think), and would guess that not only are you right, but the same could be said for many conditions. Though I can imagine it being particularly unhelpful there. The language is so slippery. Aside from any stigma, many don’t adopt the labels because they don’t sound like they fit. Not for a long time. Then one fits better than others. Or certain symptoms do. And then people try to interact with your label rather than any description of what you’re going through. (In place of “Everybody gets sad sometimes,” I sometimes hear “Everyone gets anxious now and then.” Right. But “now and then” with regard to a few big things is different being anxious about everything. I’m usually not in that spot. But when I am, “Everybody gets anxious now and then” is not helpful.) Problem with coming up with a new name is that it will make it a better fit for some and a worse one for others. “You can’t take that drug. You don’t remind me of Luther at all!” On the other hand, what do you think of the old “melancholia”? Maybe Melanchthonolia?

  7. Dear Sir-
    I feel consanguine, not only to you & your ‘post,’ but also to SJB, Mary, and Rich (the commentators so far). My vote for a new name would be: “Nemesis.” In truth, I like SJB’s name best so far (and plan to look up the precise definitions – thanks for listing the source!). As a Christian, I really struggle with this condition, as it relates to my usefulness not only in my family (I am married with 3 children ages 12, 9 & 6), but also in terms of my usefulness for Christ. I very much look forward to reading more of your ‘posts’ (as I just found out about your site a couple days ago) and am quite thankful that a Christian is willing to address this topic in this way!
    In His Grip, HveHope*
    * my “life verse” is: “[T]hrough perseverance And the encouragement of the Scriptures We might have HOPE.” Romans 15:4b (emphasis mine)

  8. Dear Sir-
    I feel consanguine, not only to you & your ‘post,’ but also to SJB, Mary, and Rich (the commentators so far). My vote for a new name would be: “Nemesis.” In truth, I like SJB’s name best so far (and plan to look up the precise definitions – thanks for listing the source!). As a Christian, I really struggle with this condition, as it relates to my usefulness not only in my family (I am married with 3 children ages 12, 9 & 6), but also in terms of my usefulness for Christ. I very much look forward to reading more of your ‘posts’ (as I just found out about your site a couple days ago) and am quite thankful that a Christian is willing to address this topic in this way!
    In His Grip, HveHope*
    * my “life verse” is: “[T]hrough perseverance And the encouragement of the Scriptures We might have HOPE.” Romans 15:4b (emphasis mine)

  9. I was referred to your website by someone using my meterial for depression. It has been reviewed by several physcians, practicing psychologists, and one of the profs at St. Louis with very positive feedback. It is not anti drug materail, but does explain how drugs work and how diet, sleep, and talk therapy (focusing on cognitive therapy) all play a significant role in dealing with depression. It was written because secular cognitive therapy actually promotes thinking styles that are frequently at odds with the type of thinking that styles that are consistent with both God’s Law and Gospel. As a fellow Lutheran clergyman, I would be happy to email correspond with you and send you a free copy of the book. You can contact me through the website gospeltherapy.com

  10. I was referred to your website by someone using my meterial for depression. It has been reviewed by several physcians, practicing psychologists, and one of the profs at St. Louis with very positive feedback. It is not anti drug materail, but does explain how drugs work and how diet, sleep, and talk therapy (focusing on cognitive therapy) all play a significant role in dealing with depression. It was written because secular cognitive therapy actually promotes thinking styles that are frequently at odds with the type of thinking that styles that are consistent with both God’s Law and Gospel. As a fellow Lutheran clergyman, I would be happy to email correspond with you and send you a free copy of the book. You can contact me through the website gospeltherapy.com

  11. It is too bad “The Black Plague” is already taken.

    To reach a younger population we could try “Cobain’s Bane” after the singer who took his own life.

    How about “Vincent’s ear” after Van Gogh. (could do better with this name)

    Churchill’s channel?

  12. It is too bad “The Black Plague” is already taken.

    To reach a younger population we could try “Cobain’s Bane” after the singer who took his own life.

    How about “Vincent’s ear” after Van Gogh. (could do better with this name)

    Churchill’s channel?

  13. I’ve enjoyed reading through your blog: I just started a similar one to talk about my struggles with depression and migraines. Migraines are another illness that is often misunderstood and even disbelieved, and the two together do not add up to greater legitimacy. I have been told my depression is caused by selfishness and self-focus (and provided with scientific studies to prove it) asked if I had unrepentant sin in my life (a good question to ponder, though not helpful in the treatment of depression) and had a dear friend say in frustration, “I wish *I* could lie around all day when there’s work that needs to be done.” He can’t even begin to imagine what I would give to be able to do get out of my bed and do that work, without wondering whether I’ll arise to intense physical pain, or emotional, or both.

    Anyway, a name… I think I would go with a scientist’s name, preferably something Germanic and violent sounding. Gefinder’s Disease, or something.

  14. I’ve enjoyed reading through your blog: I just started a similar one to talk about my struggles with depression and migraines. Migraines are another illness that is often misunderstood and even disbelieved, and the two together do not add up to greater legitimacy. I have been told my depression is caused by selfishness and self-focus (and provided with scientific studies to prove it) asked if I had unrepentant sin in my life (a good question to ponder, though not helpful in the treatment of depression) and had a dear friend say in frustration, “I wish *I* could lie around all day when there’s work that needs to be done.” He can’t even begin to imagine what I would give to be able to do get out of my bed and do that work, without wondering whether I’ll arise to intense physical pain, or emotional, or both.

    Anyway, a name… I think I would go with a scientist’s name, preferably something Germanic and violent sounding. Gefinder’s Disease, or something.

  15. Dear Faith:

    I think you have the best idea, a Germanic and violent sounding
    name.

    Not only that …do you not wish you could truly say to a friend “in magic world” OK I will switch places with you. You can feel like I do and lie
    around all day with all the work being done……..if you can get up and do it I will commend you (That won’t happen of course if he is stricken one day with severe clinical depression)
    and you wll
    be him and get out of bed and do all that needs to be done.
    I wish sometimes the same. For even one Hour one could feel
    the emotional pain of clinical depression they’d probably be screaming
    out of pain I guess.

    My prayers are with you.

    Good grief, who could possibly say do you have unrepentant sin on their soul who has read the Bible? Was the blind man blind due to sin?
    No. Was he told you are BLIND because of selfishness and self focus?
    No.

    However I will admit my major weakness I don’t want to have clinical depression many days although it might be for the Glory of God for
    I feel I am sick to DEATH with dealing with it.
    The thorn in my side I WANT gone.
    That is my sinful nature of course that often says I AM SICK TO DEATH OF THIS GOD. H seems to not mind my Irish rowdy nature.

    So I am in complete remission currently. Which I rejoice in the Lord for
    and pray for all Posters to have the same peace and RELIEF of the continued mental torture 24/7 of this dreadful disease.

    Prayers for you Faith and ignore all those comments.
    Good grief, truly if you could just have someone experience 4 hours
    of it they would faint.

    I’m always intrigued by studies that show the majority of people 50%
    have never experienced any sort of depression. NO WONDER
    they cannot understand. Then you can break that down the other
    50% to a few weeks of it, situational depression, before you get to the
    10% or so last noted who have severe clinical deression, multiple episodes.

    Oh come on we know they are all “faking it” lying around in bed all day.
    Lord may God grant some understanding to this medical illness someday.
    In the name of Jesus
    we Pray.
    Mary.

  16. Dear Faith:

    I think you have the best idea, a Germanic and violent sounding
    name.

    Not only that …do you not wish you could truly say to a friend “in magic world” OK I will switch places with you. You can feel like I do and lie
    around all day with all the work being done……..if you can get up and do it I will commend you (That won’t happen of course if he is stricken one day with severe clinical depression)
    and you wll
    be him and get out of bed and do all that needs to be done.
    I wish sometimes the same. For even one Hour one could feel
    the emotional pain of clinical depression they’d probably be screaming
    out of pain I guess.

    My prayers are with you.

    Good grief, who could possibly say do you have unrepentant sin on their soul who has read the Bible? Was the blind man blind due to sin?
    No. Was he told you are BLIND because of selfishness and self focus?
    No.

    However I will admit my major weakness I don’t want to have clinical depression many days although it might be for the Glory of God for
    I feel I am sick to DEATH with dealing with it.
    The thorn in my side I WANT gone.
    That is my sinful nature of course that often says I AM SICK TO DEATH OF THIS GOD. H seems to not mind my Irish rowdy nature.

    So I am in complete remission currently. Which I rejoice in the Lord for
    and pray for all Posters to have the same peace and RELIEF of the continued mental torture 24/7 of this dreadful disease.

    Prayers for you Faith and ignore all those comments.
    Good grief, truly if you could just have someone experience 4 hours
    of it they would faint.

    I’m always intrigued by studies that show the majority of people 50%
    have never experienced any sort of depression. NO WONDER
    they cannot understand. Then you can break that down the other
    50% to a few weeks of it, situational depression, before you get to the
    10% or so last noted who have severe clinical deression, multiple episodes.

    Oh come on we know they are all “faking it” lying around in bed all day.
    Lord may God grant some understanding to this medical illness someday.
    In the name of Jesus
    we Pray.
    Mary.

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