This post got me to thinking. After I read it, I commented, and then realized that, with some editing, I had my first October blog post:
I've written before about my own stuggles with chronic depression. I am absolutely confident I'd be dead without chemical intervention.
Both my father and my paternal grandmother were suicides, so pshrinks drool like a kennel full of Pavlov's dogs when they hear my family history. The meds put a floor under how sad I can get. I might be miserable, but I don't tip over into suicidal. And when not in the grip of an acute episode, I'm capable of as much joy as any other average twit.
Beyond meds and talk therapy, a couple of other things help.
(A) One is remembering the First Rule of Holes: If you find yourself in one --- STOP DIGGING. Because it's hard to apply the judgment this rule relies on when you're depressed, loving, honest feedback from family and a competent therapist are critical.
(B) Another is the old joke about how many psychiatrists it takes to change a lightbulb. (Just one, but the liightbulb has to want to change.) Again, lovingkindness from those around you is sometimes the only motivation you have left for changing, because the depression obscures your ability to see that change is even possible.
Ultimately, I had to decide for myself to find the help I needed. That entailed, among other things, accepting the idea that depression is an illness, not a character flaw. Crucial to my finally accepting that idea was the encouragement of friends and family.
Withdrawal is a symptom of depression. If someone you love, or even just like, is withdrawing and spiraling downward, reach out to them. There's no guarantee you'll be the right person at the right time, but you might be.