Depression 1 to 10

If ONE more person tells me that I should feel better soon because the sun is shining I WILL scream! Yet, when I stop to think about it, it's no wonder we hear this so often.  It's also no wonder we hear so many different pieces of advice which seem to contradict each other and/or rub us the wrong way.  This is my attempt at bringing a bit of clarity into the general confusion..

The most important thing we need to understand when we speak of 'depression' is that it comes in various strengths.  It's a bit like alcohol that starts with alco-pop and ends up with surgical spirit, having gone through wine and vodka.  

For the purpose of my effort at clarification, I have chosen to use the good old 1 to 10 Scale, where 1 is the least and 10 is the most.

The majority of people who talk about depression have experienced the 1 to 3 range.  This is not to be sniffed at because even in the 1 to 3 range, continued depression is not a good host to entertain.  It ruins your outlook on life, has a negative effect on your well-being, and makes you one boring 'depressing' pain in the ass to be around.  However, the good thing about the 1 to 3 range is that with a bit of self-awareness and encouragement, the standard advice works pretty well: go for a walk, chat to a friend, make love to your partner, watch a funny movie, etc.  This is the place where an externally applied friendly kick in the butt works wonders, as does an internally applied one. Fortunately, even those of us who are familiar with the higher depressive range also occasionally experience this lower register.

Things get a little trickier in the 4 to 7 range.  This is where your body starts doing some strange stuff such as altering your sleep and/or altering your appetite.  It becomes difficult - if not imposible - to predict how you will react to the things that are usually helpful lower down the scale.  A gentle kick up the butt might work brilliantly but it could also come back at you with the force of hurricane.  This is the place of hesitancy and anxiety because you are no longer sure of yourself. This is where you discover that your usual coping mechanisms are no longer working. In that range, you need a lot of reassurance and a lot of patience, from yourself as much as from those that surround you. Medication starts to make an appearance and some form of therapy is highly recommended.  The desirable direction is definitely down the scale and everything needs to be done for that to happen.  However, because this is the level at which you start to feel disoriented, going in any given direction is much harder than you might first assume.  Easy does it with plenty of support is the main way forward. Most of us in Bi-Polar Land are well familiar with the treacherous landscape that is Depression 4 to 7.

By the time you reach Depression 7 to 9, things are very bleak indeed. (Note that I haven't even bothered with Depression 10 because by then you are in screaming agony and nothing anybody tells you will make the slightest bit of difference anyway!).  You have probably discovered that severe depression HURTS. Your body feels like it's been attacked by a baseball bat yielding lunatic, your brain is screaming at you (thankfully drowning any of the Depression 1 to 3 ridiculously inappropriate advice you may still receive), your very soul is in agony and your one dominant thought is this one: 'stuff this for a game of soldiers: I WANT OUT!"  Anybody who tells you that life is beautiful and worth living is putting his/her own life at risk because, even if your energy has left the country without a forwarding address, you could just have one of those homicidal reflexes that were handed down to you alongside the swallowing mechanism all those thousand years ago. This is the PAIN stage. Everything hurts and nothing makes any sense. How can putting your slippers on suddenly feel like climbing a steep slope?  How can brushing your teeth demand as much grit as fighting an angry bear?  The sun is shining they say? What difference does THAT make! Your internal barometer is on perpetual hurricane level so them and their sunshine can get lost!  We are not always nice people when we are continuously tormented by Depression 7 to 9. At that point we have probably been on an array of different medications (some less helpful than others) and any spouse who still loves us deserves the Gold Medal for Love over and beyond the Call of Duty. If we still love ourselves, we too deserve a medal.  We sleep for days - or stay awake for days. We can't eat a thing - or we eat continuously. We are always too hot - or we are always too cold. Nothing is right. Nothing works. Depression 7 to 9 is The Land of Everything Broken, including any dreams we may have had.

I hope this helps. I hope it helps someone understand where they are at any one time on this 1 to 10 Scale.  I hope it helps someone else understand where their loved one is at any one time on this 1 to 10 Scale. I hope.

As for me, I travel the Scale up and down, down and up.  The medication keeps me from the 9 to 10 range and I am very grateful for that. The rest is that which it is, and no amount of sunshine is going to change that  :D

So true!

I get a little grumpy with people who try to be positive when I'm appriciating my negative for the moment.  I mean we all need to FEEL, right?  And it's not reasonable to feel "good" all the time.  Of course then I talk myself out of it, usually by writing a nice long "tid bit" for a dear friend....;) 


We use an anxiety scale at my house, but hopefully some folks will read this and use it to help them communicate with one another how they are feeling, especailly on those days when they just can't find the words to explain.

Thank you Beanie

It is hard to communicate an experience only YOU have.  It's a bit like speaking a foreign language with words everyone think they understand....

On my alcohol metaphorical scale I live in Neat Vodka Land (a rather unsuitable and particularly ironic image for someone like me who cannot tolerate ANY alcohol)  :D

Take good care.

Gabrielle x

1-10 depression

Damn girl -- I was just a few minutes ago talking to a friend about this. Currently I am high as a person could ever be.. and no, no drugs involved. there isn't a drug out there that could get you this high. But when I come off this high, as I  know is inevitable, the crash will be fast, hard and ever so painful. I used to say I never wished this illness on my worst enemy. After so many years of dealing with all the ups and downs and no one having a clue what is going on I have come to the conclusion that everyone should experience being bi polar for just one month. One month would do it. Then nobody would ever come up to me and say something base and ignorant like "Think happy thoughts". The next time I hear that I believe I am going to snap on someone. Seriously. This blog was beautiful. Thank you for putting into words what is so difficult for some of us to concentrate long enough to do!!!!! A



Thank you Anonymous

Whoever you are I thank you for taking the time to write your excellent comment on my blog.  It is VERY hard not to want to punch someone in the face sometimes but then would we punch someone who lives in the Sarah for not knowing what snow is?   :D xx

Be happy because its

Be happy because its opinion = might work for the average person but someone with a clinical depression I DONT THINK SO!!!

Thanks again for another fantastic article

Much Love

Thank you Anonymous


I LOVE this! Not particular elegant language but absolutely to the point.

I think we should have T-Shirts printed with this slogan.  I mean it  :D xx

Attitude matters

It is you to decide what grade you want for yourself. So many advices are there but from personal experience I know nothing would work except your desire to accept the situation and to initiate the change. A good book for this is" How to stop worrying and start living" by Dell Carnegie. how to overcome social anxiety

Thank you Dillip

I agree with you and I thank you for the book recommendation. Another good read for me to add to my library :0)

Keep well.




Thanks a lot for accepting my recommendation, Gabrielle. For practicality, the best way to make you free from depression, whatever grade you belong, is selfless service. I am not telling you to do missionary work or like that. Anything you may do for a needy person. Even helping your neighbor's kid in its homework can work. any little service you may do but it should be selfless. Sorry to forget my password.


You are right : Giving others

You are right : Giving others is THE key - but I will add this: providing we give ourselves first. This is not selfish because I am referring to love. 'Love your neighbour AS THYSELF' syas it all.  

This is not about self-sacrifice but about self-giving. There is a big difference, if that makes any sense...

Continue to take care of yourself so that you may continue to take care of others :0)

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