Unlike a broken bone, depression is not consistent from person to person. It is a disorder and its severity is determined by the presence and intensity of certain (neurovegetative) symptoms which are generally rooted in psychological soil.
A bone fracture, on the other hand, is physical and observable. An x-ray will tell you if a bone is broken or not and matching the appropriate treatment to ensure effective healing is generally straight forward. Hence, cast and heal it.
Treating depression, however, is not so straight forward. When a patient experiences a “mental fracture” (i.e. exhibits depressive symptoms), they must generally follow a three staged process before getting treatment:
First, the patient has to recognize for themselves the presence of symptoms and consciously reach out for medical support; second, the patient must describe – put into words –what their mental fracture looks like and effectively communicate this to a medical professional; and third, the doctor must in turn, take this information and piece together a diagnosis and what they think is an effective treatment plan.
To complicate things further, the effectiveness of treatment options can differ considerably from person to person: a certain medication may prove effective for one person but produce adverse side-effects for another, which may do more harm than good. Essentially, it’s a hit-and-miss process, or trial by error, for some, or most, sufferers.
So let’s sum up the sheer complexity around mental illness:
– The psychology of a person is inconsistent from person to person;
– a mental state is susceptible to irregular shifts at any given time – and for variable periods;
– psychological states are affected by external factors (i.e. life challenges), or perceptions of such factors, which again, can vary greatly from person to person;
– diagnosing and treating depressive symptoms is entirely dependent on the patient’s ability to communicate them (while simultaneously having to cope with afflicting symptoms);
– the medical professional must in turn, translate what the patient is saying, and fit this information into a more common ‘mold’ (i.e. diagnosis) before prescribing what they think a best treatment option would be;
– the effectiveness or success of a treatment option can differ from person to person.
So, from all this, perhaps the answer is ‘no’, that there is no specific ‘cast’ a person can apply to heal in depression. However, I do believe in a single, powerful healing agent that everyone can leverage against symptoms: “Hope”.
With hope, we can heal.