I’m bummed that no one told me yesterday was World Mental Health Day. Wow you guys. Way to keep me in the loop.

Oh well, being a procrastinator, I may still have put off writing this post until today anyway.

I first heard the word “dysthymia” about ten years ago. Actually, the form of the word I heard was “dysthymic” when someone said to me, “I think you may be dysthymic.”

I was jazzed. You mean there’s a word for people like me? Aw, shucks!

Except being dysthymic isn’t quite as awesome as being bright, talented, creative or any of a slew of other words I might have preferred being applied to me.

This is from a Wiki entry:

According to the DSM’s definition of dysthymia, it is a serious state of chronic depression, which persists for at least 2 years; it is less acute and severe than major depressive disorder. As dysthymia is a chronic disorder, sufferers may experience symptoms for many years before it is diagnosed, if diagnosis occurs at all. As a result, they may believe that depression is a part of their character, so they may not even discuss their symptoms with doctors, family members, or friends.

Oh wait. That is awesome.

Actually, being dysthymic isn’t so awesome as it may seem. Sure, I may not lie in bed curled up into a little ball contemplating suicide, but check out this tidbit from the same Wiki entry:

Dysthymia has a number of typical characteristics: low drive, low self-esteem, and a low capacity for pleasure in everyday life. Mild degrees of dysthymia may result in people withdrawing from stress and avoiding opportunities for failure. In more severe cases of dysthymia people may even withdraw from daily activities.

So yeah. I’ve got that going for me. Thanks a lot, Wikipedia.

I’ve found that my symptoms vary according to situation, season and what I’m up to in my life. Meds help somewhat, though it’s hard to tell how much. I’ve known people who were depressed and found a medication that made a clear difference. That has never happened for me.

Anyway, in honor of World Mental Health Day (yesterday), and in honor of Kathryn*, I thought I’d share that.

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* One way that “dysthymia” is awesome is in the word itself. I’ve come to realize that I really like the letter ‘y’ when it’s nestled between consonants. I first became aware of that when I chose Kathryn as the name for my novel’s protagonist over some of the more common spellings of the name, like Catherine or Katherine. In fact, ‘y’ is a pretty amazing letter. I can’t believe I didn’t write about that on Y day during the A to Z blogging challenge.

Yesterday’s word-of-the-day: Dysthymia

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