Responding to teacherken/kos.
For me depression is like drowning.
[I'm bipolar...will talk about mania another time, except to say that alcohol isn't for the depression, it's for the mania.]
When I was drowning in depression, medicine brought me back up to the surface. I still had to swim to the shore.
These things helped me swim to shore: therapy of different kinds, stupendous self-will, the love of family and friends and pets, and becoming more open within the community. I have given speeches to thousands of people about being mentally ill, bipolar with ADHD.
Now I have climbed out of the water, but I'm still standing very close to the edge, and am shivering and cold and wet. It is better, but still uncomfortable and occasionally dangerous.
Please DO reach out to help other people you see drowning, it really matters and helps.
Cross-posted at firedoglake, where I am known as the ranter on all things mental health, including my own, not making fun of people who are sick, and changing our society so that all of us can live a better life.