Depression and the Vampire

Posted: Sunday, 29 April, 2012 by deacongray in Uncategorized


According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), depression is “a common but serious illness” (NIMH, 2011). We all feel sad from time to time; it is a normal part of humanity. When that feeling persists, however, and infiltrates our daily lives, interfering with our ability to perform even the most basic of tasks, it becomes depression. There are many forms of depressions, some more well-known than others. These include major depression, dysthymia, minor depression, psychotic depression, postpartum depression, seasonal affective disorder, and bipolar disorder (also known as manic-depressive illness). Like our vampirism, those of us within the community might share the same illness and experience the same symptoms, but we are all affected differently. Just as this makes it hard for us to tell another that they are X kind of vampire, it is hard for us to know what form another’s depression might take, or how best to treat it. Questions linger – Am I clinically depressed? How can I be sure? Who can I turn to for help? When should I get help? How does my depression affect my vampirism? How does my vampirism affect my depression? Is there a connection between the two?

Vampirism as a genetic condition has no concrete supporting evidence (nor does most of that which falls under the study of modern vampires, but that is another story for another day), but the idea certainly has its supporters. According to NIMH (2011), depression is most likely “caused by a combination of genetic biological, environmental, and psychological factors.” It seems to me that this could also define vampirism. Symptoms of depression include persistent sad feeling, hopelessness, pessimism, guilt, worthlessness, irritability, loss of interest in activities, fatigue and decreased energy, insomnia, overeating, appetite loss, aches, pains, headaches, cramps, and thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts. How many of us have felt those same symptoms? That is not to say that we are all just deluded and depressed. Our needs are real, but the similarity is there.

Many of us went through our “awakenings” alone. It was a hard time for us, whether it happened at puberty or later in life. We did not know what was going on; we had no one to turn to; and we did not always know how to ask the questions that needed to be asked. Either we did not have the right words, or we simply did not have the questions. Just as we have all been lucky enough to find and establish a connection with the vampire community, offline or on, those who suffer from depression are now blessed with many places they can turn. Just like finding the online vampire community (OVC), it can take some searching, but finding help is worth the search. NIMH provides some great pointers for those wanting to help themselves if they believe they are depressed (2011):

  • Mental health specialists, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, or mental health counselors
  • Health maintenance organizations
  • Community mental health centers
  • Hospital psychiatry departments and outpatient clinics
  • Mental health programs at universities or medical schools
  • State hospital outpatient clinics
  • Family services, social agencies, or clergy
  • Peer support groups
  • Private clinics and facilities
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Local medical and/or psychiatric societies
  • You can also check the phone book under “mental health,” “health,” “social services,” “hotlines,” or “physicians” for phone numbers and addresses. An emergency room doctor also can provide temporary help and can tell you where and how to get further help.
  • ·

There are a great many resources out there as well:

  • Mental health specialists, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, or mental health counselors
  • Health maintenance organizations
  • Community mental health centers
  • Hospital psychiatry departments and outpatient clinics
  • Mental health programs at universities or medical schools
  • State hospital outpatient clinics
  • Family services, social agencies, or clergy
  • Peer support groups
  • Private clinics and facilities
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Local medical and/or psychiatric societies
  • You can also check the phone book under “mental health,” “health,” “social services,” “hotlines,” or “physicians” for phone numbers and addresses. An emergency room doctor also can provide temporary help and can tell you where and how to get further help.
  • ·

And if you, or someone you know, are in a crisis:

  • If you are thinking about harming yourself, or know someone who is, tell someone who can help immediately.
  • Do not leave your friend or relative alone, and do not isolate yourself.
  • Call your doctor.
  • Call 911 or go to a hospital emergency room to get immediate help, or ask a friend or family member to help you do these things.
  • Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255); TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889) to talk to a trained counselor.

But none of this really addresses those within the community who also have depression, in any form. This article started because I have been diagnosed with – and constantly struggle with – depression. From an early age, I have gone through some of the lowest of moods of anyone I know. Depression runs in my family. My mother and brother have also been diagnosed with major depression. My husband might only admit to being depressed due to certain personal situations, yet I honestly believe he too has major depression. If we were to have children, there is no doubt they too would be diagnosed with this illness. I thought I was alone as I struggled with understanding my needs for external energy, could it be possible I am not the only one in the community who struggles with depression, as well?

Keeping others like myself in mind, I initially looked about the community for members interested in participating in an interview. Not only did I have more respondents than I initially expected, several requested that it be kept completely anonymous. I decided to make it completely anonymous and created a survey. Yes, there has been some confusion over the purpose of the survey, just as there has been some derision over the survey. We have even been accused of wanting to link vampirism to mental illness. Nothing could be further from the truth. I might not have any scientific studies to back me up, but I know that my vampirism is not all in my head; I know I am not crazy. Yes, the community has its share of crazies, not even including those who are not actually members, such as the criminals who constantly get labeled by the media as a vampire due to blood being involved in their crime. We cannot deny that there are crazy people in this community. Well, I cannot. I refuse to do so. Just because something is not pleasant does not mean it is not there. Having a mental illness, of any kind, does not negate vampirism (although it should give you serious pause when considering someone as a donor), even if others would have it be so. Perhaps those individuals need to be handled more carefully, but the most likely still need the support of the community.

And even recently, we have seen that there is still a stigma attached to mental illness and even treatment of that illness, which is supported in the survey with approximately 80% of respondents stating they have noticed symptoms of depression yet chose not to seek out professional help. This stigma just should not be. We are born who we are. And it is especially disturbing to find such a stigma so rampant within a community of vampires. Do we not fight the stigma of mythical and fictional creatures on a daily basis? Stigma can be destroyed, however, without understanding. I do hope that we can come together to create that understanding, regardless of how long it takes.

I can supply a copy of the survey if readers would like. I know that I learned a lot from creating it. I have learned that I am not alone in this struggle to maintain both my physical and mental health. I have learned that a lot of community members have some great “insider” tips for those out there who are also struggling. I think the most important thing I took away from this whole experience is that there is a gaping hole in the community when it comes to resources for vampires with depression. With that in mind, I created a safe haven for my fellow community members. It is open to everyone, run by community members (not professionals), and is growing all the time as new discussions and information are added. I invite you to join those of us already there…

http://gypsupportgroup.ning.com/?xgi=2hVJAvb8S3YAkj

 

 

 

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Comments
  1. deacongray says:

    An amazing piece, well written and not just current but an important matter for our community today.

  2. […] by THE GRAVEYARDPRESS 29 April, 2012] According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), depression is “a […]

  3. […] article states that it was based upon a survey of the VC held at the time. Another article which discusses the prevalence of vampyric depression was just published yesterday, and provides some valuable insights into not only one person’s experiences, but also allows […]

  4. Mikhiel Karten says:

    Ive been there, felt the same, Im still there, feeling the same things. I am also a 27yr Army Veteran, Im a Combat & Disabled Veteran. Im lucky I have the VA to help. I dont talk about being a modern Vampire though. That’s one thing they’d never understand. I hope the rest can get the help we all need.

    • That is the exact reason I created the support group, Mikhiel. How many of us (by which I mean specifically those of us dealing with mental health issues and not ALL vampires) are lucky enough to have a therapist or counselor or whatever that we can be 100% honest with? I know of ONE person. She is lucky to have found that therapist.

      If you’re interested, stop by the group. It is in its infancy, but has great potential and members will only help it meet that potential quicker!

  5. By the way, just wanted to let everyone know that some information has been added to the group site. It’s a work in progress, but worth it!

  6. Update: I am in the process of moving from the Invision Free boards to Ning. Please, join us there!

    http://gypsupportgroup.ning.com/?xgi=2hVJAvb8S3YAkj

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