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  1. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    How do you protray a character with depression?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Link the Writer, Aug 16, 2011.

    In my Heridon Copper stories, one of the main protagonists of the group, John Grouse, suffers from severe depression. He's taking anti-depression meds, but doesn't think it's working. As the story goes on, it gets worse and worse until he decides he just can't take it anymore.

    My question is: How do I accurately protray someone with chronic depression that he/she just can't seem to get out of? Is there a length of time? Could depression increase? Could he be depressed because of a horrific tragedy in his childhood (that happened decades ago from the time the story starts)? Or does the tragedy have had to occur recently?
     
  2. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Depression can either be clinical (brain chemical imbalances), or due to bad weather or boredom, or PTSD-related. It can definitely get worse with time if the person doesn't deal with the root of the problem. I'm assuming you mean PTSD in John Grouse's case, because of the terrible childhood tragedy. With PTSD, it can either get worse or better, depending on whether you work through the trauma or not. It can also fluctuate and pop up when you least expect (or want) it to.

    How to portray his depression......he sleeps too much or not enough, ditto with eating, he might isolate himself, not care about his appearance or hygeine, might have nightmares/flashbacks, be unmotivated, very low self-esteem, hard on himself etc.
     
  3. proserpine
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    proserpine Member

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    Depression can occur without a tragedy, due to chemical imbalances in the brain. It doesn't always need a catalytic event.

    Mallory gave good examples of how someone with depression may act, but they may not fit that mold. Sometimes, a depressed person, medicated or not, may just seem sedate and apathetic.

    If you make your character too anxious, me may need anti-anxiety meds instead, or he may seem bipolar (with periods of extreme manic behavior alternating with periods of depression). In that case, he is not simply depressed.

    Good luck with your writing.
     
  4. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    That's very true. They can range from sad to apathetic to anxious to overly angry. Many depressed people can hide it so everyone else thinks that they're perfectly chipper.
     
  5. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Also, PTSD is more than depression. There are other symptoms with that which can complicate things immensely.

    There's clinical depression, chronic mild depression, situational depression - all have some similarities but also significant differences. So first you have to decide what your character actually has - then research that illness.
     
  6. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Good responses.

    I haven't heard of situational depression before. I should look into that.
     
  7. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Oh, of course. Depression is one part of PTSD, but PTSD has many other issues under its giant umbrella. And just because you have PTSD doesn't mean you will have all the same symptoms. People react in different ways. (Same with clinical depression or other non-PTSD-related problems) :)
     
  8. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    I recommend reading how people that live it describe it. Not one or two but several.

    "Describing depression" search provided alot of links.

    "When hell feels normal"

    http://www.health.com/health/condition-article/0,,20188730,00.html

    Depression is a life of hills and valleys, your either in the deep or you know the cliff is approaching. When you feel "good" to long, you know the bad is coming back with a vengence.
     

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