You’ve probably seen those commercials where the announcer and the actress playing the part of a depressed person try to answer the question: Does depression hurt?
Once when we saw this commercial, my mother turned to me and asked whether my depression hurt me physically.
I had to say yes. I don’t think I ever took Cymbalta, the medication that the commercial was touting, but I was clear on the fact that physical pain is involved along with the psychological suffering of depression.
My head and eyes hurt from all the crying spells. My back hurt from lying in bed all day. I had painful knotted muscles from the anxiety that went with the depression. I had intestinal cramps because my overactive nerves led to irritable bowel syndrome. I had headaches and eye strain from the over sensitivity to light and noise. And I had the general flu-like malaise that is practically the hallmark of depression. You know the one. Every bone and muscle aches, but you can’t think why.
Were these aches and pains psychogenic? Undoubtedly some of them were. But others, like the irritable bowel, were all too demonstrably physical phenomena.
The mind and body and soul are inextricably intertwined. We know this to be true. Depression affects them all.
And it does hurt.