The irony of depression: what the eucalyptus tree can tell us

by Martin

in A Depression Blog

I haven’t written much on here lately.

Partly because I’ve been busy on other work. But partly because I’ve been too depressed.

Odd isn’t it? I can only write on my website, when I’m not too depressed.

Actually, that is precisely why the site is called

In fact, I think that depression’s ability to strip you of the mental wherewithal with which to fight it, is its most pernicious characteristic.

In normal circumstances, when things go wrong we may be a bit battered and bruised but we have the mental resources to do what it takes to put ourselves back on track.

It’s a bit like the eucalyptus tree.

In a bush fire the eucalyptus tree can usually survive because of its epicormic buds. These are buds hidden under the surface of the tree’s bark which remain protected from the fire by the bark.

When the rest of the tree’s vegetation is lost to the fire, the epicormic buds are stimulated to break out, thus regenerating the tree. That’s the tree’s normal reaction to adversity.

But there are some bush fires so severe and so intense that the tree is burnt to its core, stripping it of its survival mechanisms.

That’s what depression can do to us.

On reflection, I suppose this is a characteristic common to many afflictions. The alcoholic knows that that he needs to quit drinking, but the drink strips him of the capacity to act on that knowledge.

I think of it as the irony of depression. But of course it’s not humerous irony, like the much of the delicious English wit upon which I was raised.

Instead, it is a bitter irony – like being murdered by your own bodyguard.

Here are some of the things that can help with depression, but which I find I can only do when I’m not too depressed:

  • Exercise
  • Socialise
  • Write creatively
  • Meditate
  • Garden
  • Play in an engaged way with my daughter
  • Be a good husband to my wife
  • Stick to CBT type therapy
  • Feel positive
  • Make plans
  • Have hope
  • Walk in nature
  • Believe in myself.

So there it is.

In order to take action to fight your depression, you need to make sure you are not too depressed – and then do some or all of the above.

I suppose we need try to protect our metaphorical epicormic buds somehow.

I guess that is one of the main arguments for medication.

Does anybody have any other suggestions about to how to preserve our metaphorical epicormic buds in the face of depression’s fire?

About the Author

Father, husband, writer and website publisher, discontented in his day-job, he writes here about depression - his own and in general. You can follow Too Depressed on Twitter. Please share the content on this site with all your friends, followers and contacts using the buttons above.

Contact the author

Last revised on September 15, 2012

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: