At other times when we expect depression to call, it passes us by, seemingly waiting for a better opportunity to catch us unaware or off-guard.
I’ve been offered lots of helpful ‘solutions’ over my two personal encounters with depression, ranging from “What have you got to be depressed about?” to “Start thinking more positively & it will have to leave you” to “It’s all in the mind!”
Comment 3 is priceless but very true!
Comment 1 is positively unhelpful as if I knew what I had to be depressed about I could perhaps either alleviate the situation by eliminating the causes or simply choose when I wanted a really debilitating session or just a 5-minute quickie!
Comment 2 is hopefully naiive. If that were true then there should be no depression as we could simply wish it away.
I’ve also been told, “Oh! I don’t have time to be depressed!”
As hilarious as these comments are, they are also an indicator of the general lack of appreciation or understanding of what depressive illness is & perhaps more importantly, how it affects us.
We aren’t being ‘intentionally selfish’ or ‘uncommunicative & miserable’.
I believe that such comments also reflect a general fear in society that “If person X can be depressed, perhaps I can too & I can’t handle that!”
We don’t wear a bandage on our head but we do suffer deep pain in our soul & it’s those people who care to hang around long enough or who care enough to hang around at all that may start to appreciate our daily struggles.
If I look at June 2013 I have so much to be thankful for with probably had more highs in my life than for a long time: I’ve played at major music festivals, had a great month of business, met lots of really lovely people, renewed old friendships & made new ones.
Yet, amongst all of this I have been hunted down by my old adversary & once again hit pretty hard.
This isn’t meant to be a sympathy-gaining blog entry; I want to encourage those of you who may be asking, “Why has this happened to me again?” or “What have I done to find myself back here?” or even saying “This must be my fault!” to grasp that no matter how long or short the battle, we can’t always hang a ‘responsibility’ or ‘a good reason’ tag on our experience.
Whether we’re experiencing life’s highs or lows, expecting the illness to strike or not, know where it came from or not, we need to realise that we are subject to the unexpected & haven’t always deserved it.
Sure, sometimes we may involve ourself in so much activity that we try to shut out thinking about where we’re at & hide from our situation, or even deny that we need help. This isn’t helpful as we can only run on the fumes of empty for so long. We may run but we can’t hide.
BUT neither is it true that the remedy is to sort ourself out, snap out of it, think happy thoughts & all will be well.
The danger with these approaches is that we become so self-condemnatory because we see no immediate progress. Rarely is recovery from a period of depression either quick or easy, but for many of us, releasing ourselves from the guilt imposed by others (intentionally or unintentionally) is a good first step to finding a way forward.
We can be our own worst enemy, but we don’t have to let others help us 🙂
So I want to say, “Thank you” to those people who I know that have been brave enough to say, “Stuart, I’ve no idea how you must feel but I am prepared to stand with you” & “How can I help?” or whatever other expression of care we find helpful. At least these can open doors through which we can walk to start on a new path to some kind of recovery.
Sometimes we can’t help ourselves, but others can if we allow them.
I hope these ramblings have made sense to at least one of my readers. As always, I’m very happy to hear your comments & experiences.
Until next time …