Before judging people living with depression let’s take a dose of empathy and walk a day in their shoes. Every life is filled with its own unique challenges. Some people deal with these challenges better than others. I want to celebrate those of us who live with depression every day. In my humble opinion, these folks are impressive!
Have you lived through life events such as; an abusive childhood, being the victim of a crime, the loss of a loved one, divorce, domestic violence, job loss, a major illness or any other emotionally charged life event? If so, and you’re here reading this blog, that is fabulous!
I’m no psychologist, but I have certainly experienced depression. I have also had people close to me suffer from depression. When I was in the early stages (the first few years) of my illness, depression was part of my daily life. I went to therapy, rested, and leveraged the love and patience of my family and friends to pull me up. I was suicidal and felt absolutely lost. It was only the fact that I had a young son that shook me out of actually killing myself…seriously!
It is unfortunate that we only hear about or acknowledge depression when it is followed by a tragic event, especially if it is a celebrity suicide. We only remember the tragedy not the person. We wonder why someone who has so much would ever do THAT to themselves! Consider what just happened with Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade. Following these suicides, the media discussed depression in terms of “what should have been done.”
Why don’t we embrace people with depression and mental illness as a society BEFORE things become critical? Why don’t we make the symptoms more public, and try to reach people before they hurt themselves others?
Our culture doesn’t fully embrace the existence of depression. We generally think of depression as weak, and tell people to “get over it” or “you’re just sad.” Many people who live with depression keep it to themselves. Few will tell close family or friends. Most would NEVER tell an employer or a love interest for fear that they would run for the friggin hills! Depression can be as debilitating as a bad flu and can last much longer. So why are we so afraid to discuss it and/or openly admit it? Why do we turn to alcohol, drugs, sex, or other addictions to self-medicate? There are many signs and symptoms besides addiction
Here are a few signs that you or someone you know might be suffering from depression:
Sleeping a lot/tiredness
Lack of interest
Eating imbalance (too much or too little)
Trouble concentrating or focusing
There are MANY more symptoms, but these are a few that I have suffered from. We all go through some of the symptoms one or two at a time, but when they multiply or limit life events we should pay close attention.
The solution is not to put people with depression in a bottle and put them out to sea. We need to create an inclusive community where people are accepted and loved without judgment. Isn’t this better than wishing we’d sent them to a hotline for help only after a tragedy?
If you are suffering from depression, here are a few things that have worked for me:
Find a good therapist,
Talk to a friend or family member you trust
Ask for help
Try helping others (really makes one feel good)
Be careful about how much negativity you watch on TV or read online (overly indulging in news etc can contribute to feeling down)
People with depression who find a way to survive and live with it every day are truly impressive. One thing we all know is that life can deliver unmeasured amounts of “fresh hot hell”.I celebrate, congratulate, acknowledge, and admire those of us who manage to get up and out every day despite depression!