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There are a number of issues that present themselves pretty aggressively every now and again when triggered by an event or a happening, these issues, depending on our own personal experiences with them, affect us a great deal, and yet time always seems to numb the impact and the influence that they have on those less experienced, and the issue fades away until another, similar, event again triggers the response.
We all know of the phenomena I’m referring to, and although many of us tire of the banter that rises up, the static that always interrupts the conversation (and the policy) that never seems to happen we need to recognize the necessity of these conversations. It’s become so consistently, and loudly disregarded that many people are tired of the noise, but not because the issue in-and-of-itself is not important to them but because the noise is so deafening; again, it has got to be time to address these issues. But we have to understand too what it means to “have the conversation,” because many people—those that are resolute in their resounding sameness or helplessly afraid of change—do not understand what it is that the rest of us are trying to say, well maybe not necessarily what we’re trying to say but how we’re trying to say it.
The people on the both sides of any issue tend to be loud, and the word revolution can be tossed around a good bit; I do think that it is important to recognize that how loudly one supports ones issues is not a reflection of social permanence, for example the LGBTQ community and the issue of same sex marriage tends to be a topic that is loudly discussed, but those of you who may not understand: any movement that has, and continues to gain traction needs a spark of immense light that will become a flame that will continue to burn, that does not mean that-that flame will burn with a ferocious heat forever, it just needed something to ignite it so that it might continue to burn with the same social unanimity as the rest. An issue has to be bright enough or loud enough to disrupt our circadian routines long enough for us to refine our foundations.
This post, however, is not directed entirely towards the LGBTQ community, or is it targeting Gun Control (which has been another important issue with social inconsistent ripples), no I’m using this time to bring to light our stigmas of mental health, and most notably: Depression.
Depression still harbors stigmas of fear and doubt and disbelief. We still have a hard time, as a society, recognizing things that we cannot see and that influence our daily lives in a way that challenge our behavioral constitutions. I have suffered from depression my entire life, I didn’t begin to understand it until I left home, for the first time, and challenged myself to start my life, as an adult, in a place that was unfamiliar and uncomfortable. And, until then, I didn’t know that my father had also suffered his entire life from depression, and my sister was going through similar transitions as me. My dad spent several years in therapy and adapting to a medication that would eventually change his life, while my sister would spend the next several years on a cocktail of medications that would ultimately take years and years for her to perfect and to accept. I would spend the next few years on-and-off a handful of different meds and multiple therapists and multiple therapies.
It’s interesting to me how people who have never suffered from depression cannot relate to the world in the same way that I can, it’s hard to put yourself in someone elses shoes particularly if you never actually take the time to try. I have noticed that there is something about suffering from depression that allows people to experience the world differently than others, and I don’t mean the obvious symptoms. There exists a sense of empathy that depressives cast that others have a more difficult time relating to, it’s easier, as a depressive, to walk in somebody elses shoes and to want to feel what someone else might be feeling.
What is your experience with Depression? How does Depression present itself in your life?
Different levels of depression exist for different people, and maybe that’s why it’s so difficult for others to understand, or possibly even to believe. But we all relate to our emotions differently based on our own life experiences and intellectual purview, so it makes perfect sense that two people might relate to their depression differently.
For me, for a long time, when the waves of depression would consume me I would lose myself in a sense of overwhelming hopelessness. Even today, as far as I have come in managing my depression, I can stare out a window and get lost in how simply pointless everything is. I eventually learned to manage my depression on my own without the help of therapy or drugs, although the hours that I have spent in therapy probably weren’t a total loss.
I was sitting on my couch one afternoon completely consumed - it felt as if my connection to whatever it is that does bind us to one another had been severed, and not only was I alone, but my existence in-and-of-itself was...not meaningless, necessarily but just: pffh, smoke. It wasn’t that I didn’t matter, it was that to matter was a concept completely lost on me, it was a contrived standard invented to sell us on our own existence - so I was sitting on my couch staring out the window there was some movie playing on the TV, I often kept movies playing so that the voices of others would help to make me feel less alone (it was on all the time, especially at night), and instead of feeling sadness, like usual, when my mind would interrupt itself to remind me that I needed to “accomplish” something, whatever that something was, I just stood up and I did it, and then I did another thing, and another thing, and another, and every time that depression swallowed me, I would force myself to do something. It wasn’t easy, but it got easier. And now although I do still get depressed it no longer controls me. It’s almost like John Nash finding a way to live with schizophrenia by recognizing the difference between what was real and what was not, and then making a real effort to walk in the direction you want to go.
I think an important thing to recognize for those of you that do not suffer from depression but who have relationships with people that do, and I know how easy it is to get frustrated and how badly you might want to help, but helping someone with depression does not present itself, as a labor or a reward, in the same way that other efforts might present themselves: the only thing that you can do is let them know that you are there, and then to continue to be there. Whether being there is a few simple words every day, or on a fairly consistent occasion, or texting them videos of amazing music videos, or removing yourself and them from the routine, every now and again, in whatever way that you can. Don’t force it, just reinvent your relationship with them a little bit, because over time every little bit changes things by rebuilding the standard a little higher, and with a little more hope then before.