As a follow-up to last week’s anger blog, I’m moving on to depression. Not because I have it…I don’t want to trip off buzzers like I did last week. Hello blogland, if I’m ticked with you enough to call ‘end-game’, you’ll know it. I do have a real life…
So, depression… Do any of you have it? Do any of you deal with it on a regular basis? I do not suffer from depression. Oh sure, I get down from time to time—I don’t know a person who doesn’t—but actual depression. Nope. I do however deal with it on a daily basis. At least, two of my family members are bi-polar and at least one has seasonal affected depression. Add into the mix close, non-family relationships with people who also suffer from this illness and you have an unending challenge. The jagged line we walk is narrow and erratic.
Sixteen years ago, I had no concept of what depression is, what it is to live with it, and for the first few years, I didn’t even recognize it for what it was. I thought it was just being down. I used to think, “why the hell are you such a jerk?” Whoever said depression is merely unexpressed anger, missed the mark by a few feet. I see the anger all the time. And as someone who is relatively upbeat most of the time, I’d have to say it’s perplexing. I want to say “just get over it already…stop dwelling…for God’s sake if it’s that bad do something about it” but I know that’s not possible. You can’t just do something about it. You can’t just smile and say, “I’m fine, let’s go buy some daisies. Aren’t they sunny and cheerful?” Well you could, but it would be a lie. Depression isn’t something you can just get over. But as hard as it is for the person who has it, it's just as hard for those who live beside that person.
Have you ever wondered if the one you live with will be alive when you come home?
Not a pretty thought.
Have you ever feared that something you do, something you say, something you don’t say or don’t do will send them over the edge?
That’s enough to give you a disorder of some sort. It might even be enough to send you into a crying jag.
The difference is…I can have a good cry and afterward, see life as a good thing. I can see the sunshine. Someone with depression is most likely to have a good cry—if they do—and be sure that life isn’t getting any better than this. It just sucks and suck is the best you get…
But how do you deal with it? I’ll admit, I still don’t deal well. At least I recognize the cyclical swings now—in a surprising number of people. But there remains a sense of powerlessness. Ignoring the problem makes the sufferer feel…well…ignored. Like you don’t care. Not true. Addressing the problem can make it worse or garner the snarled ‘I’m fine”. Don’t want that either. Being vigilantly attentive is exhausting. Worrying is exhausting. Dealing is exhausting. See the theme? Powerless exhaustion. Which, by the way, can lead to situational depression. Like I said, a fine, jagged line.
I don’t want to downplay the horribleness of suffering from depression—particularly with a poor me because I deal with it from the outside. Even being as close to depression as I am on a daily basis, I can’t imagine the reality of dealing with such a disease everyday.
So…that leads me to this week’s question…whether you’re on the inside or the outside, how do you deal? What tips can you give other people? What warnings? What hope?