Here I am again, Wednesday, mid-week and to all those with jobs they hate it is hump day again. Music today is from the fab four (again, yes dear reader, again). Copyright is owned by Universal Music and Northern Songs not me but please enjoy as you read the musings of an introverted extrovert.
If depression were a physical illness it would take so many forms it would be seen as a virus, it comes upon those of us prone to the illness without warning and how we deal with it depends on how deeply we have fallen.
I have been reading Susan Calman’s book “Cheer Up Love” which deals with the Crab of Hate (Susan’s depression/paranoia/anxiety) and offers tips for those who don’t suffer with depression on what not to say to someone affected by depression. To give you a couple of examples of my own pet hates which people say to me when I’m in the depths and everything looks black and uninviting:
- Cheer up love! This makes me think they are condescending to me because they don’t understand how much I want to die. They could at least offer me a gun, knife or rope so I can do the job properly.
- Pull yourself together love! I’m not a pair of fucking curtains, if it was easy to pull myself out of the darkness don’t you think I would do it? I hate feeling this way and there is nothing I can do when people talk down to me but want to smack them in the mouth which wouldn’t make either of us feel better.
It is much better to ask things like “How are you today?” but you have to be prepared for the long explanation, if it comes. Most depressives will answer that with “I’m not too bad thanks, how are you today?” This doesn’t mean they are feeling good within themselves, just that they don’t want to talk about the dark mood they are in.
Depression is one of the worst illnesses because it is all about you. You are focusing on the things you perceive as being wrong with you: too fat, too thin, ugly, unloved, maybe even hated. This can be hard for others to deal with. So we try not to burden anyone with how we are really feeling.
I took a CBT therapy class once and the therapist took the time to listen to my views on what was wrong and then told me I had to re-learn how to cope by not focusing on the big picture as this was just going to keep the downward spiral going. After 10 weeks he got me to the point where I could go into a crowded supermarket without having a panic attack. Going out wasn’t a problem as I could avoid people easily when out and about, I didn’t think I could face a crowded supermarket but by focusing on positives and helping myself I gradually got to the point where I could lead a happy and fulfilled life.
That doesn’t mean the black hole doesn’t try to swallow me up from time to time, it just means I now have coping mechanisms to deal with it. I feel that I am better able to deal with the dark hours as long as I act quickly enough. Doing things that I’m told that I can’t do is one of the best ways to lift my spirits. No I don’t mean kill someone or take chemicals to alter my mood, I mean eat ice cream, sweets, drink sugar enhanced soda, watch a movie (particularly a good (or even a bad) horror movie).
Different things work for different people and mechanisms help us to cope with the blackness when it strikes. The next time you want to tell someone to “Cheer up love” don’t. Try and ask them how they are feeling and be prepared for a long answer. Together we can beat depression, but don’t leave it to people like me to provide all the answers because depression hits everyone differently and there is no magic catch all solution.