Tuesday 13 September 2016

The Thing about Depression

You can muddle along for years. Literally. Sometimes you manage to crawl out of the pocket of darkness and feel what you imagine must be happiness. But it tends not to be sustainable. Circumstances happen. Situations. Set backs. Knock backs. A large mallet to hammer you back into the ground for daring to pop your head up. How dare you! You miserable no good at anything wretch!

The world often seems like a place I’d rather not be anymore. It’s a struggle to remain—much harder. The rules aren’t fair, for one thing. And this thing people call ‘caring’, ‘love’ ... what 53 years has taught me is that lip service has come to have more value than active demonstration in a language the person affected can translate into meaning.

And people are scared. They’re scared of depression in others. How do you bring a person up from rock bottom without somehow feeling responsible for the aftercare, which means time—which is precious. And weighs heavy.

But the worst part of depression is the isolation. You cannot talk to anyone about how low you’re feeling without them feeling that they either need to wash their hands of you altogether, just in case you stain them, or feeling that they need to cover their own backs. Notify authorities to step in “for everyone’s sake”, so the buck is passed on, and not square in their hands. BUT, to a depressed person, that threat (for it is one) is enough to make them clam shut.

And there lies the problem. Now they are well and truly on their own with it all, while the well meaning words whoosh past their ears without ever sinking in.

Maya Hayward


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