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I know I can count on you in good times, what about bad times ??????

We are social beings and we thrive on interactions and connection with others, be it family, friends, colleagues or acquaintances. We cherish moments with others and as such wherever we find ourselves, we strive to establish connections with others, either momentarily or long-term. We love it when we have people to share experiences and make memories with.

But how do we feel, when our desires to love and be loved, to accept and to be accepted are not fulfilled? And what about when a connection we had with someone is severed, such that it no longer is what it used to be? How about when you are going through a difficulty and there is no one you could count on, especially if you would have wanted someone in your close circle? It hurts to be disappointed, but it hurts more when your friends are not reliable enough to help you out of a difficulty.

It is easy to look to others for solace and comfort, but maybe, it is about time we ask ourselves if we are ever at any point in time, able to offer comfort to someone going through a difficulty, or better still someone battling depression (since it is the focus of this blog). It is very easy to lose your cool with a depressed person, the feeling that they are being insensitive and would want your undivided attention and care. It is not easy to live with a depressed person. They have special needs and they can only pull through and out of their condition with the right assistance.

In last week’s episode, I mentioned how you could help a depressed person (Click this link if you missed last week’s post Help me, but inform yourself first of my condition). And now that you know how to identify warning signs of depression, the next big thing you could do is to Talk with the person you are concerned about.

But then, it is not just about talking, it is about “listening without being judgmental”. This isn’t the time to play the “I think you are right/ wrong card”. Because you know what, knowing does a better job of devaluing themselves than a depressed person. They have already condemned themselves and you wouldn’t want to compound that feeling. Remember, it is not about you and it will never be about you. It is about a friend you are concerned about and want to help. Besides, you wouldn’t want to give the impression that what they are going through is a fault of theirs.  Instead, what they need from you is love, care and support. You may not be available 24/7 for them, but to a depressed person, it would mean so much more than companionship, to know there is someone looking out for them and someone to count on. After all, we believe recovery is assured when we have a support system and work collectively.

Together, we can heal. Be the help someone needs.

Help me, but inform yourself first of my condition

Depression is real and the stigma associated with it is more real. The increasing rate of depression and its associated risks raise a cause for concern and underscore the need for us to openly discuss it. Luckily the more we know about it, the better suited we are to take care of ourselves or help someone who requires help.

Living with someone with depression can be very difficult. On the surface, we have no idea what the person is going through and we may feel the need to ignore the person because they may be trying to court our attention. Or better still, they are being too soft. After all, we all have issues of our own to deal with. Sometimes, we may want to help, but we are faced with the challenge of not knowing what to say to the person or how to help.

Are you concerned about your current state of mental health or you know someone with depression and wondering how you could help? You could first and foremost

Inform yourself about depression.

Imagine you go to the hospital to see a doctor about an ailment you have and the doctor is unable to help because they have never been faced with the condition you are presenting, and he never saw the need to learn about the condition. How would you feel about the competency of the doctor? Will you recommend their establishment to another person? You will obviously be wondering how helpful they would be to a patient considering their ignorance of the ailment or what treatment options are available.

This scenario can be applied to the relationship between your knowledge of depression and its subsequent effect on your health and that of others. Knowing what depression is and what it isn’t will help you differentiate between a feeling of blues and a debilitating condition. It will also be essential as it would enable you to decide when to seek assistance or when to take life easy. The key to recovery partly lies in your knowledge of depression.

Be informed, save a life.

 

The paradox of depression

Life is filled with sorrows. No matter what we do, we will in the end die. We are, each of us, held in the solitude of an autonomous body. Time passes and what has been will never be again.

Depression is a birth and a death: it is the new presence of something and the total disappearance of something. Birth and death are gradual, but the birth and death constituting depression occur at once. When depression strikes, the first thing that goes away is happiness. You cannot gain pleasure from anything and soon other emotions follow. You lose the ability to trust anyone, to be touched, to grieve. eventually, you are simply absent from yourself.

Rebuilding of the self in and after depression requires love, insight, work, and, most of all, time. Depression exists as a personal and a social phenomenon, and to treat it, one must understand the experience of a breakdown, how medications work, and the most common forms of talking therapy.

 

Excerpt from “The Noonday Demon”- Andrew Solomon