There is a great deal written about depression and yet a great lack of understanding by the average person.That is to be expected. Even if you have experienced depression yourself, it will not necessarily be the same experience other people have.There are many reasons why this dark cloud descends – all personal, all subjective.
Some people describe it as a feeling of loss. Others as being in a deep dark hole with no way out. The symptoms vary from person to person. I won’t list them as they are easily available online, or in the abundance of written matter. Dip into the wonderful book, Breaking The Bonds (Understanding Depression and Finding Freedom), by Dorothy Rowe, sadly deceased, one of her many books on the subject.
PUT A PLASTER ON IT
If you break a limb the diagnosis is easy. It’s something people can see and sympathize with. If you’re suffering from depression that is often a different story. You may feel neglected, lost in a flood of emotions you can’t explain or understand. You may feel totally isolated and apart from your family, friends, or the world in general. No-one understands you. No-one ‘gets’ you and they seem annoyed by your pessimism. No-one really cares, thus completing the circle of isolation you’re in.
You want a way out, but you’ve lost your sense of direction. You want to feel happy again, but you’ve lost the power to do so. You want to feel normal.
Stop right there! You are normal.
We are ruled by so many emotions, hormones and stress, it’s surprising that the whole world isn’t in a permanent state of depression. According to the World Health Organisation, India is the most depressed country in the world and Japan the least. No country escapes and our recent COVID lockdowns have added to the problem. In so many respects, teenagers have suffered the loss of their freedom during this pandemic, at a time when they should have been out socialising, making new friends, exploring a new world. Instead, they’ve been cut off, locked down.
Teenagers have a heavy load to carry. Mentally and physically they are ‘attacked’ as it were by hormones. Their sense of worth and self-esteem plummets, causing a backlash of behaviour that rocks not only their world, but the world of the people around them. They may act out in different ways wanting to be the ‘popular’ one at school. They may be angry and cheeky, sullen and withdrawn. A whole plethora of emotions triggering behaviour that is seen as abnormal. A whole plethora of emotions they are drowning in, and there’s no lifebuoy nearby.
Add a few more of life’s stressful situations to this mix and watch the flames get higher and higher. Family financial worries. Cultural beliefs. Divorce. Warring parents. Being bullied – and more. It’s a long list.
Who can put the flames out? Only one person and that is you – yourself.
Tell me, what are you afraid of? What makes you angry?
I’m not afraid and I’m not angry. It’s the people around me who’re angry, telling me what I should feel, what I should do. How would they know what I should feel? Of course, they can do whatever they like and no-one tells them off. It’s not fair.
Often when we feel angry it’s really fear about something we may not fully understand. We don’t know why or even what it is, so we react angrily.
Oh, so you’re another expert on what I feel?
No. Far from it. It was just a thought for you to consider.
People let you down. They say one thing and do another. They demand respect, but totally disrespect me. They don’t hear me. They don’t know me. I sometimes wonder if they even see me, who I truly am, how much I’m hurting. Yes, I’m hurting.
What does that feel like?
Sometimes it’s a ball of pain inside me getting bigger and bigger, until I feel I’m going to explode and bits of me will fly everywhere. Everyone will notice then. They’ll scream and even be afraid. Let them feel the anguish and the pain I’m feeling. Sometimes that core of hurt is so deep, I feel like it’s eating me alive like some crazy animal gnawing and chewing at me inside. There is no escape. Everything is meaningless.
That must make you feel very sad and alone.
It does. I’m stuck inside four walls that have no windows or doors. I know there’s no point in looking for a way out, because it doesn’t exist. Adults keep saying it will get better. Huh! What do they know!
What if I joined you inside that room?
Are you crazy? Why would you want to do that? Besides, there’s no way in either. So, if there’s no way in how did you get in?
Really! That’s such a stupid question. I didn’t choose to be in here with no way out. I didn’t build these stupid walls around me. It just happened. Stuff happens.
You’re right. Stuff happens.
I said that already. What’s with you? Are you going to repeat everything I say? That sounds like a good idea.
Well, if you hear your own words from a different perspective it might increase your self-awareness and understanding. You do want to be understood, don’t you?
Yes! No! It’s too late for that. This is it!
Ok, let’s rewind a bit. Stuff happened. It happened then – not now. Play a game with me. What if you were living in the present, the NOW, and not the past?
But I AM living in the present. This is NOW! Everything that happened in the past brought me here.
So you’re not living in the present then, the NOW! You’re still in the past. I seriously think you need help. You’ve lost the plot. This is the present. It is NOW!
Your meaning of why you’re here inside these four walls with no way out is all about the past, not about who you are at this specific moment in time. You’re cheating. The rules of the game say you are living in the present, the NOW.
Whatever happened in the past, happened. It’s over. Done! Do you think you can accept that and give your ‘NOW’ life new meaning?
It’s not that easy.
Of course not. Life would be so boring if everything was easy.
Do you think the past shapes who you are now?
I don’t know. It doesn’t matter anyway.
Come with me into the present, the NOW. Forget the past. Disconnect it.
Duh! That’s so lame and not possible. My thoughts won’t let me do that. There’s too much going on in my head. The people who make me angry are still here. Annoying and questioning and pretending to understand and being all lovey-dovey. What do they know? Nothing! It’s impossible.
Do you like words?
Remove IM from Impossible and you’re left with ‘possible’. Focus on that for a moment. Look around you. What do you see?
Oh! How did you get in here with me?
Where are the walls?
There aren’t any walls in the NOW. At this moment you are free. Take the best of what is and reconstruct it into the best you can be – NOW.
IF ONLY IT WERE THAT SIMPLE
Our taste in what we wear changes over time. Our taste in decor changes. A colour or piece of furniture we once loved now seems dated and out of place. We can move furniture around, replace or refurbish it. We can change the colour on the walls or add pictures. Everything looks different now, yet it’s the same room, the same four walls.
Keep what you love and allow it to be part of the healing process. Memories, good or bad, have served their purpose in your life. Remember, they are just memories, the past, not what you are experiencing now. Discard, bin, or delete, the stuff that you’re tripping over. It may take time, but gradually the pile of ‘has-beens’ diminishes.
Be kind to your Self and learn to love who you are. Strengthen your mental prowess and store a stash of ‘I’m Strong’ lozenges to chew on in the future.
Define yourself as the loving kind person you are – not by any past actions that prey on your mind. This is not a panacea for all difficulties in your life, but it sure helps. Your innate belief in yourself will strengthen you further. Be your own best friend.
Set emotion aside and listen to the people you love – and who love you. Something special, even one word will resonate with you. Keep the Flame of Hope burning. Always remember, you are surrounded by Love. You are not alone. Reach out and allow the healing to begin.
Read my blog – The Great Divide!
Click here ! Mental wellbeing audio guides!
I have written two novels available on Amazon