Depression; There is Hope By: Lori Loesch
This depression thing has come to my attention since the suicide of Robin Williams, because of his high profile, depression is getting the attention that it deserves.
I saw a post from the website, TED talks. I watched a video of Andrew Solomon. An intelligent, successful man. He spoke of how the opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality. He opened a door leading down a hallway of depression, that I had never entered. I feel better educated about depression. Listening to his talk, changed the way I had viewed depression.
I didn’t want to know that; depression is genetic, it is; That you can be strong and successful for most of your life, weathering the storms that life blows at you, and then along comes depression. You feel like a dead person walking. You need medication everyday, and therapy for the rest of your life. It happens; That you must work everyday to keep your head above the dark water of depression. Everyday you need to work to keep your brain from drowning you in your negative thoughts.
What is it about depression that grips you? That wraps its boney, long fingers around your neck and chokes the life from you, slowly, and takes an act of God to break free? What is it that zaps your energy? What are we missing?
A policeman, who had patrolled the Golden Gate Bridge, for many years, said that a few people he encountered standing on the edge of the bridge, ready to end their life, the few who came back to the safety of the sidewalk, said that, the policeman listened to them. Listening to these people, that are feeling as hopeless as they can feel, changed their mind and their life was saved.
LISTENING: Have we as a society, as civilized people, stopped listening? Are we talking more and listening less? Is that what bonds people together? Listening?
A young comedian once said that when you have a broken arm, people come running toward you to sign your cast. When you say that you suffer from depression, people run away from you, fast! Shatter the silence. Teach acceptance of ourselves. You are sick, not weak. A diabetic takes insulin, daily, to stay healthy. When you suffer from depression, you need medication, daily to stay healthy. To stay vibrant, to stay alive. No one would tell a person that suffers from diabetes, to not take insulin. That would be a ridiculas idea, and a deadly one. The same is true for depression. To tell someone with depression that they should just, “suck it up”, is ridicules and can also be deadly.
Depression is one of the leading causes of disability, yet it is not being addressed, not for the rich, and not for the poor. Andrew Solomon said that the treatment for depression is appalling, but treatment today is better than it was, fifty years ago. We can hope that years from now treatment will improve. He spoke about how other cultures treat depression. In Rwanda, they take people that suffer with depression out into the sunshine, they play music, feel the beat of the drum, there is community. Here in our Western culture, we treat people with depression by: leading them down a long hallway, to a dingy, small, room, and talk for an hour about all the bad things that have happened to them.
I have learned that depression grips strong, successful people. People that have succeeded in life, but for reasons unknown, stumble and fall into the deep, dark, grip, of what we call depression. I don’t believe you are ever completely healed of depression. You manage it; you medicate it; you go to therapy; you listen to music, and get out into the sunshine, you communicate with others, that’s community. What ever works, use it.
Depression is exhausting. It’s an illness of how you feel. When you find healthy things that make you feel better, by all means use them to keep yourself from drowning in the dark abyss, called depression.
I’m going to listen to Andrew Solomon, again, on TED Talks. His voice is soothing. I like his intelligence, his demeanor. He starts by reciting a poem, and the way he recited it, held my interest. He got to me. I listened to him. He is a writer and I would like to emulate the way he writes. He has so much knowledge, he has traveled the world and has learned, by doing. I want to be like him. Like Maya Angelou. They are the writers that I look up to. That I would like to emulate. And, one thing I have learned about my inspirations, is that they have struggled, deeply. They write to help themselves and others. That’s a wonderful gift to give humanity. If I had never struggled in my life, I could not feel empathy for my fellow man. I hope that I will sit down, pick up pencil and paper, and write about my childhood. If it were to get published, and read, I would like it to give people hope. That my words will lift up. That people struggling as I did, will know there is hope. That you can escape your abuse, your prison. For, after all, it is not YOURS, you are not in it. It is being done to you. It is not your fault, and I am living proof, I’ll be-it, dealing with depression, but I am living proof that you can get out and live a better life. There is always hope.
I’ll leave with a poem that I wrote in 1986. This is the face, the words, of abuse, and depression. When I allowed a neighbor to read it, she thought that I was suicidal, I didn’t think as I was writing, that I was contemplating suicide, but maybe I was putting it to paper. I didn’t want anyone to think that I was mentally ill. Was it a cry for help, and I didn’t even know that I was crying out? Today, thanks to the knowledge I have gathered, I think, yes, I was crying out for help. It would take many, many, more years before I received the help that I needed.
Laying at the daggers edge,
Dripping blood upon my chest,
Too scared to run; too scared to fight
I hope the courage comes tonight.
And I thought I was leaning toward, running away. Not suicide. In my mind, the person holding the dagger was my step, adopted dad, not me. Oh the chains that bound, and bind me to this day because of what was done to me as a child. There is much more to it than just sexual abuse. The stalking, the mind controlling, brain washing, the guilt… BUT, here I am today! Alive and so thankful for the family that God gave to me. For family is Gods gift.