The world’s eyes have turned to the Robin Williams story. He is a man that we all loved, and we really had no idea that he was in so much pain. We mourn him.
While there is now much debate on what could have/should have/would have been done, I thought it might be a good time to share some of my own travel through the black hole.
First, let me say, Depression is not a decision. You don’t decide to snap out of it any more than a Diabetic can just snap out of it, or someone with a broken leg can just decide that the leg is no longer broken.
There are many factors to Depression. Stress, trauma, abuse, chemical imbalances, and yes, all the junk and GMOs in our food supply, toothpaste and deodorants. I am sure there are other factors also. It’s a complex disease and cannot be treated by waving the magic wand. There are no easy answers.
We’ve all had “bad days,” sad days, betrayals by friends, deaths of loved ones. This is NOT Depression.
Depression is a world where there is no time, no passage of time. I am stuck. I cannot move forward. I cannot remember good times, good friends, or the receiving of love. I cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel. I cannot believe there is light. My faults, failures, pains are magnified, and they overtake me, they push me down, they stop my brain from logical thought. The pain is excruciating, and all-encompassing. It’s nearly impossible to ask for help, as my voice is also broken. I struggle to ask someone for help, only to be pushed away.
If you fell down and broke your leg, the pain would overtake you. You would not think, “Gee I really love pizza” while you are in agony.
There is a reason it’s called a Mental Illness.
For years its victims have been looked down upon, especially by Church Folk. “Oh you just need more faith.” Would you say that to someone with a broken leg?
I remember some Church Folk telling me about a neighbor of theirs who had committed suicide. “Well, you know, she had mental problems.” Did you do anything to help her? Did you ever invite her to dinner? Invite her to the movies? Have a cup of tea with her? Sit with her while she cried?
As most of you know, I am a Christian, I do believe in Jesus, and I do memorize scripture. This did not make me immune to Depression. Yes, there is a spiritual aspect to it, but it’s not the only part.
The Church has been ignorant and just plain mean to people who suffer with real sins and pains. The Church is supposed to be a hospital, not a gas chamber.
So while the spotlight is on Robin Williams and his pain, maybe something good can come out of this? If you see someone in pain, help them. Sometimes a listening ear is the best gift you can give someone. It doesn’t cost anything except your time. Don’t give advice, just listen. Offer to bring them to a doctor or counselor, but don’t push.
Another debate going on is the use of anti-depressants. Personally, they saved my life. I do know of others who had terrible experiences, and were made worse by them.
If someone is hit by a car, and breaks their leg, they lie there in agony. A person will call an ambulance. A team of EMTs will work on the person, place them into the ambulance, bring them to the hospital. A doctor will administer pain medication, set the leg, and put it in a cast to heal. Friends and family members will offer help with driving, cooking and cleaning.
Why don’t we treat Mental Illness the same way?
6 thoughts on “My own personal crawl through depression vs. a broken leg.”
I am with you 100% and yes appropriate medication was a lifesaver to me too! There were times when prayer and spiritual support was really helpful but there were others when what I needed most was a hug, a shoulder to cry on, someone to listen and really hear me. Someone who like in Avatar would say, “I see you”. Sometimes I needed practical help, tidying, cleaning, shopping, making meals. At one point I couldn’t go to large grocery stores as I was completely overwhelmed by choice. I also got into debt as we ate out so much or got takeaways as I wasn’t coping. Support with practical things including finances is often essential when someone is really feeling down. Don’t leave it to someone else.
Michelle, thank you for sharing your experience. I also have trouble cooking sometimes; the thought of chopping, cooking, timing, and cleaning up after is overwhelming. For “civilians” who don’t understand that, you need to thank God you don’t know!! I’m glad that FINALLY it’s “ok” for us to talk about Depression, and not suffer “alone.” It’s sad that it took this tragedy for it to happen.
Agreed. I made a conscious decision when I set up my current blog in April that I would try to be authentic even when it scares me.
I have had members of my own family who suffered from depression. I suspect there are more in my family who also have this terrible illness. I try to be supportive and understanding ~ as much as I can. I always feel so bad because I can’t make it better.
Hi Terri, my husband also found it hard that he couldn’t somehow make me better. I think the thing to remember is that the depressed person isn’t expecting you to wave a magic wand for them and make them better – and actually some people’s attempts to do so can be really misguided and hurtful. I know when I was at my most depressed, I knew it wasn’t logical for me to be depressed as my life was good, and yet I still felt terrible. I think that is one of the ways you know it is true medical depression and not just a short term feeling.
I think people mean well-they hate to see those they love in pain. I’m glad the world seems to be talking about it–hopefully more people can get the help they need.
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