depression - "just get over it" - and other stupidities

Do you have a friend who suffers from depression?

Not?

Then you are not paying attention.

Research is stating more and more often that in every one of our friendship / family circles there is at least one person who does. 

Either it is openly known or seen, or carefully hidden by that person.  

Depression is an illness.  It is not a choice like what movie to see, what day to go to the dentist, what colour top to put on or whether or not to have a 2nd cup of coffee.  

Depression does not jump up and wave a large flag in your face when it is about to swoop. It is either there all the time, or sidles up to you every now and then, usually without warning, visits for a while and then slithers off.  You do not get to choose, it is not like a hotel booking where you say "five nights please". 

When diagnosed with any other serious illness, people would normally find themselves treated with great sympathy and genuine caring.  The person who has the sickness did not ask for it, and has to live through / with it, sometimes without a solution, sometimes being made well by meds and sometimes not.  It can be sporadic or a fight every day. But society is kind and sympathetic. Sadly this is not always the case with depression, which causes the same situation as above. 

Depression (and I spoke to a lot of people before I wrote this article) is very often seen as the sufferers' fault - are any of these familliar to you - either because you have to hear them or because you say them to others - Pull yourself together, Don't worry it will be better tomorrow, Think positive thoughts, Don't worry we all have sad days, Find a hobby, Remember there are people with worse illnesses etc etc. 

Depression seems to give some other people a very strange opportunity when it comes to dealing with depression sufferers - the opportunity to always blame everything on that person. 

We had an argument?  I was unkind to you?  I treated you badly?  I treated you disrespectfully?  I hurt you?  I do not have to apologise because YOU suffer from depression and thus are oversensitive, over ridiculous, over reactive, weepy and annoying.  Some people find this weak spot and utilise it to the full.  It gives them the opportunity to treat you however they wish, when they wish to, because they never have to apologise or rectify what they did - they can simply blame you and your depression. 

The question is - the person with depression is fighting an illness - what is your excuse?

Yes it can be hard to deal with someone like this, no denying that, but before you judge them, ask yourself what about your mood swings, your bad days, your irritability - are these acceptable because "you are just human" and why does this not apply the other way around? 

Many depression sufferers have the situation well under control, usually with medication, sometimes combined with therapy.  Yes they have "all fall down days", but so do all people in the world.  Yet the depression sufferer is judged for it. 

The stigma associated with depression, especially in more serious forms, often leads people to hide their condition so they do not have to hear the stereotypical comments when it does not go well in their lives.  Believe it or not - when a depression sufferer has a real shitty day at the office - it can be just that - a real shitty day - it does not have to be linked to their health.  It is just a normal healthy real shitty day. 

So if you are a depression sufferer, pick those you tell with great care, because that is how you buffer yourself against it being used against you. Sadly society has a long way to go.  If you are having a depressive bad day, week, month, please remind yourself that this is an illness, not a choice.  If you are having a normal bad day, week, month simply because it is just that, then revel in it. 

And next time someone blames your depression on your reaction to the way they treat you, just quietly remind yourself in your head "what the hell is their excuse". 

So I wish you love and laughter and light, especially on the dark days.  

And remember ..... you are perfectly normal ...... maybe a little crazy sometimes .... but perfectly normal. 

see you soon 
c'est la vie xxx













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