My recovery from manic depression has been an evolution, not a sudden miracle.- Patty Duke
When I drew a blank as to what this month’s column should be about, I began asking several people for some ideas. One person very near to my heart suggested I write about my experience with depression.
“But I’m not suffering from depression?”, I replied inquisitively.
“Yes, but you do have a considerable background of dealing with it.” I was informed.
Sadly, this was correct. Like most adults I have experienced the occasional bouts of anxiety or depression but never as a condition, or diagnosis. To some who know me this is considered a remarkable achievement considering the many obstacles and downfalls life has thrown in my direction through the years. But I refused to let it beat me down and with a fist pump to no one but myself I swore sometime back that my mental and emotional stability would prevail, would remain steadfast despite the implicit setbacks.
Unfortunately, this strength could not be shared, or taught. I found myself on the outside looking in as several people I held dear wrestled with their inner demons, believing there was no way out. My lacking-in-wisdom sage advice was more detrimental than helpful. When I found myself repeating the same words and catch phrases over and over, and the outcome of my intervention producing no improvement whatsoever, I realized it was time to admit there was little I could do.
If a friend came to you asking how to treat a cold they had, you could tell them. Maybe you could suggest the best approach for an itchy scalp or a slight bruise. Information obtained from experience or the diffusion of common social knowledge. But if this friend broke an arm, or was experiencing dizzy spells, you would choose the logical route: tell them to see a doctor. Depression is a condition that only a professional should address, you cannot suggest a possible cure, even recommend a series of actions to help someone suffering from this malady. Nothing will help. In truth, your good intentions administered though helpful advice could do far more harm to the individual.
At best, your involvement will be a temporary fix, not the long term answer. Without a doctor’s involvement depression festers, intensifies, its tentacles pulling the sufferer deeper into an abyss, four walls in a room with no windows and no doors, no furniture. A room where you sit naked on the floor in the center with your head between your knees, rocking slowly back-and-forth hoping for someone, anyone, to save you.
The way out is the light of compassion. The helping hand comes from the love and understanding of family and friends who will put you onto the right path, directing you to someone trained and experienced, someone with years of accumulative knowledge to help you the way you need to be helped. An arm chair doctor selling snake oil is not what depression needs.
RjCook is the author of The Road Behind Me & Dream Lover and Other Tales. Click HERE for info.