Our Mental Illnesses
So many people are dealing with depression right now. I see it in the news and I have read it on social media from friends. I have a cousin who lost her father last year and she still has a hard time going out in public and has yet to go to any family functions. She was his caregiver. He was her life. I can understand how this has damaged her. I miss her. Although I make it a point to reach out to her. She will not have visitors, so I call or text or chat with her on Facebook.
My friends on social media are dealing with many different things. One post asked,” How deep will my depression go?” It becomes a disturbing thing to know that so many of us are dealing with depression in one form or another. The question becomes, how do we deal with each other’s depression? I try to be understanding of friends and their troubles. Trying to give advice that is sincere. Knowing that my advice will only go so far and mostly be ignored. Still hoping that somehow, I am helping.
My advice is probably no better than anyone else’s advice. I tell my friends to try and stay active in their own creative things. I say,” Don’t watch the news. Just let the rest of the world deal with it for now and you take care of what you need for yourself.” Honestly, I believe this will help but right now so many of us are stuck in the perpetual news cycle it seems addictive. So, we watch and are worried and become more depressed than ever.
I worry for my friends trying to fix broken relationships. Friends that have become depressed because their partner is having mental issues and either denies it our doesn’t want to deal with it. So, it is wrecking both of them. These are the kinds of mental issues that drive friends away because it becomes so hard to relate to or to simply put up with. The term “put up with” sounds cold when you are talking about depression or other mental issues. The facts are when you go visit your friends and are bombarded with things that seem like nonsense to you and may even be verbally attacked by a person who is not acting like the person that they used to be, it can be hard to go back. You really want to understand and be there for them and their partner but maybe you just can’t put yourself through it again. Now we have our own depression to consider. How much do we put ourselves through? Can we be in this for the long haul? We know we should because we love our friends and we say we will always be there for each other. Will we? Can we?
When we feel that we have reined in our own depression, it may be tough to be comfortable with someone else’s depression. Is this going to trigger me back into the depth of my own personal hell? Am I being selfish? What should I do? I have had this argument with myself before and it is not an easy battle to win. And really, what is the winning side of this one? If I don’t go visit my friend and be there for them, I am filled with guilt that makes me feel just awful and then I become depressed. If I continue to go see my friend who is so messed up right now, then I end up all caught up in their shit and I become depressed either way. So we are both screwed.
I have come to the conclusion that everyone in the world is mentally ill in one way or another. There is no way that any of us can get through this life without it. Big or small, we all have it. We may not know it but it is there. We all see things differently from one another. We all react differently to situations that we are in or that we witness. Our stresses in life are dealt with by each of us from subtle to extremely different ways. Something that I may laugh at may send someone else into a panic attack. There is no normal human being.
We all have ways that we try to detach ourselves from our own ills. For some it is religion. For others, it is leaving their religion. Some turn to drugs and alcohol. Therapy and prescription drug is another way. We must decide which is right for us and not going to send us deeper into despair. Some find comfort in helping others. Myself, I find having a creative outlet is a big help. If nothing else it is the feeling of accomplishment and an escape from my own mind for a while.
In the end, I believe the best thing we can do is to be good to each other. We are all in this thing together. Like it or not. Why make it harder than it already is? Just be good to each other.
The Dirtfarmer’s Wife