A couple of weeks ago someone posted this quote on Facebook. They really got some feedback, a lot of it negative. (I think some people were having a bad day.)
I responded to a comment from someone who said they were offended by the quote. I thought commenting to this person was appropriate as this is a Facebook page that focuses on mental health and encourages dialogue.
Then a few days ago, I was feeling “down (I knew where it had started and was working on it) but then someone made a few remarks that stopped my progress in its tracks. I realized though that my reaction to her was just that, my reaction. She wasn’t having a problem, I was. She couldn’t possibly plummet my mood. Only I could do that.
That got me to thinking back to this quote. If you’ve followed me very long, you know that I’m not a fan of many of the little “hip, hip hooray “sweet” inspirational sayings. For example, I hate the phrase, “It is what it is”, “Bloom where you are planted” and many more.
BUT, that doesn’t mean they don’t contain some truth. And if it helps some people, good. But why so many were offended by the first quote is beyond me. Lots of things “hit a nerve” and when I’m feeling “down” it’s certainly true for me as well.But as I said in my last post, what’s the alternative? Doom and gloom?
If anyone can prove to me how jumping in the pit with someone, helps them get out of the pit, I’d love for them to tell me.
I would think giving them a “rope” makes more sense. Not platitudes, no “pull yourself up” kind of remarks, but a rope of love and acceptance and yes, when the time is right, maybe some realistic ideas that could help.
And maybe the biggest question we should ask ourselves is, “What if it is true?” Or,”Can I learn something from this if I were to think it through and not react?” For example, “It is what it is”. I don’t like that because to me it implies hopelessness but on second reflection, maybe I would be better off sometimes by buying into it and not constantly feeling as though I have to single-handedly change the world.
I like this better though:
The other remark I read was, “Why does everyone else seem to think they know how I feel and what I should do?”
You know what? We’re not unique in our depression. Why do you think there is a “standardized” list of symptoms that determines whether a person suffers depression? It’s because when depressed people describe their symptoms, they pretty much describe the same symptoms. The causes may be different, but the illness and its symptoms are pretty consistent across all reported cases.
So depression feels pretty much the same for everyone. I’ve yet to read a post by someone who is clinically depressed that sounds any different from anyone else, including me. As long as we think our depression is somehow unique, we are never going to listen to any advice. We are sure these strategies that have worked for untold numbers of others, couldn’t possibly work for us. Our depression is so much worse. (I don’t mean to sound crass.)
At the same time, almost all well-researched books suggest the same basic methods to manage depression, with or without medication. For example, exercise is suggested by most everyone for those dealing with depression, especially if there is accompanying anxiety.
Again, the symptoms and the management tools for dealing with depression are amazingly consistent.
I think the harder question is why some people recover from depression and seldom deal with it again, and others don’t. This is especially hard for those who’ve worked hard at getting better.
Heck, at various times in my own recovery process, I asked the same thing, “Why can’t I get beat this?” Eventually I did. But others have done the same things I’ve done and not got better. Did I work harder? Did I have more support? Did I hate depression more? Was the fact that I’ve never indulged in drugs or alcohol equip me better? Did it just “run its course?”. I wish I knew.
But for the life of me, I can’t understand why anyone gets so angry when people offer suggestions.
Can’t we just all be generous enough to agree that for the most part, people are trying to help? Can’t we allow for ignorance sometimes? After all, we all know depression is one of those illnesses hard to explain to someone who has never been there. Instead of reacting maybe we should be educating.
I sometimes think people get “miffed” when I say I haven’t dealt with clinical depression in a long time. They assume I was ever only mildly depressed. Nothing could be further from the truth. I was where many of you are now. I have the journal notes to prove it although they will never be made public.
I’ve also witnessed serious depression in a number of people I love. I can tell you unequivocally, that in every case, these people got better. And they started to get better when they realized they had a part in bringing on their depression. Once they admitted that, then they knew they could have a part in getting better.
As I said earlier, a few days ago, I found myself very defensive with someone even though what she said deserves thinking about. On this blog you can share your honest opinions. You can disagree with me. That’s how we learn from each other,through honest non-reactionary conversation.
As long as your motive is to help, as long as you use decent language, as long as you are not just reacting and have given serious consideration to my point of view, I would love to hear from you.
For me, I never comment on someone else’s post unless I think I’m helping. And I don’t comment haphazardly. I think before I write. But I have also offered a dissenting opinion if I think it adds to the conversation. I speak from my heart. I urge you to do the same.
God bless and I hope you have a good day.
PS.I’m currently working on a series about prayer and some great DIY projects that I can’t wait to post. Wait till you see the chrome and orange chest I just finished. Quite something. If you need to read more about depression please check out my archives. There is a LOT of material on this blog that can help. Also don’t forget to check out the books I recommend.