A couple of weeks ago someone posted the quote below on Facebook. That person really got some feedback, a lot of it negative. (I think some people were having a bad day.) I really couldn’t understand the reactions of some people. I find this quote actually true because “things” (more of them or less of them) has never been proven to equate with happiness.
Then a few days ago, I was feeling “down” but was crawling out of it when someone made a remark that stopped my progress in its tracks. I realized later 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 about people, people who offend us, people who try to help us with trite euphemisms and silly little sayings. 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”.
But just because many of these little “Pinterisms” are trite and overstated, they sometimes contain a bit of truth. And if it helps some people, good. Lots of things “hit a nerve” and when I’m feeling “down” it’s certainly true for me as well. But at least these little “pollyanna” phrases are meant to lift our spirits and:
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.
It’s certainly better than the “pull yourself up” kind of remarks from a person who’s never experienced depression. (Or perhaps it makes more sense to say, never “admitted” to depression.)
And maybe the best question we should ask ourselves is,
“What if what is being said contains some truth?”
Or,”Can I learn something from this”?
For example, “It is what it is”. I don’t like this one at all and I hear it all the time. I hate it because it reeks of hopelessness, not acquiescence.
(On second thought, maybe I would be better off sometimes by buying into “It is what is” ((maybe more, “They are who they are.”)) thana feeling as though I have to single-handedly change the world.
I like this better though; it offers more hope.
Often people who are depressed will receive all kinds of well-intentioned advice. Sometimes it is not received well. Often because we feel no one else has ever felt this way so how can anyone else help? But as I wrote the other day,
Our depression is not unique.
Why do you think there is a “standardized” list of symptoms that determines when one’s mental health can officially be classified as depression? That’s because when depressed people describe their symptoms, they pretty much describe the same symptoms. The causes may be different, the manifestations of those symptoms may look different but the illness and its symptoms are pretty consistent across all reported cases.
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.)
Also, all well-researched books, doctors, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals suggest the same basic methods to manage depression, with or without medication. For example, exercise is suggested by every mental health professional as one of the most important tools for managing depression, especially if there is accompanying anxiety.
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, while others struggle throughout their entire lives. This is especially hard for those who’ve worked hard at getting better and just can’t seem to get there.
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? Did the fact that I’ve never used alcohol or drugs make a difference? Did it just “run its course? Did I pray more?
I wish I knew.
But for the life of me, I can’t understand why there is so much anger on social media about just about everything.
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 a “well-intentioned although ignorant” remarks sometimes? Besides, haven’t we all done that?
After all, we all know depression is one of those illnesses that is hard to explain to someone who has never been there. Instead of reacting maybe we should be educating.
I sometimes think people have a hard time understanding my personal recovery. 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 and every once in a while, to remind me of where I used to be, I read them. It’s very painful.
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 either causing their depression or exacerbating it. Once they admitted to one or the other or both, they started to heal because they knew they could do something about it.
As I said earlier, a few days ago, I found myself very defensive with someone’s remarks even though what she said deserved some thought.
On this blog, you can share your honest opinions, whatever they are. You can disagree with me. You can offer help when I need it. That’s how we learn from each other, through honest 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 thoughtful 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.