I’m including some notes on depression today. This is a repost with some updates. It wasn’t supposed to go out until this week but I saw yesterday that it was published last week. I’m going to blame it’s premature posting on the grandkids or the grandkid’s puppy.
Table of Contents
- 1. Memes and silly”Pinterism’s”
- 2. It is what it is. Is it really?
- 3.Well-meaning remarks and depression
- 4. Be Generous/more notes on depression
- 5. An exciting offer
1. Memes and silly”Pinterism’s”
A couple of weeks ago someone posted the quote below on Facebook. That person really got some negative feedback. I really couldn’t understand the reactions. 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 weeks ago someone made a remark that stopped me in my tracks. It made me doubt myself. I realized later though that my reaction was just that, my reaction. They couldn’t possibly plummet my mood, only I could do that.
But that got me to thinking about people who offend us, people who try to help us by quoting 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 that people post on IG, Twitter, or FB. For example, I hate the phrase, “It is what it is”.
However, just because many of these little “Pinterisms” are trite and overstated, they sometimes do contain a bit of truth. And if it helps some people, I guess that’s good. When we’re feeling out of sorts, some of these rah-rahs’ are just what some need to get back on track. It’s certainly better than being crass or rude.
2. It is what it is. Is it really?
For example, “It is what it is”. I dislike it because it reeks of hopelessness and defeat. If we say it too often, it makes us numb to real issues. And can we agree there are plenty of real issues in our world right now?
(On second thought, maybe I would be better off sometimes by buying into “It is what is” It might keep me from jumping on my white horse trying to solve everyone’s problems.)
I like this next quote much better because it offers more hope.
I actually think some meme’s (and yes, I see I just posted one. I didn’t say they were all silly.) go against what the Bible teaches. And the Bible never teaches helplessness and hopelessness. Instead, it teaches hope and encouragement.
3.Well-meaning remarks and depression
Often people who are depressed will be inundated with all kinds of well-intentioned advice. Sometimes it is not received well, often because depressed persons feel no one else has ever felt this way so how can anyone else help? But as I have often written,
Our depression is not unique. It just feels that way.Tweet
A. Diagnosing depression
(1.)A standardized test
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.
(2.) We are not unique
Depression feels pretty much the same for everyone. Some people display more physical symptoms while others display more emotional symptoms. Others eat and sleep too much while some do just the opposite. So when the questionnaire lists sleeping disorders as a symptom, it applies to both sleeping too much or sleeping too little.
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 because our depression is different or much worse. (I don’t mean to sound crass.)
C. Same general treatments used for all
Almost 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.Rebecca Platt
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? Did I ???????
I wish I knew.
4. Be Generous/more notes on depression
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 triggering 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.
A note of explanation. I am not remotely suggesting that we always bring on our own depression. What I am saying is that once we are depressed, we can either help ourselves get better by making better choices and changing some behaviors and attitudes, or we can make it worse by refusing to be an active part in our healing.
A. Sharing your story
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 what I’ve written, I would love to hear from you.
This needs to be the year when all of us can learn to give others the benefit of a doubt. It starts with us. We can break the chain by being honest ourselves and allowing others to be so as well.
I’m excited about the plans I have for my blog. I’m excited about the books I’m writing. And speaking of books:
5. An exciting offer
I have ten book stubs to give away for a free copy of “Depression Has a Big Voice”. I will be sending it out to ten people who are willing to contact me at email@example.com. I will need your e-mail or regular address. You will have to enter the code at the Westbow site. All the information is on the stub. If you send me your e-mail address, I will copy the stub and e-mail to you. You don’t need the physical card. Please include the phrase “free book request” on the subject line.
I should add, there are a couple of grammatical errors in the book. I didn’t think to re-edit the professional edit. I mean why did I pay the big bucks for editing in the first place?
Anyway, lesson learned.
God bless and have a great day and stay healthy.