Yesterday on Facebook, I shared an article regarding depression. I shared this in hopes to bring awareness. There are a lot of people believing you can “choose” to be happy. I was one of them for a long time giving that message here on this very blog. When you are dealing with someone who has depression issues, though, it isn’t quite so simple. Unfortunately, I speak from experience having dealt with friends and family members with depression, and I have also battled depression several times throughout my 46 years.
For me, depression is more “situational” than a disorder or anything more chronic. What I mean by that is if situations are seemingly out of my control and the situation seems to not have a resolution in sight, I tend to get depressed. Once the situation improves, so does my depression.
I’ll give you a few examples of my “situational” depression through the years:
- Divorce from hell
- Ruptured Ectopic Pregnancy requiring emergency surgery
- My sister’s suicide
- My husband’s pornography addiction
- Issues at work – sexual harassment or bullying
- Seeing my children struggling
- Female issues with the insurance denying coverage on a much needed surgery
The above list is times in my life when I have felt the situation was hopeless at that moment in time, and I was given anti-depressants to deal with some of it. I most definitely was given anti-depressants when I had the ruptured ectopic pregnancy because I lost my left tube when it ruptured resulting in half of my changes of becoming pregnant again being taken away. And, let’s not forget that although the doctor said it wasn’t a viable pregnancy since it was in my tube, I lost the baby my heart so desired! I cried for days and weeks, so the doctor prescribed medicine for me to help. The same thing happened when we lost my sister to suicide. Just recently, due to all of the trouble with the insurance company and the health issues I am having, I was prescribed anti-depressants Monday to help cope with the situation. I have yet to take them this time, though.
It isn’t as easy as some people think to “get over” a situation that has really troubled your heart or a situation you feel you have no control over. Some people think if you just change your attitude or read a positive inspirational speaker’s book everything else will follow suit. Or, if you just exercise more or try to eat better, your life will turn back around due to your healthier lifestyle. If that was the case, there wouldn’t be a need for anti-depressants to even be on the market at all. People would be able to solve their own problems by lacing up their shoes to go for a run, as implied yesterday worked for the author.
For me, I can pinpoint what lead to my situational depression. With all of the health issues going on, I was not able to sleep. Even when I tried, I was awaken by the issue letting itself be known once again by way of pain or bleeding. If you go a few days without sleep, it will really wear on you. The result for me is crying all over everyone after days of no sleep! When the pain is so great that you are forced awake and Tylenol won’t touch the pain you’re in, you begin to feel helpless, which leads to feeling extremely low and in a depressed state. Then top it all off with the insurance denials, it seems there will not be any end to your pain and suffering because no medicine they have given you will make it stop nor ease the pain.
I’m sorry but exercising, reading an inspirational book, or trying to think positive does NOT help me when I’ve been in pain and haven’t slept. That’s just the facts! Now, after I have improved slightly this week, things don’t seem quite so bleak at the moment. I hesitated to even write that for fear the issues will rear their ugly heads even stronger than before.
The purpose of this post is to just tell you to tread lightly with people who are struggling. Whether they have chronic depression or “situational” depression, do NOT tell them to “snap out of it”, “pull yourself up by your boot straps,” or anything of the sort. Instead, be compassionate! If you have never faced what the person is dealing with, consider yourself blessed. Being that you don’t know their pain, whether it’s physical, emotional, or mental, you have no right to stand in judgement or tell them how to feel better or handle the situation! They don’t need your advice, no matter how well-meaning it may be. What they need is your care, concern, love, and compassion. If you can’t extend those, then keep your mouth shut! Plain and simple.
Take it from someone who knows.
It hurts – depression truly does hurt.
Be kinder than usual. You have no idea what kind of battle people are truly facing!