Raising Elves

As wild as nature. Myself, parenting and natural remedies blog.

Depression is not Dirty Laundry

25 Comments

I find it incredible, the reactions I receive from some folk after I have written about depression or shared posts about depression on my Facebook page.

For the most part, friends or loved ones might mention, the next time they see me, that they read it and ask how I am doing. Nothing huge. No big deal. Just a gentle reminder that they care for me.

Some might say nothing at all- and that is perfectly OK too as they might not have anything to say about it, or might just not know what to say. But they acknowledge it in other ways through simple acts of kindness.

Some might be uncomfortable letting me know that they read my blog, which I understand.

Very occasionally, I find a small number of people change.They may be hostile or passive aggressive- I don’t know what airing my depression triggers in them. Embarrassment? Are they embarrassed that someone else might read or know about it? About me? Some may post on Facebook about how people should just get on with it or how we all choose to create our own happiness. The folk who react like this are minuscule (and of course they may actually not be reacting to me, because, I know it’s not all about me), but I need to be clear when I say this:

finaltree

I don’t care for attention. I don’t care for pity. Let me tell you now, I would much rather FEEL the happiness and joy that is in my head.

And although I cannot always FEEL my joy and although, sometimes, there is a chemical cloud suffocating my joy, I will never stop talking about it.

Why?

Because there are people out there who suffer in silence. People who have depression and don’t even realise they have depression. People who end up causing serious harm to themselves at this time of year. People who commit suicide just to get away from the pain that many people simply cannot fathom to exist. But it does.

Why do I risk being seen as a person looking for attention, or airing their dirty laundry or simply not behaving the way you want me to behave?

Because I CARE about those suffering in silence. I want them to know they are not alone. I want them to know that although I may not be capable of empathising with the depths their depression takes them, I can say to them that they are not alone, that it is nothing to be ashamed of and that even if there are a few incredibly stubbornly ignorant people out there who seem to think depression is something you choose, I understand.

And I have hope. I have hope that one day people will feel brave enough to own it, and find ways to pull themselves out of the gutter or to even just survive while they are down there. I have hope that one day people who have never experienced depression will see it as yet another physical illness- because it is.

It is physical. It is debilitating. It is the loneliest place you will ever find yourself. It is the worst pain. The pain you can’t escape. The kind of pain that makes you wish for death.

Depression is NOT a choice.

It’s the cards you’ve been dealt.

And I have no problem exposing all that is flawed within me to the world.

HERE.I.AM.

FLAWED. IMPERFECT.

DAMAGED GOODS.

I am more than that, though. Much more. But those things aren’t as important to talk about.

Nobody suffers being a good mother. Nobody suffers being a caring, empathic person. Nobody suffers being good craic. Nobody suffers being accepting of others. That is not suffering.

I don’t need to tell the world how fucking amazing I am and I sure as hell am not going to lie.

I need to speak to those suffering in silence from a physical disease, in a world that seems to think it’s a ‘makey-uppy’ excuse for feeling a bit sad.

Depression is a debilitating illness that has serious consequences if it continues to be brushed under the carpet with ‘You’ll be grand’ or ‘Sure aren’t we all a bit down sometimes, and don’t we all just get on with it’.

So, if you have found this post and it is relevant to you I implore you to please not take offense. I implore you to hear me. I implore you to not respond to a depressive with a suck it up, or a lecture on choosing happiness. If you don’t know what to say because you don’t understand it, you can stay silent, you know?

Or you could just be honest and say:

I really don’t understand depression, but it sounds really awful. You really don’t deserve that and I hope you get better soon. (Optional) Is there anything I can do to help?

Watch this: (Many thanks to Emily in comments for this recommended watching) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Evwgu369Jw

 

 

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25 thoughts on “Depression is not Dirty Laundry

  1. I suffer with depression and have done for some time now. The hardest thing I find, is telling people. I dare not tell work as there is such a stigma that surrounds mental health (especially in the workplace) that people often live double lives almost. You’re post really reached out to me and made me evaluate quite a few things, thanks!

    • Thank you so much for your comment. I really appreciate the time you took to let me know that it reached out to you. I remember, when I was working, how hard it was to continue to be myself during times of depression. It’s so hard, especially when you have to keep it quiet due to stigma. I wish you all the best.

  2. I have to say, I am stunned that someone would react like that (suck it up, you will be grand) and yet, the more I think about it, the more I realise it has been said to me. Often! Maybe not when I’m Depressed, but when I’m feeling shite or down or overwhelmed. Brene Brown has a fantastic 3 minute animation on empathy vs sympathy… well worth a watch and a share 🙂

    • I find the suck it up approach is often done passively through meme’s and share it quotes although I have been told ‘everyone gets down. We just get on with it’. I’ll have a look at that Brene Brown now. Thanks.

  3. It takes a lot of courage to speak out about Depression. To have done so and then attract such ‘unhelpful’ attention must be so frustrating. And upsetting. But some people just don’t ‘get it’. Like they don’t get parenting children with Special Needs, especially those with an ‘invisible’ special need. Much easier to say ‘bad parenting’ or ‘get on with it’.
    Best ignore them. If they’re friends then maybe they’re not the friends you thought they were.
    If speaking out has helped YOU and even ONE other person then that is the best, most helpful outcome of all.
    Keep talking!
    And take care 🙂 x

    • I like to think so, that speaking out has helped enough people that it makes up for feeling exposed and vulnerable. Thanks for taking the time to reply.

  4. Don’t mind the people who are unhelpful, at least if you keep posting, one day something might get through to them, and then they will understand, Meantime you are helping lots of others who feel alone and guilty for being eternally positive. Thanks for this post xx

    • Ah thanks. In the hours of regret and vulnerability after I post anything to do with depression, I hope that there are folk out there who find solace in it.

  5. Thank you Laura. Thank you very much for writing such a clear & personal piece. I feel cared for in its company – in the company of a friend I’ve never met.
    I know a lot about my depressions. One of them has just arrived at the front door and I don’t know how long she’ll occupy my place. Until she leaves I’ll be distracted by heaps of pain.
    And your words are balm.

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  8. It is not easy to make yourself vulnerable and talk about things openly such as depression so I thank you for writing about it, especially for those who suffer in silence. Some people I think react the way you explained out of their own shame and insecurities as well as because the stigma that society still holds against depression and mental illness. We are slowly breaking down barriers but we need to keep talking about it so that the conversation becomes less stigmatised until the stigma is one day completely gone. Merry Christmas, Laura. ♥ xx

  9. Well done for speaking out about depression, you are right it is not a stigma or taboo topic nor should it be. I have depression and some of the responses I have got is just stupendous. It makes me angry that mental health issues are not treated as illnesses and instead ignored.

    • I just think that if a person hasn’t experienced it they cannot begin to understand or empathise. I also think humans can be stuck in the old box of seeing is believing. Sadly.

  10. I’m afraid I sit in the don’t really understand camp, although through blogging and meeting others online who suffer from depression I am starting to understand more. I am shocked that people perceive it to be something you can ‘suck up’. No one should have to deal with this on top of what they are already going through. I am sure this post will help others, just reading the comments above I can see its already doing that xx

    • Thanks for your comment. I don’t think it’s easy to understand unless you’ve been through. As a result, I think it’s just individual personalities that react and some are more skilled at empathy than others.

  11. It is sad to think because still want to brush depression under the table because it causes them to feel weird or consider it dirty laundry. Let them be and just keep voicing yourself and hopefully be a light at the end of the tunnel for someone who desperately needs it. Great post.

    • Thanks Miranda. It really is a minority who react this way, thankfully. Although this minority could cause so much damage to a large number of people coping with depression which is why I feel the drive to talk about it. Thanks for your comment.

  12. wow, I’m so sorry you have had harsh responses. I think it’s great to speak up through a blog, and give a voice to people who feel silent about this.

    • Thanks Kate. It is a sad thing to see and hear mindless responses in regards to depression. I think it’s a good thing too, to speak up- even if to just let others know they’re not alone.

      • Yes absolutely. So many people hide away their feelings and feel like they have to put on a brave face.

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