Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Depression achieves its victory in isolation.

{Gaming, Austria}
If you could draw a picture of depression it would be a small prison cell in the middle of nowhere on a deserted island.

If depression was a person, he would be a tyrant leader who banishes you from the world.  Depression wants you to be alone and would do anything to separate you from other people.

Makes you feel like you are not good enough to have friends…
Tells you that no one will understand or want to help you…
Tells you that your life is not worth living…
Makes you believe that your friends just spend time with you out of pity…
Tells you that all the good things in your life are just coincidence and you really don’t deserve any of it…

When you are outside looking in (have a loved one struggling with depression) it might be difficult to try to understand what is really going on.  It is helpful to realize that the person suffering from depression does not cause himself/herself to have the depression.  The isolation or loneliness that is a result of the depression doesn’t come from the person struggling from depression.  They are not choosing to be a victim.  They are not choosing to be alone.  Even though the illness makes the person feel like they did choose it for themselves.

Left alone, depression can cause a lot of damage.  However, depression is very treatable.  Depression treatment can be viewed like a tripod.  One leg of the tripod is counseling or therapy, one is medication or self-help methods, and, last but not least, is the support system or community.

Depression is highly beatable, especially in a community.  You see, depression is most effectively defeated when the suffering person has loved ones and friends he/she can depend on.  Since the nature of depression is isolation, one can combat its life-threatening symptoms with camaraderie.  Whether it is friends who also have depression or other friends who can still support you, there is strength in numbers.

Some people need one or two other friends to help them on their road to recovery.  And some people need hundreds.  In my personal experience, the more people I included in my support system the better off I was.  My depression was constantly looking for ways to rear its ugly head again.  I really have to be on guard.  If I am with someone who doesn't know about my struggles, I can easily slip into a downward spiral again.  So the more people I tell, the more I am able to heal.

Blogging has helped me tremendously in this department.  Through publishing my fears and struggles with mental illness on the web, I am, in a certain sense, telling everybody and anybody.  I don’t know who reads it and who doesn’t.  So, in my mind, it could be anyone.  This possibility helps me to be myself and focus on recovery 100% of the time no matter who I am with.  I can’t pretend to have it all together because I just wrote yesterday about how scared I am to let go of my eating disorder.

At first, I wasn’t sure if I could handle this transparency or not.  But, it turns out that it has been really good for me.
I am free.  I feel like I am allowed to be myself no matter where I am.

No more pretending.

This wonderfully liberating experience didn’t happen overnight.  It took me a long time to even open up to my closest friends and family members.

If you are trying to heal from mental illness, you might not be ready to tell the whole world yet.  And that is totally fine.  But if you want to, I say, go for it!  You are not alone.  So many people feel or have felt the way you do and want to help!  You are not alone.  You are never alone.  Do not believe the lies and despair mental illness can feed you.

Challenge of the day:  Make a support system list.  Write down all the people who can help you overcome your fears and struggles.  Write their phone numbers next to their names and put the list on your fridge.  You are never alone.

No comments:

Post a Comment