I was reading a post the other day and this man I don't know very well was talking about depression and how he felt worthless. He talked about wanting just one day where he liked himself. I wrote a comment. I usually wouldn't but having OCD means that I too have weathered some bad depression in my life and I felt the need to tell him that he was not alone and that he did matter. I hope it helped coming from someone who understands.
What bothered me were the comments he got that were well intentioned but common comments we all get when we are struggling with any mental illness. Things like," Things will get better with time," or "It will all work out soon". "Keep your head up" and "It will all blow over," are all comments we have heard before. And although, the person means well, it ends up making us feel more isolated and alone in our suffering. We know that things will change with time but in the deep dark recesses of depression almost nothing can penetrate the darkness. It is the proverbial black hole that swallows any light, any semblance of hope. The bottomless pit of despair in which one can no longer tell time. What good is it to tell someone in that pit that things will get better when they are unable to see that far?
It doesn't really make them feel any better. It only makes you feel better to say it. In a world where people are uncomfortable having other people be open and honest and talking about their feelings of depression, anxiety, or pain, people don't really know how to respond. What seems like a comment of support ends up feeling more like a minimalization of our pain. So, what do you say to someone whose pain is something you can't really understand? How do you talk to them without seeming blase or obtuse? How do you offer support without seeming like you just don't get it?
This is only my opinion, but what has always made me feel better is someone telling me that I do have worth. That I have a great purpose in this world. It helps when someone forgoes the typical comments of me just accepting my pain and moving on because the world changes and I too, can soon be full of rainbows and unicorn farts rather than this deep searing pain that eats through my soul like an acid, and instead telling me that they are there to listen. Just listen. Because sometimes all we need is too feel less alone. What helps is people that have gone through it or are currently going through it telling me that they support me, they understand my pain, they know how I feel. What helps is being told that I have every right to feel the way I do and that I am allowed to talk about feeling that way. That I do not need to "buck up" or "get over it". That I do not have to chide myself for feeling depressed. That I don't need to look for reasons as to why I feel this way or make excuses for being depressed, scared, or in pain. Because it doesn't matter why or why not, it only matters that this is where I am at right now. What helps is being told that I mean something to the ones I love. What helps is being accepted even if I may not be the life of the party. Most of all what helps is a heartfelt sentiment that reaches out to me and lets me know that there is someone on this God forsaken planet that may not get it, may not totally understand, but cares enough to go out of their way and talk to me about it. That calls me just check in on me. That shows up at my house with ice cream or a movie or even just a cup of coffee to sit with me and be there. Someone that stands up and reaches out because silence is a killer and sometimes when we are screaming for help it falls on deaf ears and mute mouths. And that is probably the saddest tragedy of all.
I made a pledge years ago that if someone was hurting, then I would reach out. Even if I didn't know the person very well, at the very least I would send them a comment telling them that they were many things in life, many wondrous magnificent things but the one thing they would never be, could never be is alone. That I got it. I understood and I was rooting for them. That I was pulling for them. That I was sending positive thoughts their way. That I cared. Maybe it isn't enough but I really try and all I can do is my best and hope that if or when I should find myself in the bottomless pit of despair again, someone would do the same for me. Because we all deserve support, love, and understanding. We all deserve acceptance. We lose too many good people when our ears are closed and our mouths are shut. We need to support each other loudly and with extreme compassion each and every day. Depression isn't something to play around with or overlook. Depression can be deadly so we have to be open to hearing it, caring about it, and ever vigilant when dealing with it. All we can do is what helps.
To all of those who are dealing with depression right now, I support you. I am rooting for you. I am pulling for you. You got this..... And as always you are never alone.
Sending positive thoughts your way.