Is it worse for me to experience depression or worse for the people close to me (?) Those who have to watch me experience it (?) And what effect does my often extreme behaviour have on those people around me when I’m in the grips of depression (?)
Some considerable while ago, in fact probably six or eight months ago, (The last contact I had with either of my Daughters) I received a series of text messages from my sixteen year old Daughter, who I have not seen or actually verbally spoken to for about four years (Not for want of trying). After not hearing from her for so long she proceeded to say she was feeling depressed, lonely, thinking of running away, had been drinking and smoking weed and trying not to ‘cut’ herself.
Around the same time and on many occasions since, I had a serious chat with a friend and colleague whose wife is suffering terribly with depression right now and has for many years. Together they are dealing with a continual change in routine to their young son’s schooling. I was experiencing first-hand the effect this pressure was having on him as a person, being a man who loves someone who is in a dark depression caused mainly by anxiety.
These two scenario’s got me to thinking, first of all about the suffering of my Daughter and my friends Wife, and then about the effects of my and other peoples depression on those that are close to them, and those close to me.
I suppose the reality is that there are differences between men and women. As a man listening to a Daughter in need, the knee jerk reaction may be to want to fix it. I completely resisted this which was very unlike me (!). Being an Engineer, if something is broken I try to fix it, which is not always the best thing to do, so for once I simply and carefully, just asked questions to get her to verbalise (in text) in greater detail what she was going through and what was causing her such angst. The fact that I am many thousands of miles from my Daughter to some degree is academic, for if I were close by, she wouldn’t want to see me in any case (due, in part at least, to the poison they have been exposed to by their family abroad and that twisted mirage called “justice”).
With my male colleague, I was able to offer some avenues of hope and facilitate possible help.
The last of many therapies that I underwent was delivered by a wonderful Doctor of Psychology. It employed some CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) as well as some psychoanalysis. I talked about this with my friend for a while and even if this in itself were of no interest, it may have opened up another avenue of consideration that was previously unknown.
Whilst I still battle and suffer every day and have a very finite goal for the rest of my life, maybe that’s just the way it’s going to be for me. More and more I am coming to accept that depression for me is simply part of my path and sometimes I can accept that and sometimes I would pay a big sum of money for a person to “put me down”.
Either way, if I die tomorrow, I don’t care … I truly don’t.
… What about the effect this would have on the folks that are close to me?
… What about my kids, what effect would this have on them (?) irrespective of the fact that I haven’t seen them for so long (?)
… What about my Sister and Brother and many good friends (?)
You see, I often think it would be better for ALL of them if I wasn’t here … and if that happened in a car crash or something out of my control, then that would be easier for them to handle than me committing suicide.
Depression and other mental illness can distort reality.
I don’t know much about anything, but I can tell you this, I have had 40 years of experience of suffering with depression and I’ve studied the backside out of the subject, and, when in a state of depression, ones view on life, can be a bit like looking in one of those warped mirrors that we used to see at fairgrounds.
Curiously for me, it can bring such stark reality that it can provoke me to write or take action. How that action manifests itself though (other than writing) is a potentially dangerous “place”.
But let us get back to the opening question. Depression, is it worse for the sufferer or the loved one (?)
I’ve seen it from both sides. I grew up watching my Mum suffer with depression all her life. I’ve seen my Sister suffer greatly, I am now witnessing, albeit from a distance, the potential that one of my Daughters is suffering, and I work very closely with someone who is the “loved one”.
I guess the actual answer, is that we are all humans and none of us are the same, and that which causes some folks great distress, maybe something that another just “takes in their stride”.
Knowing what my depression feels like, I know I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, and I would rather suffer this than have someone I love go through it. But, I wonder is that actually rather selfish (?).
You see, I know I can be an ill-tempered so and so sometimes, I can be terse, abrupt, impatient, foul mouthed, irritable, angry, and be too quick to reach a conclusion……….and that’s on a GOOD day (!!!!). I’m trying to interject a little humour to this rather dark subject.
On a bad day, I can be so introvert, monotonic or if I am able to talk, I can be so acidic and hurtful in my manner that even a saint would punch me on the nose (and I’d deserve it too)!
So, my conclusion, based on my basic faith in human nature, is that most people are just straightforward ordinary folk who want to live a peaceful and fun life. Given this belief, I reckon that it is probably worse for someone watching their loved ones battle with the torment of the damned and they would rather take that load themselves.
For myself, knowing both sides very well, if I could relieve any of those close to me of depression, I’d rather take an extra “portion”, but what of the effect of doing this on those I love (?)
You see that could be rather selfish as well, couldn’t it (?)
I wish you all peace and hope and specifically to those of you who love someone who suffers with mental illness.