Tuesday, September 29, 2009

More on Depression

Dr. Ur-Spo commented that I had been whining (my word, not his!) about being depressed, but I did not give any information on what to do for people who are depressed.  This got me thinking.  What would I want people to do to help me in my depression?

First of all, I will agree with Ur-Spo's comment, "most people who try to help have good intent, but don't know what to say or do."  I really do believe that people do have good intent.  And to make people feel self-conscious about interacting with people who are depressed is not my intent.  But, maybe, helping people think of other ways of saying things is my intent.  I don't know.

I will state that all of what I am saying applies only to me.  I do not know what others are thinking or feeling.

When I get depressed, I am feeling horrible about myself.  I have a majorly over-developed superego.  The litany of "shoulds" go marching through my head.  "You should be more successful."  "You should be better."  "You should be perfect."  "You should not make mistakes."  "You should be all things to all people."  When people do the "count your blessings" thing, all that I hear is "You should see the good in this and you don't."  And it just heaps burning coals.

Also, there are people who feel that just telling the person that God loves them is all that is needed.  I want to say, "If this is how God demonstrates love, I would hate to see what happens to those God does not love!  If this is how God demonstrates love, it is really kind of pathological." 

What would I want to hear?

I would want to hear from people an acknowledgment that sometimes life does suck.  But first off, be real. Losing a house, a job, status in society, a place in community, ability to do what you once enjoyed, your freedom of movement...  This may seem like high level whining, but relative loss is psychologically real.  The Bible book of Revelation is based on perceived loss and relative loss.

Going from having the ability to travel where you wanted with little thought of cost, to having to plan for your one-week, once a year, vacation, which you almost didn't go on because of financial difficulties, can bring you down a bit.  Saying that you should be happy to be able to travel feels like a slap in the face.

By acknowledging the difficulties, you do not "feed into" the depression.  By acknowledging the difficulties, it helps to reaffirm that I am seeing, at lest some things in the world, accurately.  Try to find something that you can affirm as accurate.  It just adds to the feeling of helplessness when it seems that everything I see seems to be wrong.

Some redirection is probably good too.  Just don't be too abrupt about it!

Me:  I feel like Hell.
You:  The Cubs won last night.
Me:  Nobody seems to listen.
You:  When was the last time you had your oil changed?

Kind of unorganized, but hopefully some insight can be found.

1 comment:

Urspo said...

that was well done and helpful, thank you for it!