Thought for the day: The most difficult battle a person can fight is one that resides within them. It's often a multifaceted fight. The battle of what we want, what we need, what we think we should have, what we know we shouldn't have, that which creates anxiety within us, the battle against depression or substance abuse ~ I could go on and on. I know people young and old who battle daily against themselves. Most days they win, but some days they don't… But they wake up the next day prepared to go into battle again!! To the people who battle daily, and to those who stand beside them: You are Warriors! Well done!!
We’ve all had someone in our life that has been less than positive. Many of us have had some that have been down-right mean and nasty! You automatically know the feeling you’ll get when they are around. It’s like a cold, wet and dirty blanket of energy that brings you down and makes you want to go hide under your covers! You are so in tune with that oppressive feeling that you know they are there even before you see them. Sadly, sometimes they never leave your side!
They quite literally drain you of light and happiness until you are only a shadow of your former self. They say things like:
So…Depression! We’ve all heard about it. Most people know of someone who has the dreaded problem… or dare I call it by its real name ~ DISEASE!!! So, you have depression or know someone who does. What now? You might wonder if I have any words of wisdom to share with you. Well, I always have lots to share, but I’m not sure you can call it wisdom. This isn’t a self help story. It is more of a self validation story. I’m here to tell you that if you battle depression daily, or help a loved one who goes to battle against this bully (or any of the bullies), then you are a warrior!
You might wonder how someone with depression can build themselves back up again. How do we grow from an invisible shadow-person back to a solid, here-in-the-present person? I guess it depends on who you ask. Be wary, however, because not all advice is created equal… not even from professionals.
Advice from Friends and family:
People who have never had to battle depression (and believe me, it’s a physical, mental and emotional battle), always have advice they are more than willing to share. Well-intended friends will tell you to try yoga, take a walk outside, be around friends and family or simply just think positive thoughts. They don’t understand that having depression is not the same as being depressed.
How do I know that these friends are well-intended? How do I know that they have no idea that what they are saying only makes us feel as though we are just not trying hard enough to be happy? Well, I have been on both sides of this weak and weather-beaten fence. Before I had my beautiful daughter and tumbled over the fence into postpartum depression’s backyard, I was completely, 100% positive that depression was a problem that could be overcome by simply wishing it away! POOF!! It’s gone… oh wait, no it’s not!
Depression prefers to exist in solitary confinement. It’s not the type of illness where you want anyone taking care of you to help you feel better because you feel like such a loser for not being able to help yourself. You certainly don’t want an audience! When you are alone you don’t have anyone with whom to compare yourself. You certainly don’t want a person who would be the mirror that shows you how invisible you feel.
Keep in mind that these people mean well. We should feel happy that they don’t understand what we are going through. Of course, we would feel happy for them if we could feel… but not feeling anything is part of the problem.
What I know now is that happy people are just a painful reminder of just how different depression makes us from others. Of course, it is exhausting to try to pretend to be happy, so that’s an issue as well. So, if you know someone who is a warrior, don’t feel the need to fix them. Just be there for them without judgment. Let them talk, let them be silent, offer to run some errands, and make sure they get to a caring professional!
TO BE CONTINUED:
Cindy Gagne Teixeira
Just like you, I wear many hats. I'm a mom, a teacher, a friend, a daughter, a sister, and a writer. I choose to laugh (and talk... and write) about my problems because crying takes too much time.