Turning depression around


on 24/09/2013

I was in a waiting room recently, and a couple I gauged to be in their late-fifties were perusing the magazines on the coffee table.  “Are we really expected to believe that she has depression?” was the only part of their conversation that I overheard.

He was referring to a celebrity who actually had bipolar disorder, but that’s beside the point.  The inference was that the Oscar-winning actress, married to an equally successful Hollywood actor, living the American Dream, had no right to feel slighted by life.  What did she have to complain or feel disappointed about, when she has more than the rest of us could dream of?  In the meantime, the world has since learned of her husband’s struggle with a physical disease that could have cost him his life, and of their separation.  How could the man in that waiting room, or any of  us, know what was going on behind their gilded closed doors?

The same applies to the man on the street.  Any one of us could be struggling daily with depression or any illness, but putting a brave face on it and keeping it to ourselves.  The world judges on what it sees on the outside.  Internal suffering remains secret.

I’ve spoken to people from parts of the world where finding food was a daily struggle, where family members were gunned down in the street, where living standards are  still shamefully primitive in our modern world.  But they cope with the lot that they have been given, they accept it as the norm, and can’t understand our sensitivity to the banality of the hand that we are dealt.  What right do I have then to my depression when they endure so much more?  At the end of the day, there’s always someone who copes better with more than we do, and someone who copes worse; someone else again who copes better with less than we do, and someone who copes worse.

We all know someone who has fought – and perhaps won – against lung cancer, despite never having smoked a single cigarette.  We’ve all heard the stories of a young, super-fit athlete who has died suddenly of a heart attack in the prime of their life.  We admit that it’s tragic, but we don’t question its credibility, and we extend our sympathies and condolences, so why should reactions to mental illness be any different?

Depression doesn’t care whether we’ve grown up in a loving home, surrounded by a family who would give us their last, gone on to lead a comfortable life with dear friends, no money worries, and no anxieties, or whether each day has been a battle since the moment we drew our first breath.  Depression doesn’t discriminate.  We do.


2 responses to “Entitlement

  1. dawn.field1@facebook.com says:

    Thank you for writing this blog, have stumbled across it and I love it. An honest and refreshing way to look at the big D and really thought provoking.

    I hope you keep this up and it encourages other people to be open about depression. The sooner the stigma is lifted the quicker and easier people will seek help when it’s needed.

    Thanks again

    • Thanks so much, Dawn! I’m only just starting out with the blog and it’s encouraging to get such positive feedback so early on.

      I really hope it helps you on your journey towards recovery. No matter how far away the goal seems, every day brings you a step closer.

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