Turning depression around

I love me, I love me not

A few weeks ago, every shop we walked into, every commercial break, every restaurant we passed reminded us that the one day of the year when we’re supposed to express our feelings was just around the corner.  Valentine’s season is probably a distant memory by now, and prompts to tell someone special how we feel will no doubt be few and far between for the next eleven months.

That doesn’t mean we have to keep our feelings to ourselves until then.  I’m suggesting choosing someone special, or even an anonymous stranger if that’s easier, to confide in, and to tell them how we feel, not about them, but about ourselves.  If we can still connect to our feelings for others, cling on to that.  It’s always easier, for many reasons, to tell other people how much they mean to us than it is to tell them how worthless we feel.  Giving that worthlessness a voice often makes it sound ridiculous, and those who matter to us – and to whom WE matter – will rip our arguments to shreds, because they don’t agree with us; when we’re well again, neither do we.  When we can’t be convinced otherwise though, we need to be heard and supported, but the listening ear and the shoulder to lean on can only be offered when we ask for them.

If we can’t tell others how we’re feeling, how about starting with someone who’s just as special as anyone else, and by that I mean you?  How about admitting to yourself that you need help to manage and to overcome your depression?  I know how unimaginable the possibility of being in control again is when we’re at our lowest ebb, but if we stay there and don’t at least confront the reality of the illness, we stand no chance at all of rising again with the tide. 

One sentiment at Christmas is that every day can or should be Christmas day.  With the exception of 14th February, every day of every year is a non-Valentine’s Day, so why can’t or shouldn’t every day be a day when we’re free, rather than reminded, to express our feelings?  The more we talk about mental health issues, the more we’ll normalise them, and the more we’ll be able to talk about them without stigma.  That’s the goal I’m working towards in the long term.

Today, my goal is you.  Talk to someone about how you’re feeling.  Ask for help.  Get the support you need.  And get ready to rise again.

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