“Imagine saying to somebody that you have a life-threatening illness, such as cancer, and being told to pull yourself together or get over it.” [i] One of the things that I always thought was that people in recovery were empathetic. What I have learned since being diagnosed with depression is that people are empathetic unless it gets too close to home.
I have had friends with long-term sobriety come up to me and tell me that I just needed to do something different, write a gratitude list, pray or something!!, to not be where I was. I would look at them and hopefully I wouldn’t express what I was feeling on the inside to them on the outside. There were a couple of times where I didn’t hold it in so well.
I even had one guy come up and tell me that I needed to find a Ggod because once I found Ggod I wouldn’t be this way, I wouldn’t need to be depressed. I boiled on the inside when I heard that one. The guy had about five months of sobriety and I already had over 25 years of sobriety.
I didn’t say anything to him. I have, ever since I was a couple of years sober, brought up issues that most people didn’t want to talk about in meetings. I needed to talk about these things but was told by many an old timer that issues like mental health did not belong in the meeting. That is one of the problems. If we can’t bring up mental health issues in the recovery realm, then we are going to continue to have people with disease sitting in those rooms denying it so they can fit in and be accepted.
“I thought by masking the depression with silence, the feelings might disappear.” [ii] Taking the prior paragraph one step further I have seen many people sit in the rooms and deny their own feelings. What I know is if I continue to do that I will die. Worst of all, I will die slowly and painfully. I will do what I’ve seen other people, continue to pump blood and continue to breathe air until I stop doing it.
“One of the terrible fallacies of contemporary psychotherapy is that if people would just say how they felt, a lot of problems could be solved. ”[iii]
I see one problem with how depression is being treated is that it is still being approached in the cognitive way along with the pharmacological intervention. All we’re doing is numbing people up enough so that they can go and participate in the economic world. I don’t think we care enough about people’s mental health if it affects the bottom line. That’s disgusting.
I am so grateful that I only watch television occasionally. Now you see these ads for these antidepressants that they are going to fix your lower back pain and they show these two older people with smiles of pure joy on their face. When I see people who are on antidepressants I don’t see pure joy on their face. I was talking with a wonderful friend of mine who I’ve known for a long time yesterday. She’s one of the few people who I will let even give me her opinion without me asking for it because I know that no matter what she’s going to care about me. She knows what the effect of depression has had on her and her family.
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”[iv] The sad part is we don’t put people first. We don’t put the intuitive self or the humanity based self at the same level that we do the rational, logical self. The longer we do this, the less we are “alive.”
Depression is the continued disavowing of the awareness of the parts of us that we need to be able experience and express to come to peace with our histories. We continually think that there is something wrong with us because we continue to allow our minds to define our reality. They are governed by then and then; fear and regret.
*Lucy’s answer to Charlie Browns question about what can he about depression. [i] Sally Brampton [ii]Sharon E. Rainey ”[iii] Elizabeth Wurtzel. [iv] Albert Einstein. **Pointy boy is for the Fan!