I saw the movie “Still Alice,” last night. The title quote came from a scene where Julianne Moore was telling her husband, played by Alec Baldwin, that if she was diagnosed with cancer people would feel sorry for her, wear ribbons in support of and raise money to find a cure for cancer. But she had Alzheimer’s disease and she was pointing out that there was not the level of empathy and support for it like there is for cancer.
It is the same for depression. I think the similarities between Alzheimer’s and depressoin points out the fear that people have about “mental health,” issues. People cant be empathetic for any dis-ease that they are deathly afraid will cause them to lose their “mind.”
When I tell people that I have depression, which I am loathe to do because of the stigma attached it, most people’s view of me changes. Usually they discount it, like Alec Baldwin did when he first learned that Julianne Moore had it. I remember speaking to an attorney about a case and she could not understand how I could miss days in court or be so irritable at times when untruths or injustices were being stated or perpetrated.
What I have learned is that most people will do anything they can to keep their distance from health problems like depression, bi-polar condition, etc.
I think that people’s struggles with anything that can be seen as a threat to them, more aptly put something they are afraid might affect them, causes them to project outward their sense of what is real. This allows them to separate themselves from other so that they dont have to feel that fear themselves.
It was wonderful when Moore gave a speech at a convention about Alzheimer’s disease. It was powerful in the sense that she was able to be whole in that moment with her disease and she was accepted for being who she was and was not carrying the burden that we carry because we think that there is something wrong with us.
Depression is hell in the sense that we cant do what we once did. What compounds that is when those around us, our peers, dont understand this and at times project their shadow out onto us so that they dont have to feel their own fear of “catching,” it and suffering like we do.
The self created hell that comes from having “mental,” health issues is enough. The self loathing that many carry because of our imperfection is a powerful enough yoke to have to wear around our necks. One of the worst aspects of our dis-ease is that we dont “look,” any different than does a person who does not have depression or one of the other dis-eases we suffer with.
123 RV, SA, JM, EP, PA, RW, JZ!