The Pain of Depression
“I’m so depressed today….” How often have we heard that statement, or made it ourselves, when we were really simply trying to say, “I’m having a bad day”? Depression is a very real — and sometimes terminal — illness, not a choice or an attitude problem. Sometimes such casual usage of the word “depression” can innocently and unintentionally prevent someone from recognizing the seriousness of the illness and getting help. After all, aren’t people who are depressed just supposed to “get over it”? Or “snap out of it”? Or “stop being so selfish”? Just as you can’t “get over” cancer, or “snap out of” a heart attack, most people cannot overcome depression without medical and/or psychological help. Many well-intentioned people cannot imagine what it is like to walk in the darkness of depression and thus lead others astray by minimizing the reality of this illness. An excerpt from “Blind Devotion”:
It’s difficult to describe the heartache of watching your husband slowly die inside—a little piece at a time. It seemed like that’s what Sean’s depression was doing.
I grew to hate being alone in a room with my husband. I felt smothered by the heaviness of his pain. His smiles disappeared with the light in his eyes, and there was an unbearable emptiness in our home—the death of laughter. No matter what I did, I couldn’t break through to him……
….Every once in a while, an overwhelming rage would consume Sean. He would look right past me, burning with anger, and his voice would rise to a deafening level as the pain he was carrying erupted in the only way that he knew to release it. He would walk away, and I would hear the crash of something breaking. There are still fist-shaped scars on most of my walls—long-since patched, but never repainted. They stand as an ever-present reminder of the intensity of my husband’s emotional wounds.
After a while, though, Sean’s anger and inner turmoil slowly gave way, and his spirit just seemed to die. Sadness and gloom enveloped him, and our beautiful son Michael was the only thing that could spark a glimmer of emotion in Sean. There was a connection between those two that was breathtaking. I think, sometimes, that Michael was the only reason that Sean held on….
Depression is very real and very painful. But there is help and hope — in most cases, under the proper medical care, depression can be treated and managed effectively to allow a person to enjoy a rich and fulfilling life. Don’t suffer in silence or let someone you love suffer needlessly! Ask for help! The links at the bottom of the post provide more information on symptoms and treatment.
And, please, be careful the next time you casually throw around the phrase, “I’m so depressed…” (I’m guilty of it too!) You wouldn’t say casually, “I feel like I have cancer today,” — it would likely offend your sensibilities and dismiss the very real suffering of true cancer patients. The same is true of depression. The more we treat it like the real and debilitating illness that it is — and not some passing mood that’s here today and gone tomorrow — the more likely people are to seek help.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255):