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):

Symptoms and Treatment of Depression

Suicide Prevention

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8 Comments on “The Pain of Depression

    • I cannot say that I’ve ever experienced suicidal thoughts….but I have watched my husband be tormented by such thoughts — and try to act on them several times. If you or someone you care about are experiencing that kind of depression, I hope you can find help. There are links at the bottom of the post to help as well as the suicide lifeline phone number. Take care.

  1. I love your blog — and will continue to follow it on a daily basis……..I “Lived with alcoholism” for nearly 28 years — and it nearly drove me to the brink of a drinking problem and/or depression — trying to escape reality. Keep up the good work — once you’ve lived a different life, you know you never want to “Go Back” — but it takes a lot of courage and faith — your ‘words of wisdom” are a tremendous help.

  2. Thanks Gert. I really reappreciate you visiting the site. I know what you mean about living with addiction in a loved one and then walking the fine line yourself because of a need to escape the chaos and heartache. Without God, I probably would have crossed the line myself — I was very close! Thanks for your nice comments!

  3. So true Sharlene, serious depression is so different then just being depressed about an event or the way your day is going. So often we trivialize depression and think that people can just get over it. I hope that Michael knows just how much his father loves him, because I think you are correct when you say that he is the reason Sean held on.

  4. As hard as it is to ask for help…especially men…it is truly important. There is a point that not asking for help does become selfish. Depression so hurts more than just the person going through it. Sharlene – I really like your blog! ❤

  5. Couldn’t help but chuckle as I read this post. Just the other morning at work I made a comment about “how depressing” it was to look at the stacks of charts and wondered if I would ever see daylight again. I am sure I will think twice about using that phrase again under those circumstances (thanks for the education Ms Prinsen).
    When you talk about just “snapping your fingers” and it goes away reminds me of Grandma Parent (Bless her Soul) when your Aunt Rita was diagnosed with agrophobia. She truly believed that “now that you know what you have everything will be okay”. She did not understand that agrophobia like depression is a lifelong battle. Many of us have this attitude towands many types of mental illness.

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