Wednesday, September 03, 2014

On My Mind

Since the death of Robin Williams, I've had depression on my mind a lot. It's something I've suffered from my whole life. A couple of weeks ago I wrote a small piece about my experience of depression which I thought I'd share.


“What is depression you ask? I’ll tell you.

“It’s when the only warmth you feel is when you have a bath or a shower. It’s when you walk into a room and people are friendly, but you still feel isolated in their company. It’s when everything is boring, nothing interests you, even your hobbies or the things you know you love. It’s when everything is too difficult and you haven’t the energy to lift a finger for even the simplest of things.

“It’s when you have such a negative view of yourself that every compliment is played down and every insult magnified, when you dwell on your mistakes far more than your successes.  And no amount of ‘jollying along’ will lift you, no shallow pep talks will help.

“Depression is a deep disability that requires someone to be equally deep in helping them.

“Not a disability, you say? Merely chemicals out of balance you say, with a dismissive air?

“Everything we do as humanity is chemicals. Every muscle movement, every thought, every action is as a result of a physical component in our bodies acting chemically in one way or another. If those chemicals are out of balance because of a physical defect, it is a physical problem. Depression is physical, a physical disability of the brain, a brain that is as solid and visible as any organ.

“Depression locks you away from people in the worst way possible. You are able to function in many ways and look normal, but you are locked inside your mind and no one without a depth to their character can reach you, though shallow people can hurt, control and manipulate you.

“Depression is not sadness writ large, a temporary illness that will go away, it is a lifelong handicap that holds you back from a full life.

“There are people who suffer a temporary, deep sadness at low points in their lives, something akin to a broken leg. They recover and carry on, though they bear scars. Others, like me, carry the disability through life: we cannot get rid of it. It is much a handicap as a lost limb or eye.

“We can do some things well, things that allow us to hide, but most people just disrupt our lives, our being.

“It is not their fault, they cannot magically heal us with a few well chosen words. We need to be held, understood and allowed to be, to be allowed to let misery have its day, lose its power and leave us.

“What is depression you ask? It is a disability of the brain, a physical fault that cannot be easily rectified.

“Laugh if you will, put us down and make fun of us. Point the finger and call us slack or weak. But nothing you can say or do will change the facts.

“We, the depressed, are disabled.”


Karen S. said...

What an engaging, heartfelt post, thank you Martin. Your honest description of depression is shown perfectly here, down to the last final quote. I do believe there are among us a good number of depressed and disabled, and if only they/we could stop and realize, just as you did here, just what it is that has, is and will continue to haunt us if we don't at least admit what we feel. Even as painful as this may be for you, I trust your having put each word to work, in full disclosure, you are a bit better for it.

VEG said...

This was fantastic! I think even if you suffer from a brief, situational depression now and then you can still relate to it. I think you're a pretty odd human if you've never suffered any periods of depression. I think everyone does and you'd think that alone would be suffice for them to empathize with people who suffer from clinical depression. I hope you manage to keep your days light and even as far as possible. I will send you a mental cake!

As in a cake of the mind, not a crazy cake! :) Though that would be almost better!

Karen S. said...

Just stopping by to say hello! You've been in my thoughts after reading this post. I hope you enjoy your weekend! Happily-and have some kick butt good fun!