Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Depression: not for the weak minded...

Depression and the social stigmas that unfortunately come with it, have often led people to judge. This judgment, subsequently forces those who suffer from depression to live in silence; in fear of being judgement and called weak. This silence and solitude forces them fight a lonely battle. A battle that reenforces their mindset into believing they are falling without a helping hand. They often feel as if they are crying into an never ending ocean of sadness. I ask you from the start to remember that only the weak-minded judge; the strong help!

“You know it ain't easy 
For these thoughts here to leave me
There's no words to describe it
In French or in English
Well, diamonds they fade
And flowers they bloom
And I'm telling you
These feelings won't go away
They've been knockin' me sideways
They've been knockin' me out lately
Whenever you come around me
These feelings won't go away 
They've been knockin' me sideways
I keep thinking in a moment that
Time will take them away
But these feelings won't go away.”
Citizen Cope on Depression 

Most of us experience sadness at some points in our lives. Depression is more than sadness. It is more than just dusting yourself off and starting again.

It is impossible to judge the mindset of another. But people are quick to pass judgements. We forget that, that very judgement itself is a mere guess. 
It is impossible to know the strength of another person's mind; yet we think sufferers are weak minded. 
It is impossible to know just how far and for how long someone has fallen; yet we tell them to get up and dust themselves off. Little do we know that the bulk of their energy is being used with all their will power, just to try to slow down their decent. 
Suicide is that moment when you have no more energy to fight the mental gravity that is hurtling you through a never ending pit of despair.  Sadly, suicide becomes what they perceive as a release from this seemingly never ending struggle and plummet. 

One cannot really walk in another man's shoes. Or experience another man's fears, hopes, dreams and nightmares through their eyes. We can not judge the extent of some else's actions, mental strength and thoughts by merely comparing them to our own. We each fight individual and unique battles.

Each person climbs their own individual mountain and walk's their own unique path. Some of us weather storms better than others. Some of us think we face stronger storms than others. Whatever the case, it is unanimous that we all want to climb up; no one's goal is to fall down. No one enjoys falling into a state of depression. No one enjoys the fall into sadness, despair and suicidal thoughts.

We talk of mental toughness as though being depressed is a sign of weakness. Depression is a mental imbalance not a weakness. 

A person that falls over is not weak, they have merely lost their balance. Now imagine after falling you found no way to get up. You found yourself falling deeper and deeper into a hole that seemed never ending. Even with helping hands, cheers and support from people around you. Often we can find ourself in trance, our ability to have tunnel vision kicks in and all we see only see one fixed point. One moment of sadness; one moment that keeps us from realising the opportunities around or finding a way to free ourself from this spiral of depression. 

So, remember that..
A mother who has carried her baby for 9 months and gone through pain most men could not handle can not be weak.
A soldier who has fought for their country can not be weak.
A person that goes from interview to interview to be told "no" but struggles on as long as possible, can not be weak. 
A person who works hard, long and often thankless hours; finding themselves snowed under a mountain of never ending work. But continued as long as possible to carry on for the sake of their job and their responsibilities;  forcing them to go beyond the call of duty, can not be weak.
A person who seeks to pursue the fulfilment of a dream and the fame that comes with it, requires immense strength of mind. To be brave enough step out into the public eye for all the praise and criticism that that entails, means they can not be weak.
And a person that has suffered alone in silence for years is not weak.

As people who don't suffer, often we can't understand. But we can have and show compassion, patience and empathy. 

Depressed people aren't weak. 
Depressed people aren't selfish. 
They suffer years and often alone in silence. 

Often that simple "hi and bye" conversation can be the step to saving someone's life. I believe we should try to extend those niceties to really listen and see if someone is really "fine". That extra five minutes could be the difference between feeling alone and knowing you have support. 

If you see yourself as "strong" then use that strength not to hold people to account or drag them down. But to lift them up; to share your strength to allow them to reach their potential. Use that strength to help them find a way to stop falling and start climbing again.

Still feeling judgmental? Read Elizabeth Wurtzel's feelings of depression:
“I start to feel like I can’t maintain the facade any longer, that I may just start to show through. And I wish I knew what was wrong. Maybe something about how stupid my whole life is. I don’t know. Why does the rest of the world put up with the hypocrisy, the need to put a happy face on sorrow, the need to keep on keeping on?... I don’t know the answer, I know only that I can’t. I don't want any more vicissitudes, I don't want any more of this try, try again stuff. I just want out. I’ve had it. I am so tired. I am twenty and I am already exhausted.” 

Moreover, often people are depressed but don't realise it themselves. See this simple list to help you spot depression in yourself and others. Be the helping hand!

If you or someone you know suffers from any of these symptoms or you have any other concerns click here for links and numbers to call

So, What's your opinion? Have you suffered from depression? Has someone you know? What helped you or them? 
As usually feel free to comment below. All discussion is welcome!

Antoine Allen
"The three 3 c's  of life; choice, chance and change. You have to make the choice, to take the chance, if you want anything to change"


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