A tv program tonight prompted me to talk about depression again. I watched an episode of Australian Story in which a beautiful 29 year old female news reader’s life was re-counted. She jumped from The Gap in Sydney, down to the ocean between rocky cliffs.. another life lost to depression through suicide. Being beautiful and successful have no bearing on depression… her family had no idea just how serious her problem was.
I had a beautiful weekend with friends and at one point 4 of us found ourselves in a room and realised that all 4 of us were on anti-depressants. We had an amazing and very intimate discussion on our battles with depression and its various manifestations and how we each have learnt to cope, find solutions, speak up, gain confidence in our ability to rise above depression and find the treatment that works for us. It was a moving moment.
Moving because I know there are so many people out there with depression who have little help or they don’t cope. I have friends who urgently need treatment yet one thought or attitude or depression itself will hold them back from getting the treatment they need and getting back to the life they really should be living, instead of crushing daily battles that most other people have no idea about.
Why aren’t people more aware? Why do people’s lives still need to end in suicide? Why is there still so much suffering because of depression when a lot of it could be treated?
If you have trouble with depression or know someone around you who struggles, please talk to them about options, about other people who have similar struggles and their positive stories, about the numerous treatment options and the very real possibility of making it beyond the blue. Depression is not something you should cope with on your own, it’s not something to be brushed aside, taking pill is not weakness. Getting good treatment can be the most empowering and enlightening transition.
Depression is like a black dog. When the conditions are right it grows and growls and overshadows everything, quashing down its owner who becomes the accessory of the dog rather than the other way around. Treatments, therapy, sharing, lifestyle options can all help to keep the black dog on its leash. It’s not going to go away, but it can become a small part of one’s life that is under control and in no way threatens all the other beautiful things in there. For serious sustained depression you need medication, please don’t hide behind the idea that it’s all ok, that it’s not serious enough, that you are helpless or that you should be strong enough to cope without medication. Most likely your reluctance to take meds will ruin your life.
Frankly I’m fed up with articles portraying how overmedicalised as a society we are, when there’s way more people with depression who receive no treatment than people who get themselves on anti-depressants out of a whim. We need to fucking wake up about this.
For some resources go to these official Australian depression sites… and please do talk to someone, even if it’s really hard. There is a way out of depression.