22 September 2011

Has anyone ever said anything that made you feel better during your depression?

by Nia, Pastor Jayne, and Soledad

Nia: I originally posed this question to demonstrate the stupidity of assuming you can cheer up a depressed person or talk them out of it. It has since occurred to me that a friend's comment years ago, long before depression became a common topic in the media or in conversation, did make me feel less isolated and cursed. She snapped, "Do you think it makes you special? Why do you think so many people do drugs?" It had the effect of separating the depression out from my body chemistry just a bit, as if with a centrifuge. It gave me a new, albeit very limited, ability to stand back and look at it more objectively and dispassionately.

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Pastor Jayne: I was always shocked when people said, "I didn't know you have depression." I guess I assumed it was written all over my face (puffy from crying, red from insomnia), house (messy) and cooking (motivation-less and wholly uncreative). It was nice to hear that people couldn't always tell.

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Soledad: I was watching a British drama on PBS called "Downton Abbey" last winter. It's about the trials and tribulations of a wealthy (and struggling to stay so) British family living in a large country home in England. In one episode, one of the butlers tries to treat his limp with a "leg straightener," a giant leg brace that nearly causes gangrene on his leg. As he and the head maid stand at the edge of the pond ready to throw the monstrous device into the depths, the butler laments that he just wants to "be normal." To which the maid replies, "We all have our scars, inside and out."

How very true that statement is. It made me feel better because it emphasizes that although we each struggle with different debacles in our lives, we are never really alone. Each person has his cross to bear, so to speak. It makes me think of another saying that I believe has a lot of truth to it: "Most fears are born of fatigue and loneliness." What that says to me is that if we are each a little less tired and lonely, we really will fear less, and enjoy this life more. I try to keep these things in mind as I live mine.

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Image: detail of "The Seven Trumpets of Jericho," ca. 1902, James Tissot (1836-1902). {{PD-art}}.