Every time I come around the word ‘depression’ a tingling sensation is sent down my spine. This comes from the ‘affected’ side of it since I know how it feels to watch your loved one fall into this dark pit that they cannot come out easily. Not only if you have a lot of patience which sucks and makes you want to scream at them to get a life as they are dragging you down as well.
I agree people get depressed under different circumstances when something really bad happens. And it’s sickening to undergo such situations when you had every ounce of a different shade of picture of how life was going to be. But just like a bang! life takes a turn on you. Maneuvers slams you down hard on the ground. Leaving your arse all bruised and may be your coccyx broken. Speaking of coccyx- there is nothing as painful as a bruised tailbone. I went to Karura forest months ago for cycling and my did I fall or not?! I knew how to cycle but it had taken years since my early teenage life. So a little reminder wouldn’t hurt anyone. Would it? Plus all my friends were doing it.
In Karura there are slight steep slopes when you are approaching the waterfall if you have been to the forest.
So am on full gear, everyone is screaming and cheering and as I veer, I approach a rugged patch down the slope and few meters away a mzungu lady and husband are jogging on my oncoming lane with their fluffy dog. There is no way to stop for me but clamp onto my breaks and jump to my feet only for my ass to land on the hard metal as it brushes the seat of the bicycle. And keep in mind it’s not just sheer brushing!
Shock, pain, embarrassment, and tears which I tried so much to hide all overwhelm me. I let go of the bike and sit on the nearby bush as I try to put on a brave face. But it’s too painful. I cannot control my breathing. I clutch myself, cold and rigid yet put a smile for the mzungu couple who lovingly whisper ‘sorryy’ as they smile back and pass. My friends come and scooch beside me asking if I’m okay but of course I brush them away gallantly telling them I am totally fine I just need a moment. Off they speed away and I still need more minutes to figure out the torturer’s long journey back because I cannot ride again. To cut the long story short, I had bruised ankles, bruised coccyx and apparently even the sole to my shoe was torn apart gaping at everyone to see. For a minute I thought I was bleeding in there! I limped all the way back pushing the bike and cursing everyone for looking at me funny and for my friends not knowing the severity of my pain. It took three weeks of sincere dabbing of hot salty water and pain killers to my bottom -ritually for me to start bending normally. – Even coming out of bed had to be done tactically.
Anyway, back to my depressing story, a very close person in my circle got sipped into this dark pit where nothing seemed of importance anymore. She kept all her friends and family at bay and did not even answer calls or reply to texts. It got worse when she could call her office and miss work often. I tried probing and asking but as I did, she brushed me saying she was fine. I knew she wasn’t and this was sending panic attacks on me. My mind would run down a ledger of slights trying to find ways to help her. I googled, asked for help from mutual friends, I vehemently prayed God to appear in what she was looking for but every night I felt I hadn’t done enough. My efforts felt like limbs stuck in some putty and this resulted to anger in myself. Anger in them.
She wanted to be okay but it kept drowning her back. And this affected everyone in her circle. The emotional tension was becoming un bearable. I remember having a happy exciting weekend and when I went to sleep I questioned my happiness. I felt I didn’t deserve it if my friend was slowly dying in some dumpster of a house because she could not even bring herself to clean the house. Many times I knocked on her door only to go back as she didn’t open. Her family could not get hold of her either.
My heart was sad and bitter with my stomach tight and twirling pushing staff down my anal cavity whenever I thought of her.
I pray silently that she does not sink or succumb to suicidal thoughts if she had them. And finally, I resolve to send inspiring messages and biblical verses that encourage her even if she doesn’t respond. She sure gets them because they blue tick or I get a delivery message.
Occasionally she responds and each time I hope she is finally getting some light. Only for her to go back down the pit. I pray for my own sanity and I pray she gets tired of the darkness even if it’s her absolute last reason to get over her depression.
Days pass, weeks and even months until one early morning I get a text saying,” morning love, thanks for being there for me” And I slump down my chair with giddy warm relief and gratitude to God. I know she is in her journey to recovery and I know she is a winner. I keep praying and believing she eventually gets her life back.
On what I discovered about depression is that it never goes away when you want to. Some days you feel better, some days you feel being sacked in. Don’t underestimate the seriousness of depression. Depression drains a person’s energy, optimism, and motivation. Your depressed loved one can’t just “snap out of it” by sheer force of will.
You can’t “fix” someone else’s depression. Don’t try to rescue your loved one from depression. It’s not up to you to fix the problem, nor can you. You’re not to blame for your loved one’s depression or responsible for his or her happiness (or lack thereof). Ultimately, recovery is in the hands of the depressed person.
Sometimes it is hard to know what to say when speaking to a loved one about depression. You might fear that if you bring up your worries he or she will get angry, feel insulted, or ignore your concerns. You may be unsure what questions to ask or how to be supportive.
If you don’t know where to start, the following suggestions may help. But remember that being a compassionate listener is much more important than giving advice. You don’t have to try to “fix” the person; you just have to be a good listener. Often, the simple act of talking to someone face to face can be an enormous help to someone suffering from depression. Encourage the depressed person to talk about his or her feelings, and be willing to listen without judgment.
Don’t expect a single conversation to be the end of it. Depressed people tend to withdraw from others and isolate themselves. You may need to express your concern and willingness to listen over and over again. Be gentle, yet persistent.
Set boundaries. Of course, you want to help, but you can only do so much. Your own health will suffer if you let your life be controlled by your loved one’s depression. You can’t be a caretaker round the clock without paying a psychological price. To avoid burnout and resentment, set clear limits on what you are willing and able to do. You are not your loved one’s therapist, so don’t take on that responsibility.
Stay on track with your own life. While some changes in your daily routine may be unavoidable while caring for your friend or relative, do your best to keep appointments and plans with friends. If your depressed loved one is unable to go on an outing or trip you had planned, ask a friend to join you instead.
Seek support. You are NOT betraying your depressed relative or friend by turning to others for support.
It all works out at the end. Just be present be consistent and never get tired of motivating them. No one chooses to get depressed.