© Chuck Duboff
Depression has been my travel mate on this journey called life. I suffer from Depression. For years I wasn’t able to talk about it, but today, I am quite comfortable in sharing and trying to explain this affliction.
I’m not a doctor who can explain the chemical imbalance which characterizes Depression. What I can do is explain what it feels like to fight this monster; what it’s like to try and live a seemingly normal life while waiting for the dark days to take over. The great Winston Churchill battled Depression and referred to it as”the Black Dog.”
For those who don’t understand Depression…try and imagine living your normal day to day life, all the while waiting for that moment when the Monster will arrive. It really is that sudden…a verse from a song, a look from a family member, a memory from days of yore, an innocent word from a friend…and suddenly you are gone. Quite literally, the Monster laughs in your face and the irrational thoughts start. “I’m a failure” “I’m worthless” “I can’t do anything right” “What’s the point of living anymore.” “Everybody hates me.” Those thoughts arrive and knock the legs out from under you.
I recently experienced a visit by the Black Dog; I was enjoying a wonderful evening with my family; I made a comment about something and someone in my family responded to what I said with some innocuous words …and BOOM, within seconds I could feel it…I knew what I was about to endure!! “I’m such a failure” “I just wanna get out of here” “I want to be alone”. For those who don’t understand…there is NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING you can do about it…nothing. I try to ride it out…never knowing how long it will take, never knowing if I will make rash decisions while trapped in this hell, never knowing if family will abandon me.
For those who don’t understand…let me help you. The worst thing you can do for someone experiencing this hell is abandon them. I know my co-blogger and friend Geoff has learned how to handle these times…when he knows that i am having a difficult time, he sends me texts saying he’s here for me if he can do anything, he leaves a message on the phone. But what he doesn’t do is abandon me.
This is not a choice that someone who suffers from Depression makes. It’s hell and nobody would choose to go through this nightmare. When I have friends or family who shun, abandon, ignore me…because of my withdrawal…believe me, the hell of going through and trying to survive the monster, is only exacerbated by your actions. Shutting me out only makes it worse for me…makes it harder for me because it feels like I am battling to survive on so many different fronts.
DEPRESSION IS NOT A CHOICE; the Monster mocks you, takes over your life and all you try to do is survive; hide under a blanket and wait for rationale thought to reappear.
If you are a friend or family member reading this…you know my struggles. If you care…ask how I am feeling, leave me a message, send me a text…but, abandoning me, only makes things worse. I know these are scary words to read, but I must share them. I am astounded that I have survived…when the Monster arrives, I pray that nothing will be said or done which will snap me into ending the pain. The thoughts are always there…and speaking truthfully, when I am shunned by family and friends, the scary thoughts become more real.
When I am happy and healthy…life is great; but, for those of you who don’t understand…the Black Dog can appear out of nowhere and the dark clouds take over my life and all I can do is hope to survive.
Telling someone who is suffering from Depression to “just get over it” is like telling a blind person to “just try harder to see.”