By HOPE RACINE
I’ve never been depressed. I’ve had my share of crazy, and sure, I have my bad times. I have those times where I start crying while brushing my teeth, and I’m not sure why. We’ve all experienced this to an extent. You go through a patch where staying in bed all day isn’t just the better option- it’s the only one. But as blue as things may look at that point, a lot of us are lucky enough to have the ability to say “I’m feeling depressed,” as opposed to “I have depression.”
There’s a big difference between those statements, and the key word is feeling.
Like I said, I’ve never been depressed. But I know a lot about depression. Over the past few years, someone very close to me who I love dearly became depressed. And I had no idea what I was getting into.
Let’s call my friend Hubert. Why? Because Hubert is a funny name, and nothing about this situation is funny.
Hubert went through some life changes. Some things turned out less than desirable for him, but all in all, Hubert would agree that nothing terrible happened to him. This is a common misconception about depression- you don’t have to have a traumatic home life or a horrible experience or a death of a loved one to become depressed. Depression has no rhyme or reason. It just happens.
I didn’t understand this at the time. I found myself wondering at times why Hubert was taking things so hard. “He can get past this,” I thought to myself, “all he has to do is just try.”
But he couldn’t. Because despite the fact that Hubert’s life mantra is “I can do anything if I try,” he couldn’t bring himself to. He couldn’t even bring himself to care. He couldn’t even try to try.
You know those commercials for the antidepressant, and the tagline is “depression hurts more than just you” or “depression hurts everyone” or something like that? It’s true. Loving someone with depression is almost as hard as having depression.
We’re not inside their heads. We can’t understand why they are doing the things they are doing. We can’t understand why they won’t listen to reason, and they don’t have the ability to articulate why.
It took a long time, but I finally figured some of it out. Strangely enough, a webcomic put a lot of things into perspective for me. It was hard, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but as hard as it is, your loved one needs you. And when you’re through the thick of it, your acceptance and help through that time will mean more to them than you will ever understand. Here are some of the things I’ve discovered along the way.