I’m writing this because I had a conversation today with someone who has bad depression and she was relieved to share this with me. In fact she initiated the discussion. Good on her I say.
I’ve had a week off work, compliments of my doctor who suggested three times I might need some time off. I stopped denying at the third offer and accepted.
The doctor made this offer because I finally visited her in an attempt to deal with a depression that was threatening to take over my life.
To be honest I am not sure it was a true depression – not like the two major events I have had in my life. But this time I finally realised that I needed to do something, it wasn’t getting better each week as I waited to see if I’d manage it. I did everything I could think of: gym, dancing, Spanish classes, cut the alcohol……but the sleep was more disturbed and my perception of the world more distorted.
Fortunately I have good friends with whom I finally talked.
And so I’ve had a week of sleeping well, a road trip and a visit to the Dowse Museum to see the works of Erenora and Rangi Hetet. Time at the gym, time reading, biffing stuff out and culling the associated memories. Teaching myself to use an updated imovie (trickier than the old one) and chilling. I’ve avoided anything that makes me feel anxious or that I don’t feel I want to do. I eat more healthily, I don’t sit all day in an overheated, noisy open plan office and I move more. I use the computer when I wish to not when I have to. I spend less on coffee, food and petrol. But yes of course I’m on sick leave so money still comes in.
The question is what causes these depressions and how many people suffer from them and worse.
The answers are we don’ know and lots of people. It doesn’t matter how much better off you know you are compared with many in the world, how lucky you are and what a fortunate life you lead. All of that just doesn’t help. In fact it makes you feel guilty and ashamed.
It’s fantastic that people like John Kirwin talk about these issues, and I was sad that the woman I spoke with today was hesitant but brave about talking about it.
Needs to happen more.