This isn’t really a post – this is me finding a brilliant article about depression that deserves to be shared. I’d never heard of Tim Lott before I read this, but I think he’s a kindred spirit.
To try and explain what his illness felt like to him, he uses his mother’s suicide (which most people would be able to relate to as a truly ghastly event to deal with) as a marker of grief and apathy. That must have been terrible – but even that wasn’t as bad as being depressed?
He’s right. My dad died of pancreatic cancer when I was 17, and the circumstances were such that I had to handle it on my own, emotionally (and, within weeks, in all other ways). And I can honestly say that I would rather endure that all over again than go through another severe depression.
But that’s not why I’m telling you this – this isn’t me being self-pitying, I promise! What I’m wondering is why it is important that we should understand Lott’s experience. Sure, mental health practitioners and pharmaceutical researchers need to know as much as possible, but I’m talking about the people around him. Around us. Why isn’t it enough to say, Look, I’m really ill right now, can you please leave me alone for two months? And if I start smelling because I haven’t showered, ignore that too… ?
I’ve come to the conclusion that we want people to know how it feels so that they don’t judge us. Being judged negatively, for something you can’t prevent and certainly don’t want, is a double trauma. I have to wonder how many marriages and other close relationships between people have failed due to one person’s inability to “get it”. Perhaps it says as much about a depressive’s inability to communicate clearly as much as the listener’s inability to empathise?
I’m rambling, I apologise. Lott’s article helped me, maybe it will also help you. x