Friday, September 19, 2014

When the Light Goes Out

Help me, Oh Lord, not to sit under an umbrella and think the sun will never shine.  Let me look out of my cloud of depression and see your beautiful glories.  Glories meant for me.  Help me to understand that setbacks, defeats, sadness and failures are not the core to life.  They are only a part of life.  They are there for reasons as such as being in the wrong place, to making a poor decision, to an opportunity to learn and be taught, a result of trauma, or a chemical imbalance.  Help me open the envelope, reach inside and find a message of mercy and promise.  I pray this prayer for everyone suffering depression. 

Depression is not the world; it is a part of a world that keeps pulling us under its gray spell.  It is the meaning of negativity.  It’s the end of optimism, self-esteem and often the desire to live.  When we allow depression to engulf our mind, it effectively eliminates all our positive qualities because our mind no longer has room to think of them as qualities.  Each slip lower into depression eliminates our knowledge of a quality that makes us a valuable person.  

As those qualities are eliminated in our mind, they are replaced with real and imagined negative thoughts of our self and the world.   The pull is extremely hard and powerful. 

If the depressed have never been taught how those steps towards negativity mushroom and spiral into deeper and deeper depression.  If they’ve never been taught how to recognize and work at stopping that spiral, as the depression becomes more powerful, they will end up with no tools to combat the progress into darkness. 

No matter what methods are used to treat depression, methods to personally recognize and combat the spiral downward must be taught.  If a person is over drugged, they will not be able to use those methods effectively while in a stupor.  If a person is over analyzed, they will not be able to recognize the spiral while spending time blaming.  If families are not taught the steps needed and only rely on one form of treatment, they will be eliminating the powerful tool of self-awareness.

I know some people have been born with a physical propensity to depression.  My mother suffered from depression most of her life and it was difficult for not only her but also all who cared about her.  Back then no one talked about depression because it was considered an ugly little secret.  It was the preverbal elephant in the room.  Her treatment was mainly to over medicate.  At times she was admitted to the hospital for treatments that were very nearly an example out of the middle ages torture chambers.  She was doctored by the method to blame everything and everyone but never taught to manage her illness.  She never developed the skills needed to recognize the waves of depression nor how to manage those times.

Because it was not a topic discussed, her family didn’t have the knowledge and skills to recognize and help.  Here are a few things I learned as I got older and more informed:

When a person becomes depressed it’s a gradual process.  I like to term it a process of shutting doors in the mind to the outside world.  Slowly, the mind begins to focus inwardly instead of the world around them.  As that process progresses, as each thought turns inward, the ability to partake in life itself is closed.

I can often recognize this closing of doors by looking at the eyes of a person.  It’s where there’s a smile on their lips but the eye are expressionless.  It’s laughing but having no humor in the responses.  It’s hearing people talk only after someone makes the effort to gain their attention.  It’s subtle but real.

I encourage you and your family and friends to include professional instruction when you or someone is suffering depression.  Medication and hospitalization may be a part of treatment but learning the skills to combat the closing of mental doors is essential for surviving.  Once those doors completely close and they only look inward, it’s very difficult to help them prevent hopelessness.  The darkness of looking only inward prevents hope from gaining a foothold.

No matter if the one you care for is going through depression because they are a teenager, or have suffered a loss or if they have a predisposition for depression, it’s necessary for them to know how to stop the doors of the mind from closing out hope.

Loved ones cannot stop depression by loving more, by caring more or by talking them out of depression.  Loved ones can suggest, even insist, their treatment includes instruction on recognizing when depression is starting and methods to help turn it aside.

As family and friends, we can’t cure another of depression.  It’s a difficult and often thankless caregiver position.  We can be involved in the treatment by knowing exactly what treatment they are receiving and insisting on more than masking depression. 

Not exactly a garden article but was something that I felt strongly enough about to share today.  Before Robin Williams death, I saw several photos of him where I knew he was closing the doors of his mind to the positive outside influences.  His eyes no longer smiled.  When a well known celebrity closes all the doors of his mind and only looks inward, we see all too well how his loving family, the adoring public and his treatments no longer were able to pull him out.   I do not wish that loss on others.


No comments:

Post a Comment