Depression. Don’t Go There Alone

Your mind is like an unsafe neighborhood; don’t go there alone.

I think this quote from Augusten Burroughs is one of the best pieces of advice for people with depression, a disease too difficult, and too dangerous, to cope with it alone.

However, depression is tricky: unlike other diseases, it makes you reluctant to reach out for help. According to Aaron Beck, there are three aspects of a depressed person’s thinking pattern:

(1) thinking badly about oneself,
(2) thinking badly about the world,
(3) thinking badly about the future,

which translate more or less into:
(1) “I’m so hopeless I don’t deserve help,”
(2) “Other people won’t be willing to help me anyway,”
(3) “I won’t get better no matter what.”

Because this overall pattern is imprinted in the mind of a depressed person, they most probably won’t ask for help no matter how many times you repeat this great piece of advice.

So, too many people struggle with the disease alone and, sadly, way too many die because of it.

I wish I had the magical power to stop this happening. I’m no magician, though, and all I can do is share with you… a comic first, and then some of my thoughts.

cool-depression-webcomic-bench-friend
Final panels of “Depression is Quiet” [1]
If you ask me, there’s something almost magical about psychological help. Of course, turning to a therapist won’t result in them giving you instructions on how to get better. However, talking the whole thing through with them may ultimately set you free from the prison of your own mind [2].

With time, you may open up to thoughts that wouldn’t have crossed your mind before. Thoughts like: “I’m just an imperfect, struggling, right now — exhausted human being, but if I give myself time, I’ll get strong enough to cope with the disease” [3]. And with more time, you’ll start believing in it.

Psychological help aside, there is also a lot to be learned from simply talking to people about the disease. It may be extremely difficult, but if there is someone you can trust, bringing up the topic may let you see yourself, the depression, and your other problems, from a different perspective. And that, frequently, is one of the milestones on the road of recovery.

The above is taken from my experience, so it’s quite personal. Let’s get back to cliché now: probably the greatest thing a depressed person can benefit from getting is simply kindness.

But I don’t know what more to say about kindness. It’s not a thing you can actually ask for: it just happens at times, like a warm breeze on your face, or kittens colliding on the Internet.

And, if you ask me, it’s quite a magical power. So yes, perhaps I am a magician in a sense. Perhaps we all are.


[1] I didn’t manage to track down the author of the comic. All of it here.
[2] Which, admittedly, is a shitty place to be when you suffer from depression.
[3] This is only an example.

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mulan92

I'm an unprofessional writer, reader and translator. I'm also a walking, breathing and listening addict. And I love being all that.

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