The name of this illness is something people either shy away from or overuse, but real depression is a silent fight against an invisible force that no one else can see, yet is is as real as the fingers on my hands that type this.
Depression is not only a bona-fide illness, it’s a killer. As a child I lost an uncle to this illness, and although I was too young to know him well or understand what was going on, his absence in our family has always been palpable. Back then, no one understood what it was or what to do about it. My family tried to pull him out of that dark hole he was in, but there was no support, no help, no awareness. And so we lost him, as so many, many other families have lost loved ones.
The susceptibility to this illness is genetically inherited. It can be triggered like any disease by a set of circumstances that awaken those genes, or it can be a slow, creeping decline until functioning in normal life becomes as hard as climbing Everest, every moment of every day. Symptoms can be anything from substance abuse, to anxiety, to sadness and weeping, but it is usually when the illness has completely taken hold that we start looking for help for it, or it gets to be too late.
Depression takes our loved ones and locks them in despair and hopelessness. As we are all unique it can be different for everyone. Some can’t stop crying, some are numb, others trapped in a black hole, and some wade through life unable to function. I’ve heard it described as ‘black’, as a ‘swamp’, as a ‘grey cloud’ to name a few, and most people I have seen with full-blown depression talk about suicide – even if it’s not a real option to them, they will have thought about it.
It takes all that is good and numbs it to black. It isolates and destroys. And all this may be going on without any outward showing of what is happening inside, which makes it difficult for people on the outside to get it. Like a good friend who suffers bouts of depression said to me once ‘if i had the flu I could go to bed and my husband would understand’. People, unable to see anything physically wrong, can’t see why the sufferer can’t just ‘harden up’ and ‘get on with it’. Anybody who has suffered depression understands the impossibility of this, and the sense of failure and guilt and shame that goes with it at being unable to function ‘like everyone else’. And all the affirmations or positive thinking in the world can’t help, because although the brain can think the words, nothing good can be felt.
In these states the only medical answer is a pill that takes a month to start working, and which works by depressing the range of emotions so that the ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ become ‘evens’. This pill is an absolute life-saver, but the list of side effects is long, and coming off them even harder.
This is where the beauty of homeopathy lies, in a desperate illnesses such as this. A well-prescribed remedy works very quickly, and can take a person from the bottom of despair to functioning in a matter of days, sometimes even hours. Watching a person who has given up return to themselves is an amazing gift homeopathy has given me. What the remedy is effectively doing is bringing the person back in to balance, restoring the ability to hope and see light and feel love again, and unblocking the stuck and stagnant energy that has stopped life in it’s tracks.
This modern world isolates us, bringing us together often only on the means of social network platforms. We no longer know our neighbours, or know how to ask for help long before things get beyond bad. It used to take a village to raise a child, now the full responsibility falls on to two parents. We need to work faster, live better, eat on the go and do more, and all the while we are interacting and dealing with griefs, emotions, shocks and traumas that we try to push under the mat in order to carry on as life expects. No time to be or even feel like a gloomy-pants – and so we go and go until our system or our mental/emotional equilibrium collapses.
The world may not change, but how you feel and take care of yourself can. Be kind to yourself – you who are a vital part of this universe. Before the load gets so heavy you can’t lift it, and especially if you know depression exists in your family already, I urge you to look after that beautiful and important soul that is you. And if you read this and know you can’t do that, or you recognise yourself or someone else in this blog, please please, ask for help. A life may depend on it.
Lifeline: 0800 543 354
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865
Depression Helpline: 0508 111 757 or text free 4202
Anxiety Phone Line: 0800 269 4389
Family Services 211 Helpline: 0800 211 211
Supporting Families in Mental Illness: 0800 732 825
Kidsline: 0800 543 754
Youthline: 0800 376 633 free text 234