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LETS ALL LAUGH AT PEOPLE WITH DEPRESSION!!

  • #1
    Administrators, Business & Finance Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 32,414 admin DeVore


    I suffer from depression.



    I was spurred to write this by a few things, but what put me over the top was the recent handling of Kate Fitzgerald's suicide by the Irish Times and The Communications Clinic along with SineadW's terrific photographical artwork for WhatStigma.

    I'm lucky. I don't get it as badly as other people I know. I want to explain about it though because either you suffer from it too and I want to share, or you don't and I want to explain a few things.

    Now, it's not traditionally the the lightest of topics but hey, I'm game let's see if I can't raise a few giggles along the way? I'm going to break this up into three sections. Firstly for people who dont have a full understanding of depression and its effects. Secondly for those who may get it. Thirdly my own personal experiences and things I wish people knew.



    SO IF YOU DONT UNDERSTAND DEPRESSION, HERES SOMETHINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

    Depression is not sadness.
    One of the biggest misunderstandings about depression is that its like being really sad. It's not. It's like being *nothing*. Not sad, not happy, nothing. No joy, no sorrow. Flat line. Sure it can be triggered, exacerbated or deepened by bad, sad news... But the feeling is not one of sadness, it's more a flat feeling of inertia.
    To give you an idea, there was a day, not years ago, I got up and made myself a coffee and discovered I had no milk and thought: Why do I even bother, the world is ****ed and I can't fix it and went back to bed for the rest of the day. Two days later I couldn't figure out why someone had left a cup of black coffee go cold in my kitchen... :)

    Walk it off!!
    Frequently I will look back on a period, weeks even months and notice the signs. Believe it or not it's not always easy to spot when you are depressed, it's an amazingly insidious thing. And worse, when someone has it bad, they won't even care they have it. Nothing seems worth bothering about, even getting themselves help seems fncking pointless.
    Depression isn't something you can just "snap out of". Vitamin C and a kick in the arse is, curiously, not a solution. :rolleyes:


    Mental health issues = keep him away from sharp things.
    Believe me, if I'm depressed the very last thing I could be bothered doing is chasing your dumb ass around with a carving knife. Mental health has this ludicrous perception in Ireland that somehow sufferers are a danger to themselves and others. Ok, in very severe cases the person might self harm either through omission of care or deliberately. Ironically if we didn't have this stigma many of those people would get help and that wouldn't become an issue and feed the stigma in the first place. Like so many things about depression, its ironically self-referential.

    The number of cases where someone hurts others due to mental health issues (particularly depression) is a tiny tiny fraction. Tiny. We aren't Norman Bates and people need to stop hearing that shower music when someone shares their mental health issues.

    People with mental health issues are intellectually sub-optimal

    Wrong. Just plain wrong. In fact, I would hazard a guess that it has some correlation with high intelligence myself.
    For my own part, last time I had it checked I had an iq above 150. (when I practised the tests I got that up to 180... so I wouldnt put too much stock in those tests :) ).
    I'm 41 and pretty much retired. By any possible yardstick I've been successful and I'm bright. I have 7 honours in the leaving cert, a degree in pure mathematics, I studied 6 languages and have 11 honours in O-Levels which I sat in a single year (my "gap" year). Dumb, I aint. Lots of the people I know who have depression have it because they see TOO clearly rather than that they have poor intellects.


    So, Wtf have you got to be depressed about??
    I have absolutely nothing to be depressed about. By anyone's standards I have lived a life less ordinary. With thanks to everyone on boards, I will probably never have to do a ****ty menial job again. My family are all thankfully healthy and I'm at the top of my game.
    If only depression worked that way. It doesn't, it's not rational, it's insidious, it's illogical. Rather bizarrely I'm much more susceptible to it when things are going really well for me. When everything is in chaos and banjaxed I'm like a pig in ****e! Don't think that because someone's life looks great that they can't suffer from this. Don't think that only losers or people down on their luck can be depressed.

    Instead my depression manifests as my own criticism of me. While I'll cut lots of people lots of slack, I get none. Nothing I ever do is good enough and when the black dog is barking hard I can take every achievement I've notched up and trash it. Boards? I rode on Clouds coat tails. Gaelcon? The rest of the team carried me. SSF, I can do more. My degree? Should have been good enough to be a post grad.

    I'm available for bar mitzvahs and parties you know. Just sayin'...

    How can I help
    If you suffer from depression you can help yourself by talking about it. You can also be honest with yourself and try to see what might be a trigger for you. For me, exercise seems to help. If I allow myself to mope about things like the economy or exactly how ****ing retarded our government is, I can feel the downward spiral coming on and I have learned to head that off at the pass. Diet I'm told, is important. My diet is a wreck but I'm working on it. (Yesterday's dinner was made entirely by Rowntrees I noticed... bold DeV!)

    If you dont suffer from it then you can help by understanding it better. You can help by not making a big deal out of something that probably wouldnt be a big deal if we didn't make one out of it. :) Be supportive, listen and for God's sake dont say something like "yeah, when my cat died I was totally bummed out". I know you mean it well, but its like consoling a cancer suffer with the tale of how you once cut your finger. :)


    TO ANYONE OUT THERE WHO GETS THIS NASTY LITTLE CURSE:

    "I'm a basketcase, ****ed up and if I tell people they will try to kill me with fire."
    1 in 4 suffer depression. At those odds if you tell two people, you are almost 50/50 to be talking to another sufferer. It's means almost every family has a member who is hit by it. It means everyone knows someone who has a mental health problem, probably several people.
    You aren't frankenstein's monster, they aren't going to chase you out of the village with torches.
    You aren't a freak. Ok maybe you ARE a freak, I dunno. :) but if you are, its not because of your mental health issue.

    What should you do?
    Talk to someone. Anyone. Either in person or on the phone/email if you feel you can't face someone just yet. It wasn't easy for me either. Some people find it easier to talk to a complete stranger, others find it easier to talk to a family member or best mate.
    Me? Well people have this strange image of me and who I am because of Boards and other things I do and telling people that I am not perfect was really hard at first. I'm a ridiculous over achiever. I wanted to preserve that public image because I thought people will treat me like a leper. Worse, they'll pity me. I don't need anyone's ****ing pity! :)
    Talking really helped. REALLY helped. Waay more than I thought it would. In fact once I started, I couldnt stop and you know what, it felt goooooooooood.



    MY STORY

    My breakthrough came when my sister (a pharmacist) once said to me, "Tom, you know it sounds like you might have a touch of depression". She said it like it was nothing, like I might have a bit of a head cold. A touch of depression?? WTF?? To me that was like saying "Hey, you might have a touch of Ebola!". How could she be so nonchalant about this huge massive overwhelming secret I've been hiding?!

    For some reason we find it perfectly fine to talk about physical illness. People will more then readily tell you they are dying from flu or that they sprained their ankle but a touch of depression and it's like the third secret of Fatima. Why? Because the belief is that mental health means you aren't rational, reasonable, predictable.

    The vast majority of people with mental health issues are not "mad". They haven't lost their moral compass. When I'm depressed I'm the same person I always am, indeed on many many occasions since I was 9 I have successfully fooled people perfectly well that I'm "normal", whatever that is. Well, normal for me. Ok maybe I'm not a great example :) but lots and lots of people do it, they maintain a facade of normality while being depressed. If someone tells you they suffer from depression, don't start backing away. You've probably met them a dozen times when they *actually* were depressed, now isnt the time to stop believing they are who they are.


    Depression isnt a joke. Untreated it can lead people to very dark places. But its not a death sentence either. I've lived with it all my life and it hasnt held me back because I deal with it as best I can. If you suffer from it, please please please, from someone who knows where you are, talk. You wont believe how much better you will feel, its ****ing awesome. Talking about things put it in perspective for me, made me see that I *could* cope, that life could be good. I listed the top ten most important things about me, in my opinion. I was shocked when I reaslised I hadnt listed depression.


    Talk to someone.

    Anyone.




    (just not the Irish Times).

    DeV.

    Edit: Other resources online:
    Our own Long Term Illness forum has a thread on it: http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=2055828992
    Pieta House has been mentioned a few times on the site: http://www.pieta.ie/
    The Clearsil & Hormones forum has a thread on it specifically for younger people (teens and 20s I guess): http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=2055801504

    Reading Material:
    Royal College of Psychiatrist: Readable info on all mental health topics aimed at patients and caregivers.

    Psychology Today on Mindfulness: Readable and essential non-medication treatment ideas. All stuff that can improve your life with no side effects. Does not negate the need for meds in many cases but it can improve your quality of life.

    NIMH booklets on mental health topics: Good reading. Again aimed at patients.

    Over the Xmas 2011, there is a Twitter account named: @121depression which will be manned by some cool peeps. You can talk to them or you can just have a natter.

    This video was released by the people behind #depressionhurts http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oP7DIIcgkzs&context=C31d1892ADOEgsToPDskLkwkiEZMmlX12oYXVB3euR


    FAMILY SUPPORT: Aware run relatives groups, twice a month in Cork anyway, for peer support and similar. Console have a helpline for people bereaved by suicide. The Samaritans accept calls (as far as I know) from people whose source of stress and worry is the mental illness of a loved one or friend.

    Group support: https://www.turn2me.org/index.php/group-support.html?gclid=COrkxZbC160CFQIm3godbS4mmQ

    DepressionHurts Ireland: http://www.depressionhurtsireland.com/ great website and a great read for sufferers and supporters alike!

    Blog about Mental health and dealing with it from a personal point of view. http://beautyfrompainblog.wordpress.com/

    Aware run meetings, with trained facilitators.

    http://www.aware.ie//help/support/aware_support_services/

    http://www.aware.ie/help/support_groups_map/

    They also run separate support groups for family and partner of people living with depression.

    GROW is a group therapy org for mental health... more about them here: http://www.grow.ie/about.html

    I'll edit in any more that people post, if you think of any, please let me know.
    Tagged:


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Comments



  • Great post, DeV and thanks for posting. :)

    To add to that "seeing too clearly" point -- you can't just stop seeing things that way. My advice to anyone who doesn't understand depression is that telling people to get out of their own heads will not help. I think it was no fewer than three doctors who suggested I stop thinking so much when I went seeking help. The problem with this advice is that I stopped analysing my thoughts and feelings and the depression was allowed to just take over.

    Learning to reshape how you think, rather than just trying to cut off any thoughts, can help immensely. One of the keys to conquering depression is to turn that incredible self awareness on the areas of your life that are impacting on your mental health and figuring out solutions.

    And I've said it before and I'll say it again -- Pieta House saved my life, not only through stopping me wanting to end it, but by helping me to find meaning in it and learning to place a value on it.

    Good luck to anyone suffering or who is struggling to deal with a depressed love one. It can get better. x




  • After Hours.
    Best place for counciling. Maybe.
    Why not go to Personal Issues?




  • policarp wrote: »
    After Hours.
    Best place for counciling. Maybe.
    Why not go to Personal Issues?

    Because it's not a personal issue. It affects a giant chunk of the population as well as the families and friends of those who suffer.




  • A1. Excellent post
    For a moment when I saw the heading I thought a hacking had occured!
    DeVore wrote: »
    Talk to someone.

    Anyone.




    (just not the Irish Times).


    DeV.
    I did laugh, guess that was the point!




  • policarp wrote: »
    After Hours.
    Best place for counciling. Maybe.
    Why not go to Personal Issues?
    Because PI people already know this stuff.

    Because the ignorance of the general populace is more of a problem than depression itself.

    Because I'm willing to be the guinea pig and have people say anything they like about me and this, so long as its talked about, so I'm happy to "brave" AH and talk to everyone, sufferer or otherwise.

    Millicent, you will be pleased to know then that an Xbox bought with the proceed of last years AH SSF drive was delivered to Pieta House and they were beyond chuffed. I have them locked on for this year too. :)

    DeV.


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  • DeVore wrote: »
    Depression is not sadness.
    One of the biggest misunderstandings about depression is that its like being really sad. It's not. It's like being *nothing*. Not sad, not happy, nothing.

    Firstly, great post.

    But I just want to pick up on something here. I have suffered from depression on and off throughout my life. Always have, always will. Depression IS like emptiness but for me at least, it is also a persistent sadness. Sadness and nothingness in a curious mix. A sense of despair. So, it's not necessarily true to say it is nothingness and there are no other feelings involved. I just want people to know that. Some people might just feel emptiness but for others, all-consuming sadness and despair features heavily too, in conjunction with nothingness.




  • DeVore wrote: »
    Because PI people already know this stuff.

    Because the ignorance of the general populace is more of a problem than depression itself.

    Because I'm willing to be the guinea pig and have people say anything they like about me and this, so long as its talked about, so I'm happy to "brave" AH and talk to everyone, sufferer or otherwise.

    Millicent, you will be pleased to know then that an Xbox bought with the proceed of last years AH SSF drive was delivered to Pieta House and they were beyond chuffed. I have them locked on for this year too. :)

    DeV.

    Fantastic -- delighted to hear it. :) If I can help out in any way, please let me know. I can't praise them enough. They are a wonderful, wonderful organisation.




  • down that road a bit, not the mae west tonight.




  • Great post, one point you made really stood out to me and that was exercise! Exercising is a great way of relieving depression.

    You are going to get 500 thanks or more for that post I'd say :D




  • ThePower11 wrote: »
    Great post, one point you made really stood out to me and that was exercise! Exercising is a great way of relieving depression.

    Curiously, exercise has always made me feel really low afterwards, my mood completely drops.


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  • I think we may be all aware of depression but it's very hard to know what to say or do with a person with depression I think is the problem.


    Another thing is this exact time is very common for suicides (early monday mornings) and especially around the festive time, so ring the Samaritans even if it's just for a chat.


    So why did you post this now Devore, are you feeling particularly low tonight?




  • DeVore wrote: »
    Because PI people already know this stuff.

    Because the ignorance of the general populace is more of a problem than depression itself.

    Because I'm willing to be the guinea pig and have people say anything they like about me and this, so long as its talked about, so I'm happy to "brave" AH and talk to everyone, sufferer or otherwise.

    Millicent, you will be pleased to know then that an Xbox bought with the proceed of last years AH SSF drive was delivered to Pieta House and they were beyond chuffed. I have them locked on for this year too. :)

    DeV.
    Sorry DeV missed the point.




  • AstridBean wrote: »
    Firstly, great post.

    But I just want to pick up on something here. I have suffered from depression on and off throughout my life. Always have, always will. Depression IS like emptiness but for me at least, it is also a persistent sadness. Sadness and nothingness in a curious mix. A sense of despair. So, it's not necessarily true to say it is nothingness and there are no other feelings involved. I just want people to know that. Some people might just feel emptiness but for others, all-consuming sadness and despair features heavily too, in conjunction with nothingness.
    Sorry, yes, thats why I tried to split this into three parts with the third as my personal experience. It hits everyone differently and I'm "lucky" that I dont get that sadness. At least I dont now, when I was a kid I would cry myself to sleep and I wouldnt know why. Over the years I've come to recognise that downward spiral and I know that it goes nowhere good.

    I also know that the best time to combat it is right at the start, right then when I see the trend. Thats helped me from getting to that state now...

    But yes, its a very subjective experience.

    DeV.




  • Great post.

    It was such a struggle for me to finally spit out how bad I was feeling to my GP just over a year ago.Luckily he was excellent,and referred me to the community mental health clinic where various mental health staff assessed and diagnosed me with clinical depression with bi-polar tendencies,apparently!

    I reckon I had been struggling with depression since my early teens,but my shocking family history in relation to depression and mental illness,and the way that various aunts and uncles of mine who had been diagnosed,were dismissively discussed by my parents and grandparents when out of earshot made me supress the idea of ever telling my family how I was feeling.

    I've since told my mother who's been great in fairness,and a few close friends who have been very supportive too.

    I'd definitely echo Dev's advice,if you are feeling depressed,talk to somebody,anybody,don't just bottle your feelings up like I did for so many years,which I wish I hadn't of done!




  • Oranage2 wrote: »
    I think we may be all aware of depression but it's very hard to know what to say or do with a person with depression I think is the problem.


    Another thing is this exact time is very common for suicides (early monday mornings) and especially around the festive time, so ring the Samaritans even if it's just for a chat.


    So why did you post this now Devore, are you feeling particularly low tonight?

    You know what I found hurt the most when I was depressed? The reluctance of people to just listen. You don't have to say the exact right thing. Just letting a depressed person let off steam or have a cry or get it all out of their system can be the kindest, most loving and definitely most appreciated thing you can do.

    And genuinely, fair played to you for being willing to make the effort to try to find the best way to deal with a depressed person. Sadly, a lot of people tend to ignore it, either out of awkwardness or not wishing to pry, creating a sense of isolation that really compounds the illness.

    Being there for someone is genuinely enough for most. :)




  • Meh,...


    I've suffered from depression all my life, and i've talked about it with people (well told them, anyway). But we can talk, and we can cry, and we can hug, and we can laugh, but tomorrow its going to be the same, i'm going to feel the same, and if you keep talking about it, how everything you say, or dont say, everything you do, or dont do, is because of the way you feel inside... people can get tired of it.


    Not feeling too bad these days (well, on the dole, so dont have to leave the house, can stay in bed all day...), havnt talked to anyone about it in a while either




  • Dev, it was a well constructed, informative post. Your honesty is inspiring, and while I read through it, my fear was that it wouldn't receive the best response in AH.


    I've suffered from it too, but I don't have the bravery you have to go into specifics. Fair play to you.





  • I'd definitely echo Dev's advice,if you are feeling depressed,talk to somebody,anybody,don't just bottle your feelings up like I did for so many years,which I wish I hadn't of done!

    I'd add a caveat to that. Talk to the right people. I know that opening up to people who were dismissive made me feel so much worse. If you don't have a friend or family member you can talk to, there is no shame or failure in speaking to the Samaritans, a counsellor, a doctor, your clergyman or similar if you are religious etc. Someone will give you the response you need. Don't give up if the first people you try can't or won't understand.




  • This is really insightful. I've just gone through a really tough break-up where the other person was depressed and had to break up with me because of it. I thought that I could help it by simply being cheerier and a better girlfriend. He never attempted to break it down for me like this (not that I would expect him to, and I never asked him to). But reading this post actually helps me a lot. I know now that it's not my fault, and it's not his either. Thanks.




  • Meh,...


    I've suffered from depression all my life, and i've talked about it with people (well told them, anyway). But we can talk, and we can cry, and we can hug, and we can laugh, but tomorrow its going to be the same, i'm going to feel the same, and if you keep talking about it, how everything you say, or dont say, everything you do, or dont do, is because of the way you feel inside... people can get tired of it.


    Not feeling too bad these days (well, on the dole, so dont have to leave the house, can stay in bed all day...), havnt talked to anyone about it in a while either

    Maybe counselling might help? I know it wasn't till I learned what to change in my thought process or figured out how to deal with emotions in a more practical way instead of having an "Argh! Run away!" response that I started to get better.

    Good luck with everything.


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  • efb wrote: »
    down that road a bit, not the mae west tonight.
    Oranage2 No, I'm ok. I've come through a bout of it this summer, a particular insididous bout which is why you guys may not have seen me around quite as much, but I'm good now, on the rise and heading to the surface. I have been working on that piece for days and a bout of insomnia made me determined to finish it tonight.


    Efb, for what its worth there's an irish bloke sitting in Malta wishing you well right now. Please talk to someone when you get a chance. I'm not a therapist so I dunno what to say but you arent alone.

    DeV.




  • DeVore wrote: »
    Because the ignorance of the general populace is more of a problem than depression itself.
    Indeed, it seems an unspoken taboo. I see sportsmen and women being less reluctant to come out as gay than to admit depression.

    For the most part, people these days accept that sexuality isn't something that can be altered - so therefore more accepting. With depression it's a case of;
    - Pull yourself together
    - What are you depressed about? You have a good job/family/etc




  • Great post. I think depression is like trying to find a balance between self-creation and self-destruction. Exercise works for some depressed people but self-harming works for others.




  • Nicely put Dev. You captured a lot in that piece. I'd say you have a lot of hope and light left if your mind can keep on articulating what it's going through.




  • Wow great post DeV. Very informative, I learned a lot about depression that I didn't know.




  • cursai wrote: »
    Nicely put Dec. You captured a lot in that piece. I'd say you have a lot of hope and light left if your mind can keep on articulating what it's going through.
    Good point Ant :pac:




  • Blimey O'Reilly! Looks like all members of Boards are depressees (sic). ;)

    Good post DeV. I know two people who have had it. One who couldn't bear it any longer and left behind such a beautiful, caring family steeped in grief ten years later. The other fighting hard to get out of the depths of despair but just when you think they've beaten it, it grabs them again and tears them, and their families lives to pieces. Both incredibly intelligent and successful people.

    My question? Can stupid people get Depression? ;)




  • DeVore wrote: »
    Oranage2 No, I'm ok. I've come through a bout of it this summer, a particular insididous bout which is why you guys may not have seen me around quite as much, but I'm good now, on the rise and heading to the surface. I have been working on that piece for days and a bout of insomnia made me determined to finish it tonight.


    Efb, for what its worth there's an irish bloke sitting in Malta wishing you well right now. Please talk to someone when you get a chance. I'm not a therapist so I dunno what to say but you arent alone.

    DeV.

    Dev, I do. tks. but the more we stand together the less alone we are.




  • Thanks OP, great read, great insight into something, TBH, i don't understand.


    Ah response: Grow a pair! ;)


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  • Guill wrote: »
    Thanks OP, great read, great insight into something, TBH, i don't understand.


    Ah response: Grow a pair! ;)


    4 balls would look funny


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