Cheer up mate, worse things ‘appen at sea!

Didn’t seem to do much for Brian when he was hanging on the cross next to the two thieves in Monty Python’s Life of Brian (but then, he hadn’t been to sea yet.  If he had he would’ve known that there is technically no limit to the number of times you can puke, although there IS a limit to the number of sick bags supplied by the average whale watching charter boat).

ANYWAY, that is NOT what this post is about. Or perhaps it is, sort of.

In my ramblings about the internet, I happened to come across 31 to Life, a feminist and academic who’s not feeling great about life in general.  She feels lonely, hopeless and undervalued by her friends and family.  She has suicidal thoughts.  She’s depressed.

Reading this, I felt a strong sense of fellow feeling.  Who hasn’t felt worthless, from time to time? Lonely.  Hopeless about the future and about all those glib promises that are made in Disney movies and so rarely borne out in real life.  Who hasn’t, at times, felt as if there is no one who can put their arms around you and say, I don’t care what the rest of the world’s opinion is, but to me, you really matter.

But then, to me these feelings are occasional, because whatever else I might be, I’m rarely depressed.  I’m therefore uniquely unqualified to tell anyone who IS depressed, to cheer up, or in fact say anything else helpful about the condition.

But THEN I thought…there are lots of people out there who do really know what it’s like to be depressed, and who DO really know what to say and how to help – beyond the platitudes that people who haven’t been through this experience tend to offer in their sympathy and ignorance.

So I leave it open.  Here is 31 to Life’s blog, and I really hope she doesn’t mind me linking to it.  Please go and see if you can make her feel a little less sad…

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39 comments

    • That’s true, a lot of people feel down around Christmas – the weight of expectations that you’ll be feasting and rejoicing, and the disconnect when you’re not.

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  1. Depression is a complex disease, and it’s certainly not a matter of just ‘bucking up,’ is it? I feel for those who suffer from it. It’s not merely a “state of mind” but a true biochemical imbalance worsened by life’s circumstances.

    • Exactly. And I feel once you’re on anti depressants, necessary as they are, your biochemical balance becomes dependent and it’s very hard to restore a ‘normal’ state. My mood is like a cork, things automatically right themselves, but when you’re depressed, you’re more like a waterlogged boat. Or something.

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  2. You are such a sweetie; even though you try oh so hard to cover up…!
    My education is so deprived. You know, Rose, I haven’t watched ‘The Life of Brian’. I know, I know; shame on me…!
    We haven’t got it in our DVD cupboard so K said he’d get it for me to watch. He also said it was a little silly and I’d probably not enjoy it… Ah well, my education is lacking so I shall watch as much as I can…
    Depression is a terrible thing; I can vouch for that having been there. Nothing for it but to ‘tough it out’ really. Platitudes are just that; meaningless. If it’s true depression only a genuine ‘close’ relationship with the sufferer can benefit. If it’s just life getting you down at times, a platitude or two may suffice….! Either way; not a good position in which to find oneself…!

    • I think Life of Brian was probably at its funniest in the 80s – things tend to date. But it was so funny then I nearly fell over laughing. Ah yes, depression. My horrible ex, who had it, used to say that all he needed from me was sort of hand holding and understanding and quiet support, which I gave. But I’m no good with depressed people, my heart is saying ‘sympathise’ and my gut is saying ‘run!’. Sounds awful but it’s the truth. Have you recovered from depression, Carolyn?

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      • Yes, Rose…. that was a long time ago. Depression can be such an ‘ugly’ condition. It can isolate and taunt and befriend in a very perverse way; but I drift…!
        I appreciate what you are saying in regard to ‘running’ from it! Who wants to be with such a confusing relationship; life is difficult enough (at times) without having to deal with someone else’s depression.
        When I first met K he was depressed. It took about 3 years for him to fully recover. It was a difficult period of time, being with someone who was depressed. He tried hard however, depression can be so insidious; it can ‘stalk’ the individual suffering, and be just around that hidden corner. Today he is recovered and, I believe so much stronger. I guess there is a certain truth to the saying: “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” Did your ex recover?

      • I’m glad that K recovered. I’ve known a couple of people who’ve weathered it and come good, too. My ex – I don’t know. After I left him I took no further interest, but I don’t expect he did recover, he was a very troubled person in a lot of ways, who leaked poison into a lot of lives other than mine. Still, if he did, good on him – happy people make for happy relationships.

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      • “happy people make for happy relationships.”
        So true…! It’s not easy being human… there are so many ‘pitfalls’; man made and self made. I think we can, at least, give ourselves a bit of a pat on the back for ‘surviving’ thus far; dare I say ‘relatively sane’… 😉

  3. I love these people that say ‘cheer up’. I think what they really mean is, ‘ I have a problem handling your depression so cheer up than I don’t have to deal with it’. But then we are all different I guess. Interesting post 😉

    • Well, that’s what I mean when I say it! Like, please cheer up, because it bothers me that you’re sad, because I’m an empathetic person and I feel your sadness (that, or I’m sick of having to go ‘mmm, that’s awful’ and look serious). But seriously, I do know it’s not the thing to say, and I really don’t say it. But i want someone to say something right, because this woman is thinking about killing herself, and I think if she felt more valued, she might climb over this temporary mountain and find happiness and self worth on the other side. I don’t like to see anyone feeling alone and down.

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  4. Apparently I am been banned from LIKING any of your posts. That won’t stop me from liking them (without using a checkmark) and posting a little picture of myself under your Star.

    Oh, dear, I hope 31 to life isn’t a life sentence of depression … but i think it’s got a lot to do with genes … and so it goes. If i could cheer people up who were/are depressed, i would fix myself and the gazillions of Americans who are making MERCK rich (anti-depressant manufacturer., fyi in case you didn’t know). But, it is what it is … and i try not to ALWAYS write about my bummings.

    Oh, i thought you’d enjoy this .. i wrote a blog “A Larger Family” … I guess “a detrator” didn’t think much of it and called me a “Self Help Junkie”. If i wasn’t so amused i’d be mad (I think)? I really have no opinion on the topic. Actually I know this woman, and she may have a brain injury. I know that sounds awful, but everything points to it.

    Reason being, I find it odd, not to mention a waste of time to read blogs that upset me. Therefore, i may have to pass on 31 to life. God knows I have NO answers … and i’m a sponge for other peoples’ troubles … SOMETIMES. 🙂

    • I don’t think everyone has an obligation to care about everything all the time. Buddha said look after yourself first, or something like that – makes sense to me. i think if people get angry with your posts (and same goes for when you get angry) it’s for reasons of their own – you’ve pushed a button you didn’t know they had. Depression can’t be fixed, I know that…funny that it’s so common now, do you think it always was? And thanks for the intended likes – someone else said the same thing but I can’t work out what it is!

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  5. I just recently had a friend come to me for advice on what she should do/say to her friend that is depressed. There’s no easy or universal answer.

    The best thing I could think to tell her was that she had been a good friend to me through my major depression a couple years ago and that even if I wasn’t able to be the best of company at the time, it meant a lot that she stuck by me. I also offered to let her friend know I would be happy to meet and chat if she needed to talk to someone who had been through it and still struggles from time to time.

    I think this was a very kind post, Rose.

    • I think support for the depressed comes best from those who’ve experienced it – same as childbirth, marriage, etc. From what I’ve heard, your suggestion is the way to go – just be there. And yet it’s hard for us ‘fixers’ to do that. If anyone does drop over to support her, it’ll have been worth it.

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  6. Hi! Just wondering about you. I hope that you are doing well. Just havent’ read anything from you in a while. I hope that you are just too busy doing happy things! 😉

  7. I’m a late arrival here, but I still want to say that I admire your compassion for reaching out to someone in pain, and encouraging others to also do the same. I saw the your reply about your redraft of a book, and I hope that all goes very well for you, Rose.

    Stop by and say hello in February, when you get the chance.

    • Special and unique, as are we all! Hook, I would love for you to read my draft – if you have time, send me an email so I can reply and send it! I’m more than happy to help anybody else with draft reading, by the way – trenchant soul destroying criticism is my forte! (not really)

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