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Please Don’t Open This Can-O-Worms!

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Monday, March 01, 2021

How wonderful to live in a perfect world, surrounded by beauty, caressed by blue skies and warm sunshine.

These were happy times a few years ago when I made this hanging basket for a friend.

And a chapter of my life as a photographer-having a love for nature and capturing people being natural.

But we all know life has many shades, and just as there is day, night follows.
“Don’t open a can of worms” was the tone after someone asked for help in a virtual group of writers that I belong to.

A woman asked for help in creating a fictional character who experiences severe depression and reaches a pivotal point. She said she knew little about depression, therefore, asked for insight. She said she was afraid of offending anyone who had suffered with depression. “Any advice would be greatly appreciated.” Read on to see some of the comments:

“You need to do some research.” (said by several)
“That is too sensitive of a subject to broach so you should find something else.”
“The person who is depressed just needs to have their thyroid and ferritin levels checked.” (three people agreed)
“I would avoid the subject altogether.” In other words, “do not open this can of worms!”
I have to say I was stunned! She asked for help and I had something firsthand to offer. This was my reply:

"Imagine the worst day of your life and multiply it by 365 days! That is what it was like until I eventually got through it."

“ I know how it feels to feel alone and hopeless. Slept little. But when I did, had nightmares. Had no appetite and the smell of food was sickening. There is a pervasive feeling that no one understands. It was a time of darkness thinking the sun would never shine again. It went on forever—months into over a year. Some just looked at me. I saw a therapist who scribbled on her notepads while I talked. We made little eye contact, but I noticed her often looking at the clock. So textbook. I was put on medications which worsened the situation. I was a zombie. I did not laugh nor did I cry—for one solid year.”

But for the few people I have met in my lifetime who have said, “I can’t relate to depression. I choose happiness end of story” … I can only say:

I had an in-law tell me to “Nike Up!..."Pull yourself up by your bootstraps!" ... Yet ironically this same person recently told me she has been dealing with depression and was put on ‘mood elevators.’ Also keeps tranquilizers on hand. I refrained from telling her to “Nike Up!”

Were it not for my husband's undying love, I shudder to think where I would be today. I doubt I would be here sparking!

Depression and anything considered "mental disorders" unfortunately still remains a stigma for many. It is safe to tell someone that you just got over a bad cold, suffer with allergies, but depression has a face all its own.

What can we do to help others and ease their pain? I think the first thing is to be aware; make note of changes in someone you know. Withdrawal is a classic sign. Be willing to listen. I try to keep in mind: I have not walked in their shoes—judgment is not mine to make.

"The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't said" --Peter Drucker

I found this to be an extraordinary story of deep love and devotion between a man and his chocolate Labrador, named Denver. The author experienced the lengths and depths of undying love, but sadly was plummeted to the depths of despair at Denver's sudden passing. In his beloved pets honor, he made the trek of the Viking way-186 miles. I am fortunate to have gotten to know this wonderful gentleman from UK and had some meaningful chats.

With spring soon to come, I wish you blue skies and sunshine. emoticon Thanks for reading.
P.S. I am ever thankful for the spark community where no one should suffer 'in silence' but find a listening ear--full of support and kindness. I have found it here and made some wonderful friends!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Fortunately, there is less of a stigma than there used to be for depression and anxiety.

    We used to carry smelling salts for my mother. We called her episodes "the fluts"
    We named mine "the scaries"

    Fortunately, mine was more of "situational depression/anxiety"
    Mom suffered her whole life. Denial was not an answer.

    Whether intermittent, or long term, I could no more "get over it" than I could grow 2 inches to improve my BMI

    What's important is the freedom to talk about the problem. Write about it. Blog about it.
    Just don't hide or ignore it.

    74 days ago
    Great insights and feeling. So many people are feeling alone and depressed in dealing with the pandemic. We all need to watch what we say. "Nike up" is quite a blunder.
    74 days ago
    My own limited depressive episodes were, thankfully, brief...months instead of years and responded well to medications. As I explained it, I felt like my head was full of blackness so I could not think or talk clearly. Every day was a nonstop feelings of hopelessness and feeling useless.
    The only reason I stayed alive was my two little sons who needed me.
    74 days ago
    Thank you for this insightful blog. Ignoring the subject does not make it better and that is for sure. Neither is telling someone to just "get over yourself. I think you put it well. Unless one has experienced it, don't try to be an expert on the subject.
    74 days ago
    I have only briefly experienced the pain of depression from a job that was terrible...or at least the boss was terrible. I was fortunate to find a new job and the anti-depressant was needed for a very brief time. Your pain must've been excruciating. But God has clearly given you new life, and blessings for so many others!! I am sorrow about your friend's dog. I know that sorrow.
    74 days ago
    Thanks Jan. You do well at describing it. Been there but I made it back. Had a nephew, he was like a little brother, who was not so lucky.
    74 days ago
    Unfortunately, I don't see that stigma going away anytime soon.
    74 days ago
  • 52BINCE
    This blog speaks loudly to anyone who knows someone with depression issues. I believe this blog is one that tells the truth about this subject and should be read by every so called professional who thinks they are experts on the subject. Awesome blog 2B
    74 days ago
  • BJAEGER307
    I imagine that depression is hard to diagnose as it takes many shapes and forms. I'm glad that you were able to have support when you needed it and was able to work through it. It takes hard work to elevate depression. Not all of us are lucky to have someone who supports us at our "darkest" moments in life.

    74 days ago
    Thank you for sharing - my daughter has a lot of anxiety and depression.
    74 days ago
  • GLORYB83
    I went through 8 solid years of depression and being doped up, being like a zombie. Unfortunately, my husband was the main cause of it so I didn't have support from him. No one seemed to understand how I felt, I tried to end my life several times but am glad that I didn't! It took a great deal of strength on my part to overcome this - I dumped those meds down the toilet and went through a withdrawal period on my own and then, blessed 'normal' again! 60 years ago, those doctors sure did keep us doped instead of helping with whatever caused us to be depressed.

    I've not been depressed since and have a lot of empathy for those who go through this. Unless you've been through it yourself, you cannot fully understand it. I wouldn't wish it on anyone!
    74 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/1/2021 9:13:19 AM
    Great Blog - emoticon for speaking of the subject - which I deal with a lot with my own hubby. Getting older isn't always easy and for someone who had a terrible childhood I try to keep things positive. I'm known to be the "Angel' who saved his life - and always will be by his side. emoticon
    74 days ago
    WOW. emoticon for sharing. So glad you got through that. Here's to perseverance!
    74 days ago
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