I am so glad that someone posted this picture. Having family members who are dealing with, have dealt with, or may deal with depression; it is nice to see that Facebook, Twitter, and the bloggersphere are beginning to disseminate the truth about depression.
I have a good friend who is a psychiatric nurse and a mom of children with depression. At the funeral of her oldest daughter, who had taken her life, she wrangled inwardly anytime someone would approach her to share their sympathy saying something they believed was well meaning but was truly insensitive. Things like: “Well, if she only had thought more positively.” “She should have pulled her self up from her bootstraps.” “I hope she doesn’t go to hell.”
First off the positive thoughts. To tell someone who has a brain disease that they are not thinking positively enough is like saying to someone with cancer that they should not have eaten whatever, or stood in front of their microwave, or held their mobile phone by their head, or
shaved their armpits, excuse me, that should have been used deodorant than shaved your armpits. It’s absurd. As someone who battles depression no matter how hard I tried to be positive the dark thoughts would creep in. I would withdraw. And that is when my husband would draw closer knowing what I needed was support and engagement with the world. He would support me, but not allow me to wallow.
For me depression has been lifted with medicines as well as greatly help through a wonderful faith-filled therapist. The combination of both has brought greater balance to myself, but depression does still creep in.
It has nothing to do with how well my bootstrap were pulled up. I, as a mother, have had to work through my depression, trying very hard to be “human”; up and walking around, during a time when I felt so sad, blue, upset that all I wanted to do was sleep all day. It is a brain disease and the sleepiness for me was a physical symptom of the imbalance of my brain chemistry. I feared greatly and hoped greatly that I was not affecting our children. I analyzed every action to see how much I “destroyed” our children instead of, which I finally did, working toward helping our children who were depressed get the help they needed, the support from us they needed, and to protect them from “well-meaning” relatives who either didn’t understand or care.
As for the go to hell, well as a Roman Catholic living in the Vatican II council era, I believe God has forgiveness for those who feel such despair they take their own life. It seems every several years a young person will take their life. Racked with their own personal hell of thoughts of worthlessness, that somehow they are so damned they should no longer live, they feel life no longer has meaning and so they end theirs. During a school Mass that was being held for the young man who had killed himself during our twin daughters junior year of Catholic High School, the priest who was celebrating that Mass homilized that God was surely standing in heaven at the entrance with tears streaming down his face saying to the young man: “Come home my son, I love you so much and am so sorry you suffered so greatly.” Much of the “change” in thought comes from the understanding of mental illness, that God DOES NOT afflicted someone with mental illness, that it is a disease, not a demonic possession. And even if it were true that it was demonic possession how in goodness would that be the fault of the person possessed; just as it is now with a brain disease?
Let us pray for all who suffer with depression.
Eternal rest grant onto Robin Williams O Lord.
Some very interesting blogs on mental health and Robin Williams:
- Chris Martin Writes takes a positive religious aspect of how we should be with those who suffer from depression
- Pride In Madness is written by a 25 young woman who is dealing with depression
- Catherine Martin of Everyone Has a Story writes a lovely piece on Robin Williams