Thursday, November 14, 2013

Supporting others

I tried to get through to a friend today who is also suffering from Depression and I think I failed.In fact, I think I may have alienated her altogether.What is it about this insidious disease that makes it so hard for the sufferer to see what is actually happening to them?Is it maybe a symptom of the disease?And it got me thinking about Depression and the process a sufferer has to go through to survive it.

First of all, remember, I suffer from Chronic Depression.It is never going to go away and for the rest of my life I will have to deal with it and fight it on a daily basis.This is something I have now come to accept and though I sometimes find myself wishing it was otherwise, I generally just deal with it.My first diagnosis of Depression was back in the early 90's.My 'second' was about five years later, third in 2002 and again in 2007 when my parents died.However, it wasn't until 2010 that I received the diagnosis of Chronic Depression.Initially, I was devastated by this news, but now I have come to terms with it.I accept that it is a part of me that I need to manage and care for.And one thing I have learnt after all these years of going through it is that ultimately, I am in control.

The first step is obviously to take my medication.Just like my diabetes, I cannot fight this illness without medical intervention.Funnily enough, it is easier to remember to take my medication when I am at low points.I suspect that this is because when I have clear symptoms they act as a reminder, whereas when I am coping well, there is nothing to bring it to my mind.But I have developed different strategies to deal with this, such as marking the packages of medication with days so that I know when I have or haven't taken my daily dose.And of course, keeping my medication where I will see it each morning when I wake up.It doesn't always work and there are days when I forget, but most of the time I stay on course.

The next step is the one that I now find easier, probably because it has now become a part of who I am.I look for the positive in everything.I've come to realise that no matter what happens, if there is a negative, then there is always a positive.If I focus on the negative, I am going to sink and that happened at the end of last year.An indication of how far I've come becameclear when I quickly realised what was happening and took control.Yes, I got support from Medical Professionals, but the first step had to be mine.

And that brings me back to my discussion with my friend today.I tried to get across to her that the cure to her Depression is in her own hands.She needs to take control of what has happened before anyone can help her.And as the discussion progressed, it brought back to me my own reluctance to accept that I could control how I was feeling.And reinforced my gratitude to the friends who supported me and pushed me in the right direction.I can see how hard it must have been to maintain that pressure and not lose patience with my stubbornness.And I know that I have it within me to persevere with my friend, provided she allows me to.I won't give up - who knows better than me what a dreadful disease Depression is and how it can make it so hard to see what is right in front of you.

I am just so happy that I have got a handle on it now and I just hope that I can use what I have learned to help a friend in need.
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