Living with depression isn’t something anyone asks for. Living with depression means you that the best thought out plans go to pot. It’s living day by day. And as a highly sensitive person supporting someone with depression it probably means taking on more than you can handle.
Depression Doesn’t Like Being Ignored
It’s possible to ignore depression for a while. You can unconsciously master the art of pretending it isn’t there.
Until it comes out of the shadows and starts screaming at you. Depression gets tired of being disregarded.
“I’m here and you can’t ignore me!” It screams.
And it is right. We can’t.
In an ideal world we’d simply ask depression to get up and leave.
“Close the door behind you,” we’d call, “and don’t come back.”
But depression is a stubborn intruder.
There’s no reasoning with depression.
Depression Sucks Up Energy
Once depression knows it has a foot in the door, it’s a constant power struggle to stop it taking over every aspect of life.
It’s not just the person with depression that depression sucks the energy out of. It’s loved ones too.
There are tears. Frustration. Anger. Confusion. Exhaustion. Sleepless nights. Battles.
You Can’t See Depression. Or Can You?
To the outside world depression is invisible. The impact of depression is hard to see.
When you break an arm or leg everyone sees and comprehends there’s a healing process needed. An employer easily understands that when an employee breaks a bone their movement is limited and their productivity is effected. It’s obvious they need time off to recover and get back to full health. It’s less comprehensible when the mind needs time to heal.
A broken mind can not be wrapped in a plaster cast. There is no sling that will protect a mind that is overrun by negative, dark thoughts. There is no instant antidote for panic attacks and anxiety that you can pull out of your medicine cupboard.
With depression there is no obvious physical aid that gives a warning to those around you that you’re impaired, unable to function as you would in full health.
Depression strikes with little warning. And it has no mercy. You can’t see it. Or can you?
Unless you know it’s lurking somewhere in the shadows. Unless you sit face to face with someone that is harbouring depression.
Turns out you can see depression. If you get close enough, you can stare depression in the face. You can see it reflecting back at you in the eyes of a loved one/
Depression changes a person. It squeezes the happiness out of a person. It takes the colours out of the world. It sucks up energy. It hoovers up all enthusiasm, motivation and the meaning of life.
And you can see that. If you choose to look close enough.
Depression is Infectious
Of course they say it’s not. But it is. It seeps into every nook and cranny of a family, despite putting on the best armour you have.
When a loved one turns into a stranger and you can’t reach them it’s apt to say that depression is infectious.
Depression Has No Cure
You can do nothing significant to help. Except listen. Try to understand. Be there.
You can be a rock. Something for your loved one to hold on to/
You can act as a wall to keep the outside world out. Temporarily.
You can be an ear.
You can provide a shoulder to lean on.
You can hold a hand.
But you cannot march depression out of your house, force it to leave your home.
There is no magic cure.
Depression Demands a Lot of You and You Can’t Do it Alone – So Don’t
And standing firm, holding up another human being, stopping another person slip away into their own head, overpowering depression, takes superhuman strength. And it’s tiring. So very tiring.
As a highly sensitive person it’s more than overwhelming.
You need to look after yourself too. Keep a little energy over to take care of you. Make sure there is help, professional help too. Don’t cope alone.
Living with depression means straying from the plan. Living with depression means sometimes we wing it. Sometimes we don’t have the answers. And we cope by taking it one difficult day at a time.
Always seek help if you see a loved one struggling, or are struggling yourself.