When you live with depression and anxiety some days can be hard to get through.
A few years ago I wrote a BLOG talking about successfully navigating a way through depression and anxiety. In response, I received an email from a reader who attacked a reference I made to making it through another day. They expressed concern that many who live with depression have trouble getting through an hour, so my reference to getting through a day, to him, seemed ill-considered and naïve.
Because I’m an affirmation junkie, I was hurt by the accusation. I’d personally navigated my way through the journey and understood fully, how hard it can be to get through each second, minute or hour, so I took offence. Then, sadly, I stopped writing for a time while I licked my wounds.
I’ve learned a couple of things since then. One is to try and be less sensitive. The other is to be more sensitive!
When you’re living with depression and anxiety, every bad day is made up of seconds, minutes and hours all of which seem too long. When you’re sitting on the brink of suicide, every second is as much a torture as it is precious.
There’s no adequate way to describe how it feels to be so overwhelmed by pain and distress that you’ll do anything to make it stop. Even if that anything means orchestrating your own death!
When you’re living with someone living with depression and anxiety it’s too easy to minimise what drives their suicidal thoughts. The tidy clichés offered up will never provide a solution because at it’s core, the sense of hopelessness we feel, is born out of a chemical imbalance. It’s something over which we have little or no cognitive control.
Sure, a dose of CBT may help us understand more about the errors in our worldview and perhaps help us to be more integrated. But, it will never correct what’s sitting at the core of our illness.
If we assume the human condition is designed for survival at almost any cost, our belief, that we would be better off dead, must be misaligned. The evidence for this lies in the number of suicides that do not occur. Most people will do anything to survive (we’ve all heard of Bear Grylls!) but when we’re living with depression, our belief is that we (and everyone around us) would be better of if we were dead.
If the desire for death was inherent in the human condition, regardless of whether you believe in creation or evolution, our species would have already ceased to exist!
For too long we’ve held the belief that our thoughts drive our behavior. But if you’ve read my BLOG about the day I realized my foot was cold (click here) you may understand differently.
Now when someone tells me they’ve had a bad day, I wonder about the seconds, minutes and hours they’ve survived. Then, I think about my own seconds, minutes and hours and reaffirm my belief that all of us have been designed to survive. No-one survives the journey unscarred, but we do survive.
We just need to find the map.
Today from Jack Sparrow – Pirates of the Caribbean: “I’m free forever. Free to sail the seas beyond the edges of the map, free from death itself.”
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If you need help to deal with your symptoms see your doctor. If you need to talk to someone NOW call Lifeline on 13 11 14.