Why do we sometimes feel more comfortable in a room full of strangers or acquaintances than we do in the presence of our closest friends? It’s because those strangers have no expectations of us in most cases, while our friends assume or predict certain behaviors of us, and we leave them confounded or disturbed when we don’t live up to them or our expected norms. Those of us that are more susceptible to falling outside of the accepted norms in terms of mood when affected by uncontrollable episodes of depression often feel anxious or edgy when confronted with social situations on bad days. Personally, I find myself easily irritated at these times, and I digest almost every comment as a personal attack on my person. And the negative feelings begin to feed off each other from there. The overall experience can be compared to being inside of a car that’s spinning out of control after being sideswiped. Or another comparison, trying to breathe deeply while someone is standing on your chest. Depression is not only mental, but physical, pain as well. It’s a more than frightening experience when I think on it, but when you’re in the moment, the negative forces have a driving power that’s all-consuming and highly destructive. The affected is no longer in control.
I will share some tactics I have occasionally used in the past to detect and stop these deep funks before their onset in a future entry, but for now, I want to ask for patience and understanding from the friends and family of sufferers. I address you now…don’t let depression take a hold of you as well. When you think that all of your love and care has been exhausted, dig even deeper; jump-start your heart if you must. And don’t hesitate! Mental illness can and will destroy anything in its path if you let it. Just think, the sufferer could be your friend, spouse, sibling, child…or maybe, you. Do not turn a blind eye on depression; the life you lose just might be your own. Life is beautiful…save one by any means necessary.