[This post began was supposed to be quite a short one and ended up blathering on. Apologies in advance.]
We’ve had a massive boost in readers this week, so thank you all for visiting and sharing. I really appreciate it. I’ve had some really great feedback for the blog and the ebook. Almost every post has had some comments or replies, which makes this writer’s efforts seem worthwhile.
With that in mind, I wanted to talk a little about interaction between Those-Like-Us. I’m not sure how those of The Interested who read this blog feel or what you think, but I’ll try to cover some things that make things clearer for everyone.
I was talking to a friend the other day (yes, I have them, you sods) who also suffers from their own version of Down Days. We were talking about how he feels on his and how I deal with mine. Suffice to say we both experience depression very differently, although there were some parallels in the way that we occasionally take it out on people that we shouldn’t and how we generally hide from people when we’re feeling that way so that we don’t offend or become a burden to anyone.
That conversation got me thinking about how Those-like-Us interact with each other. In the past, I’ve been on the wrong end of my friend’s Down Days and, I have to say, it was hard to handle. I’m not sure whether it was made better or worse by the fact that I understood what he was going through (as much as we ever can). Even though I knew what was going on and where it was all coming from, I still found myself as useless as if I knew nothing about depression at all.
It turns out that, although we are all suffering with conditions under the blanket term of “mental health issues” (or whatever tag you feel that you can relate to the most), we are as far from each other as anyone else. Whereas a certain amount of our experiences overlap, there is a lot that doesn’t. Plus, when I am on a Down Day, my mind works in freakishly ridiculous ways (check the ebook for more. I’d hate to bore you with repetition); ways that bear no comparison to logic or a socially “normal” person. Whereas, when I’m having a good day, I’m pretty certain that you would never know that, deep down, I’m a maelstrom of self-loathing and ennui. So, how can we possibly expect to understand each other?
For The Interested, we depressives, socially anxious, or mental health conditions folks don’t really have any more insight than you guys do. At least, not into each other. There is no depressive Hive Mind that we all access (although that would be amazing! I think it would be made of…dark blue aether perhaps?). The point of the Down Days ebook, for instance, was very narrow. It was no self-help guide or lecture on how to survive depression. It was just my story, my experiences, and the hope that someone might find it useful in some way.
So, how can we possibly help each other if we can’t even get in the same headspace? That is the big question. The big answer is….somewhere out there, I hope. Could it be as simple as realising that there is no way to help each other? Perhaps true insight into someone else’s mind is impossible to gain. The other craziness? Occasionally, in our effort to help, we sometimes thrust “help” on people, demanding that they explain to us how it feels and what they need, hurling advice which adds to the whirlpool of negativity already spiralling inside their heads. That pressure (particularly from very close loved ones and medical professionals) can be the undoing of someone like me.
That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t try to help, of course. Just to understand that depressions and maladies of this nature are indeed our own crosses to bear. And while someone is on a Down Day, maybe the rest of humanity needs to just be patient. Perhaps to listen? What does that individual need? Do they need a silent hug? To be left alone? To go for a walk? Then that’s what they get, I guess. If there’s one thing we should endeavour to maintain in life, it’s our individuality. That seems like it may be even more important when it comes to Those-Like-Us.
Thanks for reading!