About 10 years ago I was talking with a friend who works with people with addictions She was telling me about the woes of someone she knew. She finally came around to saying that this friend suffered from depression. It didn’t sound like depression to me, it just sounded like life. My remark was, “That’s just life. Life stinks.” She got down in my face and told me that she thought I suffered from depression too.
That really was a surprise to me. I never even entertained the idea of depression. I just really thought life stunk. There were many times that I thought it would be a lot easier not to be here, but I had children that relied on me for their daily existence. I could not let them down. I used to think that it took a lot of guts to end your own life, but I now believe the opposite. It takes a lot more guts to stay here on earth.
I had tried talking about it to a friend or two over the years, but it was clear that they didn’t get it. They dismissed it right away with disgust. I didn’t expect to ever meet anyone that understood.
I received an urgent phone call from Mr. G. one day asking me if I could take over for him right away. He was clearly upset and told me that he would be in touch the next day. I was able to do so, so I did. Later, he told me that he suffered from depression. When I told him that I understood, he seemed very relieved.
For the first time in both of our lives, we had a friend we could talk to who understood. We were our own little support group holding each other up at times. Depression isn’t something anyone wants or asks for. It’s just there. It’s a part of you just like your hands, feet, and nose are a part of you.
I have found, for me anyway, that depression was an iron deficiency. I’m not talking about the kind you put in your mouth, but the kind you pump. When I started the Couch to 5K program, I was going to seven workouts a week–sometimes twice a day. I can remember as the program was nearing its end telling Mr. G. that I never felt better my whole life. I think this was a part of his decision to join a gym.
It was true. I was far from being Miss Universe, but I was fitter than I had been for decades. I had lost a substantial amount of weight and had drastically changed my eating habits. But the one thing that keeps those dark days away, is exercise.
If you ever have someone try to broach this subject with you, remember that they’re just looking for someone to talk to. The best thing you can do for them is to listen. Please don’t dismiss it quickly or make them feel ashamed. They did not choose this and have nothing to be ashamed of. Who knows, you might make a new friend.