Bipolar, Depression, encouragement, Human Behaviour, Human Nature

Spreads like Octopus Ink

The blackness under water, the struggling, the suffocating feeling, the panic attacks, head stuffed with racing thoughts, the literal slow down of movements, fighting to not cry in public or at work—or even at home— because the tissue around the eyes is chaffed, and absents of self-esteem. This despair spreads like octopus ink over loved ones, too.

The negativity associated with depression is not wiped away with positive affirmations alone. If it were so easy, medications would be set aside.

It’s November, and here in Canada, daylight is sparse. The claustrophobic days of grey, damp oppression have begun, needing lights on for supper time, skipping the evening walks. And heading out in flip-flops is on hold for months.

Winter for most is enough of a bummer; however, depression is far more than a bummer. It’s deep and unrelenting. A good joke isn’t funny. Food is flavourless. Everything is exhausting. I mean everything. Even taking a shower is too hard.

Misery overflows. The loved ones who try to cheer one with depression to no avail become stymied. Tense. The blackness spreads like octopus ink. The light is somewhere, but obscured by a brain chemical imbalance. Think of it as lopsided. No one walks well when not balanced. Loved ones have an enormous job. I need not explain that.

Depression seems to get attention once it has taken hold. People notice, friends and family wonder what’s wrong with Johnny or Sue who stop posting on social media, they don’t show up for regular activities. If Johnny and Sue tell someone when they feel the pull, doctors, friends, family, early help and support is more efficient than trying to climb out of the pit from the bottom. It is slimy, slippery.

Talk, talk, talk before falling into the pit all the way. Ask friends for an invite tag along for errands. Courage mustered to it in a coffee shop and have a beverage, alone is need be, it actually helps stimulate the mind. The tinkling of cutlery, dishes, cups, voices, and sitting in a different environment than home where you have the corner of the couch staked out, or worse, bed. It helps to get out. Feel the cold penetrate the cheeks. I’m not saying freeze, just feel the sting so the mind has something to process. The most dangerous thing about depression? In my humble opinion of experience: numbness.

It’s November. We sit on the line between holding it together and losing it altogether. Talk about symptoms of depression. Get a thread going. Those are the kinds of online things with potential to help. Memes are too impersonal. Someone wrote it… who are they? Anyone care? Honestly? Seen it a hundred times. Scroll, right, because it doesn’t apply at the moment. Social media is truly moment by moment, but a real conversation sticks longer than a meme.

Those of us who know we’re prone to winter depression, talk about it enough to bring awareness without letting it take over every conversation. There is a balance to bringing awareness.

“I’m not feeling well. Depression is clutching me, I need to be with friends to help get my mind off negative thoughts.” There is not one aspect of shame in this. This doesn’t cause octopus ink, it brings awareness in a real way.

Here’s hoping for a decent winter; empathy for the depressed, recognition for the condition, truthful talks, and recovery.

Thanks for reading.

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