Wednesday, 6 April 2011

How to help

With all my posts recently revealing the reality of depression as I experience it, I have had a few people ask me how they can help. And some people have commented on how they read my posts and then see me and I appear all chirpy. I think that these comments show why depression can be so difficult for those who care for someone who is depressed. And can make it very difficult to identify depression if the person doesn't want others to know.

To be honest, I don't go out if I can't be cheery, even if inside I am anxious and struggling. I am also an extrovert and so being around people is energising and often stops the circular and negative thoughts that can be so difficult to shake.

The things I have found helpful have been people keeping in touch, even if it is just a text to let me know they are thinking of me or just keeping me posted on their lives. When I see people I appreciate people treating me like normal or a listening ear. My hubby takes the brunt of it so I really appreciate people caring for him and supporting him by just keeping in touch and hanging out. When thing are really hard, meals have been a life saver and another couple have looked after Ella so I can attend therapy regularly. That help has been invaluable and helps me to do what I need to do to get well.

But in the end my mental health is my responsibility. No matter how much people may pray or offer help, it is all really going on in my head. And that is really hard to tell people. It is really hard for people to know that I can't cope not because of any physical reason that you can see. Instead it is a combination of brain chemistry, personality, life experience and patterns that have developed over my life. And it seems that the stress and tiredness of becoming a parent has brought it all to a head.

But I guess what I wish for is that you keep an eye out for the people around you. That you are aware of those who may be struggling and that you reach out to them. Mental illness is so lonely and knowing someone has noticed and cares can give me the courage to keep battling this and to feel that I am worth it.

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