Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13

Sunday, October 18, 2009

If someone you know is depressed

For anyone in my mother's situation, I figured I might as well point out why I was so upset with her this morning.

If you know something dealing with severe depression, bipolar, self-induced, or not, there are ways to deal with them that will help, and ways that won't. Calling and saying "I'm going to do ________, you're welcome if you feel up to it" doesn't feel like pressure or a demand. Approaching it as "it won't be as much fun without you" is somewhat manipulative and causes guilt, which the depressed person already has enough of.

During the time the person is most ill it is really important to let them determine what they can do. Doing something you don't feel up to because of guilt or because you're being forced to doesn't feel good and it doesn't make me feel one bit better. In fact, it simply increases the exhaustion. We really don't need to do that.

This is a time in a pesron's life when it is best to give in to what they want. If I don't want visitors in the hospital, if I just don't want to see me on a locked unit, then respect that. If I want to be alone it has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with me. I'm not being selfish, I'm trying to survive.

Please do not expect me to argue or give reasons for how I feel. I can't. I'm tired and I don't feel good and I know that some of what I want may not seem to be good for me or that it might not be what you would choose. However, I can only handle existing right now, and I shouldn't have to justify anything I need to do to make that happen.

Don't expect this to be over in a day. No medication works that fast, and the worse you are the longer it will take for it to work. I'm not going to be better all that soon.

Don't minimize this. You might love me, but that doesn't not mean that I'm not just as much at risk for suicide as anyone else. Maybe you've experienced depression. That doesn't mean you have a clue what this is like. I've got plenty of experience with severe depression and even I don't know how this is going to feel day to day.

This is not happening to me because of something I'm doing wrong. In this particular case yes I chose the timing. But it would have happened anyway because the med wasn't effective for me anymore. Spending time outside, going places, not staying in bed so much might make YOU feel like I'm getting better, but all it does is make me more tired.

Don't criticize anything I'm doing to survive. If I need to see the psychologist several times per week, that's what I need to do to be safe and deal with some of the feelings that go with this. If I need to not do something you want me to do, that's me taking care of myself. If I want to be alone, that's normal. If I need to be in the hospital be glad I'm somewhere safe and that I was able to make that decision for myself. Respect that I know what I'm doing and that the professionals I trust know me, know what I can handle, and also know when to insist on more help.

Take nothing personally. No matter what you think is directed at you, it is really about me surving anyway I know how. It won't be pretty. I'm only doing what I have to do. Trust me when I say I'd rather it be any other way. But it's not.

Do not give me the lecture about this is no different than any other illness and therefore I shouldn't want people to treat me differently than if I was in the hospital for anything else. That's a load of crap and we both know it. The psych unit is the ONLY place that they lock you in, that you can't wear shoestrings, that you can't go for a walk if you are physically able, that you spend your days in one group activity after another. It's the only place that minors can visit simply because the patients might be scary. It's the only place my belongings will be searched upon admission and where they will constantly monitor to be sure I've not harmed myself. It is very, very different and I have every right to want to experience this without anyone else forming images of me in that situation.

Remember that I'm probably not telling you everything. I'm not comfortable talking about some of this. I don't like to think about how I am overly aware of how bad some of my pills can hurt me. I don't want to tell you I need the support of the psych unit, and I may need it sooner than I had hoped. I'm not talking about how much I will miss my cats, or my freedom. I'm not talking about how panicky locked units at work make me. You don't get to know everything.

Mainly though, please just be there but limit it to how I ask you to be. If that means talking to me about other things only, then do that. If that means letting me do this my way when you don't agree, let me and don't tell me how you feel. Remember that none of this is about you.

It's all about me. Not the way I want things to be, but right now it is.


Jen said...

I'm not sure I've ever commented because I read your blog mostly because I am unfamiliar with mental illness and you're informative. But I think that this post speaks to me as an adult.

As an adult, whatever your health status, you don't need to explain your choices or reasons to your mother (or anyone not directly caring for your mind or body) anymore for the most part. You don't have to give excuses.

I have found it's better if you don't give reasons (grant you, I've never been where you are so it may or may not work for your situation). I have found that if you give reasons, other people feel they have the right to judge your reasons. They feel it gives them the right to give their input. If you don't, they can accept it or not.

If you don't want to do this, that, or the other, that's your choice. Do you go telling everyone you meet your story? No, why should you? It's not appropriate and it's not reasonable. Why does your mother deserve/need to know everything? She doesn't. You are an adult. You don't live under her roof or by her rules; she is not responsible for your health and welfare, you are. You don't need to give excuses for making the decisions you need to make for your health. You can make up later if you think you've hurt her feelings, you need to take care of yourself now. Her hurt feelings are less important than you doing what you need to to get through this time as best you can.

She doesn't need to like it - SHE doesn't get a vote.

I'm sorry if you feel I'm telling you what to do. I'm not trying to but if it comes across that way, feel free to delete/not post. I know it's hard to make or enforce boundaries at the best of times and when you're in a bad place, it's even harder and even more important.

(I don't have a blog or understand all the other choices, not trying to be secretive or stalkery)

Marge237 said...

I am a VERY new blogger and am feeling pretty down at the moment. I thought I would look for blogs on "bipolar" and came across this post ... it is just as if I could have written it from my own experience and way of acting ...
Marge :-)