copyright Matthew Johnstone 2006
Socks have little to do with mental health. If people could just 'snap out of it' they would. No one ever chooses to have depression.
Warning: Her comes a ramble and a rant... This is something I'm very passionate about! Apologies in advance!
I had a message on Facebook the other day from Steves best mate saying "Whats wrong with Steve, I've called him and he never calls back". Obviously this isn't the first time I've had a question along those lines thrown at me! My first reaction is to scream "ASK HIM!" but I usually opt for a simple, calm, "I'm sorry, I'll make sure he gives you a call tonight" knowing full well that if he hasn't called you already, me asking him to isn't going to change a thing!
This time however, I chose to speak what was really on my mind.
Everyone has at some stage been touched by depression in some way, whether they have suffered from it or know someone who has. Yet very few people know what to do when someone close to them has depression.
I honestly couldn't put a number on the amount of people Steve has lost from his life over the last few years. Mostly because people see his depression as him not caring about them. There have been countless promises made to him that are rarely lived up to. Things like "I'm going to call you every Wednesday so you know we care." Yup, your intentions are great, but if your not going to go through with it, shut the fuck up! Doing nothing is far more effective than letting him down.
Not only has Steve lost many, many friends through his depression, he's lost many family members too. I hope one day they look back at this time and are very very ashamed of them selves. I know I wouldn't be able to sleep at night if I knew that one of my sisters suffered from crippling depression, yet I allowed them to be the butt of family jokes.
It's all about education, and unfortunately, there isn't a lot of support for carers. Theres a fair bit of literature on the web about what to and what not to do, but words can only help so much.
Steve has treated his friends and family like utter shit, there's no denying that. But if he treated them like shit and was suffering from say, cancer, there would be a hell of a lot more understanding. People don't understand depression, hey I live with it every day of my life and still don't get it! But rather than wiping a friend from your life because they haven't contacted you for a month, or spoke to you rudely, how about educating your self a little. You've got nothing to loose and you might even get to keep a friend!
There's also a HUGE difference between being a little down and being depressed. It angers me so much that the word depression is thrown around so lightly. Every one experiences sadness, everyone! But not everyone experiences the depths of depression (thank god). I believe that the misuse of these words is a big factor in the perception and lack of understanding of depression. Just like the picture above says about the sox, if you've only ever felt a bit sad, and have been told that it's depression, naturally you're going to wonder why can't "so and so" pick their sox up and just get over it like you did?
So, the moral of the story? If you want to be there for someone with depression, by all means do. But educate your self first, be prepared. If you don't feel up to it, that's absolutely fine, but admit it!