Friday, 9 October 2009

On depression

Much as I hate to admit to have been reading the Daily Mail, I'm glad I came across this article. As some of you may know and others worked out from my postings, I occasionally suffer from bouts of depression. The first and worst was during my first term of university when even getting out of bed was a daily struggle. It is still one of my proudest achievements that I kept going, didn't allow myself to give up or give in and indeed, one day, about six months later, things did start to feel better and life became enjoyable again. I still look back on my time at university incredibly fondly (which I am sure you know) and the second and third years were amongst the best of my life. I developed various methods of coping with 'feeling down' and knowing when I was actually depressed and should seek help; each time I have felt this way since I have known that the sun does shine again. And that's why I was so glad to read that Stephen Fry (who is well documented to have struggled with depression) had written this letter to a viewer who wrote to him for help:

"Dear Crystal,

I’m so sorry to hear that life is getting you down at the moment. Goodness knows, it can be so tough when nothing seems to fit and little seems to be fulfilling. I’m not sure there’s any specific advice I can give that will help bring life back its savour. Although they mean well, it’s sometimes quite galling to be reminded how much people love you when you don’t love yourself that much.

I’ve found that it’s of some help to think of one’s moods and feelings about the world as being similar to weather:

Here are some obvious things about the weather:

It’s real.

You can’t change it by wishing it away.

If it’s dark and rainy it really is dark and rainy and you can’t alter it.

It might be dark and rainy for two weeks in a row.

BUT

It will be sunny one day.

It isn’t under one’s control as to when the sun comes out, but come out it will.

One day.

It really is the same with one’s moods, I think. The wrong approach is to believe that they are illusions. They are real. Depression, anxiety, listlessness - these are as real as the weather - AND EQUALLY NOT UNDER ONE’s CONTROL. Not one’s fault.

BUT

They will pass: they really will.

In the same way that one has to accept the weather, so one has to accept how one feels about life sometimes.

‘Today’s a crap day,’ is a perfectly realistic approach. It’s all about finding a kind of mental umbrella.

‘Hey-ho, it’s raining inside: it isn’t my fault and there’s nothing I can do about it, but sit it out. But the sun may well come out tomorrow and when it does, I shall take full advantage.’

I don’t know if any of that is of any use: it may not seem it, and if so, I’m sorry. I just thought I’d drop you a line to wish you well in your search to find a little more pleasure and purpose in life.

Very best wishes

(Signed)

Stephen Fry"

He is right, it does pass, eventually, sometimes quickly, sometimes after a longer period of time. Eventually, I find that I do "look back on that time in which I was so unhappy, and remember it fondly" just as the poem says. It is just remembering to remember that at the time which is so difficult.

2 comments:

Marie-Ève said...

Great post. Thanks for sharing. Hang in there, dear xxx

agirl said...

Thank you for this.