Friday, 15 August 2014

A Few Quotes about Depression

Following the news of Robin Williams ending his own life, I've been heartened during this sad time that we have at least had people from all walks of life come out to affirm that depression is a natural, common and should be met with compassionate responses.

I always recall hearing a documentary on the late Kenneth Williams which noted his sheer brilliance as a performer on Radio 4's 'Just a Minute', a show which requires a particular kind of improvised, exuberant wit of which he was a leading light - yet his diaries, published posthumously, revealed he was perpetually tortured with doubt, frustration, resentfulness, loneliness and despair. It struck me that for all Kenneth Williams's eccentricity, his experience of depression behind closed doors seemed fairly typical.

Below are a few of the 'highlights' (for want of a much better term) I have come across this past week.

To the person experiencing depression:

“Depression is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign that you have been strong for too long." - Anon

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." - Lao Tzu

"If you’re going through Hell, keep going." - Winston Churchill

"Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies." - Mother Teresa 

“In moments of discouragement, defeat, or even despair, there are always certain things to cling to. Little things usually: remembered laughter, the face of a sleeping child, a tree in the wind … In fact, any reminder of something deeply felt or dearly loved. No man is so poor as not to have many of these small candles. When they are lighted, darkness goes away - and a touch of wonder remains.” - Said to have been found on a gravestone in  Britain

To the person who knows someone with depression:

"If you are the lucky one that doesn’t have depression, the three odd out of four that might not understand it and you meet somebody with depression, the worst thing you can do is say “Come on pull yourself together.” Just imagine that inside of their head they are just as ill as somebody maybe who broke their leg or who has diabetes. You wouldn’t say “Don’t take the insulin.” I mean you really have to believe that this is the real thing. When you hear their negativity or they might be abusive, or whatever you are getting from them, that is their disease talking, it is not them. Because they are still a human being and they will get better probably if they take care, or you help them take care. Now this isn’t catching or you know they can’t work or whatever because part of you is still healthy. But please respect the sick part and treat it like somebody who has really got something. Because it does exist. This isn’t your imagination. As a matter of fact your imagination is really ill. So think of it that way." - Ruby Wax

“If you know someone who’s depressed, please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn't a straightforward response to a bad situation; depression just is, like the weather. 

Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness, and loneliness they’re going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest, and best things you will ever do.” - Stephen Fry

To the person inclined to judge someone negatively for attempting suicide:

"Have you ever seen news footage of a burning building?

Fire ravages all floors of the building, the fire brigade are trying, trying so hard to rescue those trapped within. But the fire is moving too quickly. People trapped within the building have no escape. I’m sure all of you have seen news footage of someone jumping from a building in this situation. I’m just as sure that the image of it is burned into your head. For most people, something that traumatic is hard to forget. We all know that the people didn’t want to jump. But jumping in that situation was better than facing the fire. They had no choice. 

When you are suicidal, taking that jump is suicide, and the burning building is your whole world. You don’t want to do it. But the world is burning and you’re standing in the window and you look down and you know jumping will stop the pain and you know it’ll hurt people, but damn it! The whole world behind you is burning and jumping is the only way, the plan Z, the thing you swore you’d never do. Yet now, the pain is unbearable, the agony tears through you and there is no escape, no escape, no escape but the window. The fire burning behind is not your fault. It isn’t something within your control. You know it will hurt the people left behind. But jumping is better than facing the fire. You have no choice.

When, and only when, we acknowledge that suicide is not a selfish act will suicide rates fault.

When, and only when, we offer help without judgement will we stop losing loved ones." - Abbey, Life with Bipolar Blog

These are only words, and it hopefully goes without saying that for those suffering from depression, they need much more - however, as the late and great Robin Williams once said;

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