I attended a fundraiser for Beyond Blue last week. Two women spoke, both with differing pathways into depression. The first speaker had been an ambitious executive, which had seen her reach the top echelon of her company. It meant constant travel, 18 hour days and a huge amount of stress. She had jetted interstate a few weeks after having her baby by caesarean and that was but one instance of her punishing schedule. She knew it was time to revaluate her life when she began to weep in her car on the way to work; when, late at night, she thought of ending her life. She is now uncovering who she is and reconnecting with those she loves. So many people in the audience related to her experience.
The second speaker is a dear friend of mine. She was gravely ill, and in hospital constantly as a young mum. Isolated from her peers, and desperate to get better, she fell into depression. I think we all would have, given her experience. She gathered the right team around her to assist her recovery, and through sheer grit, she climbed out of the darkness. The thought of leaving her family was too much to bear. She had something to hold on for.
The talk reaffirmed that depression can strike in a myriad of ways. It can be caused by unbearable pressure or illness, grief and loss. We can have a life which seems marvellous, and still be depressed. We need to look out for each other, and provide a sprinkling of hope. Whether that be pulling up a friend by asking what the hell they are doing, running around like a whirlwind. What are they attempting to escape? It could be checking in with loved ones to enquire how they are doing.
We are as malleable as clay, and as fragile as the glass on our phones and other gadgets. We are strong beyond measure, like intricate iron lacework on old terraces. We are complicated. Depression doesn’t need to have a reason. It just is. A horrible blight on an otherwise healthy rose. I wish I had the answers. I guess we can help ourselves by regularly checking in with our lives, and banishing (as much as we can), that which causes stress and angst. We can check in with our friends, even if only to send a message of love and appreciation. We need to know we aren’t alone.