Here in Australia we’re getting a handle on depression. We’ve started to realise that depression isn’t malingering. It’s not laziness. It’s an illness (like and unlike any other), and it cannot be helped.
We’ve become careful about how we discuss Depression. This has been driven by Beyond Blue, and the Black Dog Institute, and of course, the media. We can probably thank our country’s unremitting interest in all things sport for the biggest nudge. When our sportspeople became depressed we had to find better words to deal with it.
Now we can discuss depression as though it’s not the sufferer’s fault; hey, super-fit footballers with money and cars can get depression too.
But we can’t talk about it too much because of shame. Because a depressed person is sick inside their head.
The result? The discussion only goes so far. It’s get as far as mentioning shame and then it stops. Shame? Eeew. Don’t go there.
Newsflash. Depressed people are already feeling shame. Shame comes at not additional cost along with the inabiltiy to get anywhere near the joys of your life — your family, your work, your passions (mine are mountain biking and making sentences). So don’t worry about triggering shame when you talk about depression; it’s here. I have depression. I’ve not done anything to deserve shame but I drag myself through life chastising myself for all the good things I don’t do anymore, for being depressed once again, for not noticing depression the rear view mirror as it came to get me.
Talk about depression, balls-out, let fly. Not using tiptoes and hushed tones will help. Yes, be considerate, but be considerate in everything you do. Depression is not an ill-conceived purchase, it’s an illness. It’s a broken leg, it’s colon cancer, it’s depression. Talk about it.