Brad has suffered from clinical depression for many years. Therapy and medications have helped some, but not entirely and not consistently. There are days when all he wants to do is stay in bed. On other days—his good days—he’s active and highly involved with the world.
Would he like to feel that way every day? Of course. But he doesn’t … pure and simple. And because he feels like a failure and a burden to others, his depression is complicated with shame.
“When it comes to depression,” Brad says, “most the world says to snap out of it.”
Unfortunately, he’s right. The world isn’t very sympathetic toward sadness. We expect people, including ourselves, to be happy all the time.
In our therapy sessions, I try to help Brad be self-accepting—to look warmly at himself. I remember telling him: “Depression isn’t something you wish upon yourself.” It helped him to hear that.
As for his family, when their best efforts to help fail to produce results, they can grow impatient. That’s normal. And it’s also normal to fall into the same trap of shame—being hard on themselves.
Not long ago, his 25-year-old daughter wowed me with this:
“As a family, we need to see him as having cancer. We wouldn’t get mad at him for that. He can’t help it.”
Depression can be a difficult and oftentimes life-long struggle. Shame is the last thing anyone—Brad or his family—needs as added weight.
Names are changed to honor client confidentiality.
Another gorgeous photo, courtesy of Tracie Louise Photography.
2 responses to “Latest Wow: We Can’t Always Snap Out of It”
I have gone through several serious bouts of clinical depression in my life. But when medication and therapy and all other attempts to “solve” the problem didn’t work… would you believe that exercise was actually my saving grace. I am not clinically depressed any longer, but still have to be ever vigilant. I know it is something I can easily slip back into, if I don’t take proper care of myself.
My theory is that people who feel the full range of feelings—intimately and deeply—are bound to experience depression at times. It’s part of the package. Feeling people are also creative people. I guess I’d rather be the sort of person who’s alive on all burners! The price is too great not to.
Thanks for sharing, Tracie!