If, like me, you feel you are currently ploughing furrows through darker days it can be excruciating knowing how to connect with people; how to feel part of the life/lives going on around you. It's hard, manual labour. And sometimes, it's the simple, silly things that can knock me sideways.

(I know I'm probably talking to the converted here but let's pass it on!)

Please, I implore you, never (ever!) ask a depressed soul (unless of course you're wanting some facial rearrangement!) if they are feeling better now. Neither end texts with, 'hope you are feeling better now.' Seriously, it is like waving a whopping great big red flag to a very vexed bull. Why?

With a cold or flu, once passed the worst and the fever subsides, the road to recovery is normally straight forward and the person can hope to feel stronger and stronger, better and better with each passing day. So much so, that when somebody asks the patient if they are 'feeling better now' the reply can, quite reasonably, be 'Yup, definitely on the mend, thanks.'

The main direction in the recovery of a depressed person will be up. But the recovery will more than likely have more ups and downs than a bouncing ball. Speaking personally, I'm all over the place! I can feel hopeful one hour only to feel utterly felled the next.

This is possibly why it is so dashed difficult to be around folk when very low because we know it is tough for friends to understand why, for example, Marion is back in bed seeking oblivion today when, 'she seemed fine at lunch yesterday.'

Knowing the myths or judgments that can surround depression sometimes helps. It may push us to verbalise and explain to those (and only to those) who we just know will listen with non-judgmental understanding. Thus educating, little by little, and helping to fight the secrecy that depression often thrives upon.

I'm painfully aware that it's not always easy being around someone who is depressed, and so when someone doesn't understand I must learn too. I must learn, relearn and practice the art of shrugging my shoulders and mutter, in Claire Week's words, " 'I'm not going to be silly. It will come right in time. Time will fix it.' It will."

A Moodscope member.


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