How does one help?
I think everybody, at one stage or other of their lives, have suffered from depression. For most of us it’s fleeting, a result of external circumstances we can’t control or simply not enough faith. I, myself, knows what it feels like to not want to face the day, to think that every breath I take is just a waste of time and effort because I’m just not worth that.
Things have changed in my life. I’m not perfect, not by any means, but I’m much better than I was. Now I see difficulties and I overcome them. With Help, and with help, but I make do with what I have, and for the most part, I get to the other side. I do sometimes get depressed, but usually it’s hormonal and does not last long. I am blessed in that regard.
One of my buddies though, apparently he’s not so blessed. He’s depressed. It’s a new thing, not the way he’s always been, or maybe he has always been depressed and just lied to himself and those around him. These days, however, he seems to have decided to completely wallow in his state of mind.
Am I wrong in saying that, depressed or not, there are things you just have to do? Get up, go to work, pay bills, cook food, breathe. Then there are other things that you just don’t bother with if you don’t have to. And then there are things that you just do even though they seem insurmountable at the time. I spoke to T yesterday. Same story, it’s not going well with him and this and that and the other. Tells me his bike is broken and he can’t get it to a garage to fix it because they’re closed over weekends. I made the suggestion of him putting the bike on his van and driving it to work and then taking it to the garage. His excuse? He does not have a ramp and he can’t put the bike on the van by himself. He’s a man so, presumably, stronger than me. He’s got his mom living with him – think that’s the reason for 80% of his depression – she’s kind of a downing soul – but she can help him. Barring that, they live in a complex that contains, I’m certain, at least one man other than T! A piece of plank will work well for a ramp. Instead of seeing the solutions though, T prefers to just moan about it.
Is it wrong of me to want him to at least try and not wallow in self pity? It’s difficult. Very much so! But you don’t really have to wallow the whole day do you? I know a few depressed people and they all, bar none, really try and be upbeat about what’s going on in their lives. I doubt that it helps them, but I think it makes the rest of the populace feel less helpless. Because really. I can’t help you. I can give you advice, probably good advice. I can’t make you take it. I can’t make you see that there are things out there that are not problems, that are not reasons to be depressed. But, if you insist on only seeing the reasons to be depressed, I will probably lose my temper and that never helps anybody.
My mom tells me to be patient. My aunt tells me to go out of my way to help him. My son tells me to be there for the buddy – I’ve done all this. I’ve offered my shoulder, my ear, my couch, my company – all to no avail. I’m just human after all. And personally, I can’t listen to the same shit every time. Different shit, sure. Interesting shit, certainly. The same, dismal, self-pitying shit? Not so much. Even when I do it myself, I try to stop it before it happens. Its not good for you to hammer on all the bad things in life. To see all obstacles as insurmountable and the worst in T’s situation – he has no real externals that he needs to worry about. His household expenses are minimal. He has enough liquid cash in the bank to buy my house outright. His current house is paid up. His cars are all paid up, as is the bike. Why not phone a garage to come and pick up the bike from his house? The old nag is there the whole day – not like she has a life outside the house! He’s single, has no obligation towards children or a wife, only his nag of a mother and his user of a brother.
And therein, I think, lies the problem of T’s depression. Everything he does is for other people. And those other people accept it as their right. I’m not to be removed from that scenario although I try and make it as fun for him as if is for me, but no. His mother and brother are more than enough to make anybody depressed – they’re carriers of the condition, you see. They don’t suffer from it, they propagate it. I’m being very nasty now, but T makes me angry. He’s got the ability to just go. He can pack his bags and be in a different place within weeks. He’s got money in the bank and not a huge amount of responsibility. But he chooses to wallow in everything he finds so difficult.
I am probably wrong about this. It’s due to complete ignorance of the condition. If any of you out there have any advice, I will gladly accept it. T is a good man, a good friend. And I don’t want to hear one day that he offed himself – that’s what it’s heading towards. I will not carry the guilt for that incident by myself, but I will feel bad about it. So. Help me help him.