Who wants to know?

There are many problems associated with suffering from depression. One of them is that you find it difficult to talk about with other people which is ironic because this is the one thing that received wisdom would have you believe is good for alleviating it. Or so they say. Is this the truth or just urban legend, a word of mouth remedy which has no basis in fact? It's hard to find out because of course the one thing you don't want to do when depressed is precisely that.

Such is the strength of the urge not to talk about it that even talking about not talking about it feels taboo which makes the writing of this blog tricky.

Why this should be is another matter; there is probably no single reason but a concatenation of several which is what makes this negative compulsion such a strong one.

The first of these may be to do with the nature of the beast itself. Depression is a condition of the mind, of the consciousness and the mind and consciousness are emergent properties of the brain, what happens when a complex autonomous system becomes self aware and most importantly starts describing itself. Without language of one for or another you wouldn't be; you are, as has be said many times before, the stories you tell yourself.

And no-one likes stories with a sad ending.

So perhaps in describing it you fear that it will make things worse. Even now I am attempting to distance myself even from this generic description of the condition by talking mainly in the second person (although this does have the advantage of drawing the reader in more).

The second reason you prefer to avoid talking about it may be to do with a fear of boring people, or even worse, actively repelling them. This has some basis in fact. When coming across someone going through such a mentally bad place the first instinct of many people will be to stay away, to think of them as "hard work". From an evolutionary standpoint you can see where this behaviour might have originated, but in our modern society we should have risen above such base "I'm all right Ugg" instincts. Perhaps it's true that it may require more hard work or investment of time or emotional resources being friends with someone suffering from depression, but surely that is no reason to shun them? After all, from a purely practical point of view there might be more work involved being friends with someone in a wheelchair - say finding pubs or restaurants with wheelchair access - than with someone able-bodied but in reality no-one would dream of entertaining the repellant point of view that you shouldn't do so.

The problem of course is that mental issues are still not seen as genuine as physical ones. After all this time some people still feel the temptation to think "pull yourself together" when coming across someone suffering from depression or anxiety and remove themselves from the situation for fear of being bored or annoyed.

And it is this prevalent attitude that makes the already difficult task of talking about your depression even worse.

Mental issues are just as real as physical ones, so if you know anyone having the former it might be a good idea to encourage them to discuss it.  They may seem reluctant but once they do so it may be a merciful release, and in the long run they may find themselves feeling considerably better afterwards.

Which is a worthwhile thing to be involved in.


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