In reintroducing myself to the world at large,I found that there were changes in how people acted towards me, I have to add with a little paranoia on my part added to the mix.
I’ve talked about supportive and toxic friends, but when you are in the wider arena things take on a whole other aspect.
Firstly a helpful friend with good intentions decides to announce the reason you haven’t been around of late.
I didn’t really appreciate that, as it was not their information to give, also there is no context, also I was put on the spot, and felt I had to offer up an explanation.
It’s difficult enough to open up to one person, but with several looking in your direction, your new found confidence starts to waiver.
I’m all about being open,and depression is an illness as we know that is all encompassing, silent, invisible, deadly, we know that talking about it to the uninitiated is about useful as a chocolate teapot.
Unless you have had a breakdown, you won’t really understand, you can show empathy, but unless you have battled with this beast in the eye of the storm, the words evaporate into thin air.
Another point is that many seem to know others who have “suffered with depression” however they don’t realise the impact that it has on your life, and can be rather dismissive, inadvertantly feeding your fragile self esteem.
So when you do tentatively try to give the readers digest version, mouth dry, heart racing, you see it, them averting their gaze, almost warding off your words, to be honest it’s almost unbearable to watch, because it can put you on the outside looking in, hence the shame felt, that you can’t cope and fell apart.
You can feel like a social pariah, and it needs to be understood depression is an illness and moreover “it’s not catching”.
Note: Obviously not everyone reacts this way and I have some of the most incredibly supportive friend, people who helped me back to life, I understand that people don’t “get it” but a little compassion goes a long way.