Speaking up was something in former times that I had no difficulty with, but as time passes, I’ve found that not all appreciate honesty, or in to quote some interference, that’s the problem is knowing when to speak up, and to know it will have a positive effect.
For so long I didn’t speak up for myself, and those long dark days and nights are behind me I hope, hindsight is a wonderful thing, I probably would have still gone through my battles with depression though perhaps with talking about it more it wouldn’t have been quite so severe who knows.
Over the last week two friends of mine have had to face up to difficult times in their lives and sadly in one case it almost cost them their life.
The situation with the first friend was that she has been in an abusive relationship for about 3 years, more emotional than physical until recently, it’s been difficult to watch this unfold as the man she was with became increasingly more possessive and erratic in his behaviour, she of course was in denial, citing that he had personal problems, and trust issues, I would agree up to a point how this impacts your life, however threats and violence are never the answer, also when in this kind of relationship it’s had to see it for what it really is.
Over the last year or so my friend had become more introvert, her work was suffering and she never seemed to be in good health, she put this down to stress, I put it down to the beginning of depression we did talk about it several times but she refused to believe that thing may have got that bad, but I could see the signs, and as her relationship deteriorated she became more withdrawn, taking more and more time off work, hardly sleeping, several more times we chatted, but she didn’t really want to commit to everything because she was afraid to admit her problems with her boyfriend and that she could no longer handle the stress it was putting on her.
I wish I had been more forceful in getting her to seek help but on two fronts her mental health was being compromised daily and her relationship was flat lining fast to the point that she barely outside of work left the house, and myself having had a run in last year with the boyfriend knew just how unreasonable he could be.
There are so many different triggers for depression, that we do confuse it with stress, which in itself can be debilitating, but when it developes into something darker, we are at a loss on how to deal with it, much less confide in someone and as with the case of my friend she had a double whammy of domestic abuse, and depression both equally damaging and not something we wish to talk about at length, that’s where dear old stigma comes into play, and even with awareness about domestic abuse and it’s effects on the mind, it’s hard to recognise the symptoms unless you have been through it.
Long story short things took a bad turn last week, my friend had ended the relationship 2 weeks ago, we all breathed a sigh of relief , but he returned broke into her house and assaulted her, and her neighbour who came to her aid, it was knife attack, he missed her heat by inches, she’s now in hospital with a collapsed lung, he was arrested and charged with attempted murder.
She blames herself, had she been more understanding/a better girlfriend/ etc, none of this is her fault she’s human and made a mistake about her choice of mate, no way initially could she envision what would happen, and of course many are judging her, which makes the whole situation worse, she’s fighting for her life, but the event has brought the black cloud of depression like a cloak has completely engulfed her and it will take years for her to heal.
Those of us that are aware feel guilty because we weren’t more forceful in our offers of help, which in some ways enabled her to hide the severity of her problems, it’s difficult to know what to do,you want to be supportive, but at times it’s hardest to tell those closet to you what is going on in your life, it’s a defence mechanism I understand that, I wish I didn’t but there it is.
If you can reach out to someone do so even if they refuse, you never know they might find the strength to knock on your door one day and even if you don’t understand, just listen and let them know they’re not alone.