Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

John really sums things up well

I did a quick check during lunch on John and found this: Cumisky...Life sucks

I'm worried about him. The other day, his dog died quite suddenly, due to a heart attack. I think it's caused his depression to deepen, and he's had some weird experiences and is considering entering a hospital to figure out what's wrong.

It seems like a lot of people are feeling worse these days. Maybe it's the turn of season, or the state of the world, or our own mucked-up brain chemistry. I haven't experienced depression to such a disabling, truly suicidal level myself. Years ago I had sucidal thoughts, emotional storms that later turned out to be panic attacks, and they scared me a great deal. I've suffered major depression, but I worked the entire time I was in the midst of my 'breakdown', and eventually things got much better, and I was able to deal with life's curveballs a lot better.

But I've seen it suck the joy, the wonder, the very substance of life from others, and it's hard just to watch in someone else. For the person dealing with depression itself, it seems like such a weight dragging one down like a maelstrom. It leaves you unprepared for dealing with every day's ups and downs. What can you do to help? There's no magic wand to wish it away, no 'getting them to snap out of it'. Medication and therapy may help, or not. Depression itself seems to be some huge ocean with waves the ebb and flow and crash against you, too, then suddenly, one day, it may calm and go away, and we don't really understand why...they just call it remission. And those of us on the periphery can just watch, and sometimes just be there as a reassuring presence. But still, I wish the remission would come sooner rather than later, because after years of endurance, I think it erodes away at the human spirit, and the solace of death looks more inviting. It's not a cure, of course--depending on your beliefs, suicide can put you at risk of eternal suffering, or in my case, doing the whole thing over again with variables and a more screwed-up life. It doesn't solve anything, really, but I have to admit, every day I'm afraid that someone I love will decide the pain is no longer endurable, but when someone deserves so much in life, you can only hope that, eventually, the joy, the colour, the breath of life will return without taking that final step. I know, when I suffered from a milder form of depression, that was the case. I can only hope that for those who suffer more deeply, that it will eventually get better, even if it takes a little longer.

If you are contemplating suicide, please consider getting help. Tell someone you love. Yes, it is a burden, to some degree, but if they care about you, they will see that you get what help can be given and hopefully see you through this dark time. Seek professional health. In most cases, depression can be treated. Depression almost always eventually lifts on its own; the trick is making sure the person lives through the course of the disease.

My own feelings lately are mild, a normal reaction to the season, my hormones, my medicine. I'm sure they'll get better soon, especially if I take care of myself by getting better sleep and spending some time to decompress. I owe it to myself, but I also owe it to those who rely on me. I just wish that there was some sort of magic wand for others who are truly suffering.

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