It’s the “happiest time” of the year, right? For people who suffer from clinical depression and/or Seasonal Affective Disorder Syndrome, it may be the most debilitating time of the year. I never know how to talk about all the challenges I face and depression is one of those things. As a Christian and a minister, I really get tired of the way people talk about depression as if it is a “lack of faith,” as in “snap out of it; if you REALLY believed in God you wouldn’t get in this place.” Or variations on those themes. But my friend, Carla Jones, figured out how to write about it and it in exquisite. I’m including the link here, because she deserves to be read on her own site., For Colored Girls.
Here are some nuggets:
“Beloved, it makes me angry when people think that being suicidal can be remedied by talking to ‘everyone’ or ‘someone.’ If the listeners were actually available to HEAR us when we’re talking about what’s going on and what is leading us to consider suicide in the first place, then perhaps that suggestion might work. It is utterly offensive to me that people think that simply finding ‘someone’ to talk to will solve the problem.”
“The darkness surrounding suicidal thoughts is thick, consuming, frightening and overbearing and most ‘friends’ can’t handle going there with you for fear that it might leak off of us and consume them too.”
“We don’t want to talk to you people! Do you know why? Because you treat us like we are children with a scraped knee instead of like the triage cases we are at that point. Hello! I don’t have a scraped knee. I have a severed limb! And bless your hearts, you try your uninformed best with your ‘get over it’ or ‘cheer up’ (and my personal favorite – ‘I was depressed last week too’ – No, YOU had a bad day! I have an illness!! But we can’t say those things because they’re considered inappropriate) and after hearing that repeatedly (from loved ones who are closest to us or who claim to know us best) we simply decide to stop talking to people who say stupid shit (excuse me, I mean well-meaning but useless words). Do you seriously think we haven’t tried talking to people?”
“Those who have never been there think we are selfish. You’ve got to have a sense of self to be selfish.”
“I survived because I was forced to get medical attention because this thing was bigger than ‘talk’ and I was out of words anyway. I survived because I had people holding me accountable for taking the prescribed medication until such time that I did not have to use it anymore.”
“It sounds harsh but it’s like when Malcolm X told the white girl there was nothing she could do for the movement. It’s bigger than your well meaning heart’s desire to “help”. Helping is usually more work than people imagine when they “sign up” for the committee. Life saving is long hard work and you have to be built for it. It ain’t for everyone. And believe it or not, we won’t hold it against you if you can’t sign up for the tour of duty.”
YEAH…. it’s THAT informative, brutally honest, profoundly painful, and raw. You should go over to her site and READ the WHOLE THING: For Colored Girls. Thank you again, Carla. And for everyone who knows this pain, I am praying with and for you. I hope you survive the blight.