RELATED POST: Dealing with Depression – An Introduction
Now that you all know a little about me and why I am writing this series I wanted to share what I think is the number one way to deal with depression. Therapy. It doesn’t have to be an expensive therapist or an expert on depression – the point is to talk – to anyone. Suicide is usually a solitary event and those who choose to end their own life often feel so alone and so unimportant that they think that no one cares of they die. The number one way to prevent suicide? Talking. Either taking the time to talk to someone who is down, or by being depressed and seeking out someone who cares for you to talk to. If you are reading this because you struggle with severe depression or are helping someone who is depressed or you think my be suicidal, stop reading my nonsense and go visit this site : HelpGuide.org: Suicide Prevention for some excellent advice on how to talk to a suicidal person and some resources for you if you are the person feeling suicidal.
Now not every depressed person thinks about killing themselves on a daily basis. There is a lot of ‘stuff’ that happens before people get to that point (usually). Also, please keep in mind that this post is really directed to those who suffer from just depression – when you add other mental illnesses or physical illnesses to the mix, more professional advice should be sought to help deal with all the issues you or someone you love may be facing. Depression itself can be a symptom of much more complicated illnesses that need more treatment than just talking to someone. That all being said…
There have been several times in my life where I genuinely thought about death, but the number one thing that ALWAYS stopped those thoughts from progressing was the knowledge that I would make people really sad if I ever did anything to hurt myself. I didn’t want to be responsible for causing anyone any type of suffering. I am however a ‘people person’ who normally puts others above myself (which can lead to depression in its own right). The other thing that always stopped me was that I knew always that I was loved and wanted. THAT is important. Even if you think people don’t believe you when you tell them that you love them – somewhere they do hear you and that one moment of letting someone know just how important they are to you can safe a life.
I have also always been a talker. Some of that was attention seeking in my youth, but the fact remains that I still sought out people to talk to. I have been to counseling with clergy, court ordered (I got ‘arrested’ for trespassing when I was 13 and they made me get counseling), psychiatrists, school counselors, and therapists – not to mention the myriad of people who just cared about me like teachers and adult friends (mostly ‘church’ people), and of course my Mom. For those who aren’t already ‘talkers’ they may need a little guidance to talk about what is going on with them, but again, getting someone to talk is the first line of defense against crippling depression.
I HATED therapy when I was younger. Part of the problem was that I wasn’t seeking the right kind of help. School counselors in my mind were all idiots (they had good intentions but when you are 12-15 you aren’t looking at intention or credentials), the psychiatrist I saw made no sense and it was obvious to me that he didn’t really care about me, the clergy I talked to guided me through religious means – which in many cases made my depression worse, and the few therapists I had seen were either too expensive for me to continue, or I thought their techniques were just odd – “here, talk to this doll.” Also, when you are FORCED to go talk to someone, your defenses are already up, and it is difficult to get to YOU when you are still worried about why you are sitting in that chair in the first place. As much as I was unable to recognize the benefit of all those people then; I can look back on it all now and say that those odd, weird, idiots who wanted me to talk to dolls and give my worries over to Jesus…well they saved my life. Just because the person doesn’t recognize or appreciate it at the time – doesn’t mean that there was no positive impact from taking the time to talk to them in whatever means you posses.
As an adult, I still have a love/hate relationship with therapy – but thankfully I have finally found a therapist who I respect, who exudes kindness, and who is just generally awesome. Different therapists bring different tools to the table, and I am am now blessed to know that I finally have the one who works for me. My therapy goes well now too because I am a willing participant. The most awesome therapist in the world can’t help you unless you are willing to be honest and open and do the ‘work’ they ask you to do. That in itself is a process and many people simply aren’t prepared to do that stuff until they are older and have a more concrete view of their lives and what they want to change or learn about themselves. It isn’t all about depression – therapy is great in just helping to have someone impartial that is going to focus just on you.
One last thing before I end today’s post – I have realized that many people simply do not understand the difference between a therapist and a psychiatrist. Let me say this first though – I am completely biased when it comes to psychiatrists. I don’t like them. I see them as a necessary evil in order to obtain medication, but I do not see them as people who treat ‘people’. They diagnose, they medicate, but in my experience beyond your brain and chemical imbalance; they don’t really give a shit about why you are the way you are – they just want to fix it, medically; and not everyone who is sad needs a medical, medicinal solution. My only advice here is to seek help first from a licensed therapist or a psychologist. They will be able to help determine if you need more help then they can give and will be able to direct you to a psychiatrist who can further treat you or diagnose you if that is what is warranted. When people go to a psychiatrist first – they may end up diagnosed and medically treated when they really didn’t need that drastic of an intervention. I see this especially in children and I have a whole soapbox to jump on when it comes to seeking help for your kids.
To those reading this let me close by saying that I love you. As we share this planet together, even if I have never met you – I really do care about you and what happens to you. I am writing this because you are important and you have value. If you need help please seek it out. Don’t ever give up!
RELATED POST: Dealing with Depression Part 1 – My Story
If you have thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts or actions and need help RIGHT NOW please call:
1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-273-TALK