Depression. It took me years to put that word on what I was experiencing; I don’t now eactly why. Maybe because we are tought so young to take seriously only what is properly visible. You can be pitied for a broken leg, but you can only be left misunderstood for a broken soul.
Healing, pushing depression out of one’s life is a continuous struggle. Antidepressant medecine makes only things easier in suppressing the physical symptoms such as excessive or too light sleep, state of uncontrollable anxiety or the ‘emotional rollercoaster’. The factual healing comes then from the ability of the depressed person to rediscover the “normal life”. Basically, this requires to work around two axis: oneself and the environment. One’s weakness results most of the time of unsolved inner conflicts, lack of confidence or any kind of hypersensitivity, while the environmental factors of a depression are a conjunction between initial conditions, randomness and consequences of interactions with the ouside world. Healing is basically finding a balance between the necessary acceptance of what we do not control or have no moral right to control and the necessary insubordination to what shouldn’t be inflicted.This balance requires to correct what has a negative impact on the quality of life from the inside and from the outside. To rethink some of one’s own behaviours, as well as moving away from some situations/conditions. In one word: healing is changing. Some have to change their too stressful job, some others have to change their submission to the manipulative character of a parent or quit an unfair relationship with an unappropriate partner, som have to raise their self-esteem or learn to manage their own tendency to procrastinate.
The challenge is in the change, yet it is also in having an appropriate response to the reaction of the entourage during and after the change if one wants to make that improvement permanent. For most of the people, as long as one has a “good” job (good meaning well quoted on the social ladder), as long as one seems to have a few friends, a few family members and eventually a partner, there is no understanding on why changing. The most common sentence one listens when the change becomes effective is “You are not the same anymore.”. Sure, I am not the same anymore, the old “me” was broken from inside and I had to melt it!
One is also confronted to the critics. Sometimes, critics even turn fully opposite what they were a few months ago: when, for example, for years you was criticized for your unmotivation, your lack of implication and the waste of your precious time and abilities, how to understand that the same people end telling you you are too enthusiastic and agitated, too fully into the too many activities you are doing, that you have to “understand” that you cannot make this and that, or act like this or like that, etc? Or when you are accused to be all at once too distant or selfish when all you did is to put an end to years of suffering many negative consequences of the fact of being too disposable to everybody and anybody, to the point of losing your ability to build your own life?
It is true that it might well that one gets “too far” in the change, like a pendulum that swung from one extremum to the other, but if it is the case, the stabilization normally ends coming. It is highly improbbable that a too selfless person, a “Mother Theresa”, becomes a cruel selfish bastard all at once; mostly, they just need some time off, some time apart, a bit away from people and “normal routine” to be able to come back in a better shape.
Being confronted to this kind of criticism about the change is a bit disturbing. When I was confronted to it, I felt disturbed: “Am I becoming a bad person?“. But then I tried to look at where I was about two years ago and where I am now: no, I am not becoming a bad person. I was burried alive and I had to struggle to digg up my personnality and find my way to my own happinness. I had to learn to not be ashamed to rise my voice and listen to my inner wishes. I had to stop being in the unconditional despaired need of giving it all to the others just to exist for them, and to keep some of it for me.
In the same time, going out of my own suffering made me more sensitive to the suffering of the others, in the sense that when I stopped crying, it gave me the opportunity to “re-discover” the world we are living in, with new eyes. And this sensitivity sometimes turns into oversensitivity sometimes. I imagine it is a bit like when the teenager becomes suddenly aware of the cruelty and cynism of the “grown up world” and thinks he found answers to all questions in reading the Communist Manifesto to confront the corrupted world and argue over dinner with the parents about how pitiful is their pragmatism compared to his/her own idealism.
Maybe am I living my second adolescence? Maybe I will have to go through a new couple of years of over-reactions I will be ashamed about afterwards, mistakes I will have to apologize for, whims that will put me in unconfortable situations. The parallel with adolescence is even extended to the physical change: depression craves sadness in the outer appearance and healing is also finding a better shape (some put on weight during depression, some lose too much weight, the quality of the skin and hair changes, the hormonal system is disturbed, etc).
The change is here, the change has just started. I don’t know where I will be five years from now, but I definitely know that everyday, I’d climb the hill so I could see the horizon.