Tuesday, 23 November 2010

A tribute to the Brave

Grab life today, embrace it, shake and force it to do things your way! In the process never forget to show a little love to those around you, especially those with mental illness.

This year two of my friends have lost the fight with depression. When you hear such sad news as the loss of a loved one, if the loss is due to old age, or accident, whilst still tough, it has a reason, there is a hook to hang your emotion onto. However when you hear that your friend took their own life the situation for those left behind is far different.

Anger, resentment, tears, frustration, sadness and regret all intertwine into a big noisy mess inside your head.

'maybe I should have called him' 'why wasn't i there for him' 'if only I hadn't dismissed his troubles as melodrama or attention seeking' 'I should have noticed he was that bad, I should have known, I was his friend!'

These thoughts and a million others race through your head as you try and resolve the hurt that is biting at your heart.

Here's the thing though, there is no way of bringing back a loved one once gone, there is no cure. There is however a vaccine that might help those suffering from the same disease hold back its symptoms.

If you have a friend or a colleague who is suffering from depression or manic depression or any one of the many terrible mind maladies which display similar warnings, then there is one thing you can do for them right now and its really quite simple.

Just show them some love. Don't judge them. Don't scorn them or hate their moments of melodramatic self indulgence. Don't try and assign reasons for their behaviour using your best judgement from your sound mind that has no idea of the complexities and complications, the demons and the torture some have to deal with. Do not pretend you understand their pain if you yourself have never known such pain. Do not figuratively patronise or pat their head in wayward lip service. Just give them a little more love.

Many people with the many forms of depression are often the most creative and colourful members of our world. They are impetuous and bouncy one day and morose and negative the next. They build great walls of personality and bravado and lull the world into thinking that they are ok, they love the fight. They make it seem as if the fight is a tough one but one which is exhilarating in its pursuit. We often see those who suffer as somehow the strogest amongst us and thus the least likely to fall. This is a fragile illusion and the many dear friends I have said goodbye to are sad proof of that.

You may not be able to save a friend, you may not be able to extend their life one day beyond the day they decide their time has come, but you can wave them off with a heart that is clear in the knowledge that you did everything you could. You spent that extra moment to share a smile, you hesitated before judging them and you never forgot to tell them that you valued them and loved them.

Good bye my dear friends. Sleep well and peacefully.