For those who don’t experience or understand depression, it can be hard to understand the duration of someone’s melancholy and why, after a while, they can’t just snap out of it.
I’ve spent a lot of time learning to keep my moods out of the way, carrying on in public like all is normal. But when I’m home, it’s exceptionally difficult to keep up appearances.
No matter how hard I try to “snap out of it,” the fog remains. My family has learned to see it for what it is — an illness that comes and goes and has to be managed. But I know that if I stay in the fog for too long, the whole house suffers.
My ongoing challenge is to minimize the suffering for those around me. I’m better at it than I used to be, but there are still days where I fail. I’m coming out of a particularly severe episode of depression now. I’m playing my guitar again and eating more carefully. But I still feel some numbness of the mind and want to sleep a lot. I’ve probably spent more time dozing on the couch than I have in a long while. That too will pass.
The thing loved ones have to realize is that there’s no such thing as snapping out of it. When melancholy takes hold, it doesn’t like to let go. The sufferer can fight it with therapy appointments, medication and meditation, and they can and usually will come out of it. But it’s a gradual thing. It’s like a storm. You wish it would just end and that the sun would come out, and eventually it does. But sometimes it takes days.
With the depressed mind, it sometimes takes weeks.
I’m not going to tell you to get over it and be patient. That would be as ridiculous as expecting someone to snap out of a depression. It’s frustrating to be around someone who’s miserable. And the depressed person does have a responsibility to do what they can to get healthy.
Sometimes the therapy and medication are enough. Sometimes, getting better requires a hospital stay. Fortunately, I’ve never required hospitalization for my depression, though family members and close friends have. That’s hard on loved ones, too. But at least there’s round-the-clock treatment for the sufferer and a respite for the people at home.
All I can tell you to do is keep the faith.
Godspeed to you and the depressed person in your life.