I too often remember those times where depression defiantly stared down my sweet, unsuspecting morality with its accursed gaze. A inanely wide smirk etched from one side of its face to the other, as it goaded the latter towards its poisonous embrace….
It positively dared my sense of right and wrong to triumph over its awesome and all encompassing power – I am sad to say that, on more occasions than one, morality has been stamped out by depressions violent beatings, and left to rot by the roadside.
This is the question that this quote suggests to me:
Can that inner battle between balancing our own sense of empathy with our depressive episodes ever be truly won?
It’s a constant battle is it not? The fight between self preservation and demonstrating compassion to our fellow human beings. A complete conundrum of magnificent proportions if you ask me – and not one where there is a clear cut, definitive answer.
How do we deal with this inner dilemma? How, when we’re entirely in depression’s suffocating embrace, do we see, never mind with comprehend, the suffering of others?
While I in no way have the answer to this question, I like to think that, while I can be a terrible person to be around at times, I have shown considerable self restraint in these moments of madness:
- Only a few evenings ago, I took the (admittedly drunken) decision to take out my feelings on a close friend of mine. Nothing too insulting. But there was a notable passive aggressive tone to my voice. Yet this friend, being the patient and understanding person that he is, handled it very well and even neglected the apology I offered afterwards.
Yet, at other time, I have chosen to lie with the demons that haunt me, finding some strange sense of comfort in it’s lies and deceit. Like in the example below…
- I could not ask for a better mum than the one I have. She is everything a mother should be; kind, nurturing and brave. I admire her more than anybody else in this world. Yet there have been times when I’ve neglected her because of my demons. Times where I should have been on hand to help her went unheeded. Instead, I shut myself away from the world, hid under my bed sheets and prayed that it’s thin linen would protect me from the outside world.
So the question I pose to you is this -are we permitted to neglect the needs of others if our demons are consuming every fibre of our being, our moral code and our sense of rationale? If we completely neglect the problems faced by our loved ones in the face of a depressive episode, then does this make us ‘bad’ people?
Does some form of self restraint come with the territory when it comes to handling our mental illness? Overall this is a question over just how much responsibility we should have over ourselves. Not for the negative thoughts that plague us, but for our external actions and behaviours that occur as a result of those thoughts.
What are your views on this? It’s a complex question and there is no single right answer, so please don’t hesitate to share your views. We’re all in this together, no matter how alone you may feel right now.
Emotional support helplines:
Samaritans :116 123
Rethink Mental Illness advice line 0300 5000 927 (Monday to Friday 09:30-16:00; local rate)
Sane Line:0845 767 8000
Mind also has a useful guide of support and services, which can be found by clicking the link right here