We can all say that there should be no stigma around mental health, but there still is. There is more help and better understanding these days compared to 30 years ago, yes. But, there still exists a clear signal given off by others that something is inherently wrong with you if you suffer with your mental health. Even Michelle Obama has tried to help diffuse the powerful negative labels with her famous quote:
I often hear and use the same word over and over again when describing depression, and that word is some form of the root word "feel"... I feel, it feels like, I am feeling....... but it's more than a feeling. Depression really is a thing. An ugly thing that yes, can sometimes come out of nowhere and assault you like the smell of diesel fuel smacks you right in the face as you're driving too closely behind a trailer truck on the highway. It is spewing a cloud of grey smoke that seems to go right up a person's nose and causes an instant headache! More often than not, though, depression acts more like a vice that just gets a light hold on you, then as the days and events and stressors increase, so does the tightness of the vice. The feeling (see, there is that word again!) of depression makes me think of the kind of vice you'd see in an automobile repair shop -- one of those red ones with a silver handle that fits on the side of your working table. And my heart is in it.
Whether depression is an ongoing problem or a singular event that lasts too long, most of us know to encourage the suffering person to get some kind of help. The challenge becomes greater, however, when you find yourself the one wrestling with a mental illness. Sometimes taking yourself to the doctor compares with taking your vehicle into the auto shop. Neither are very fun.
Sometimes you don't even want to call the "auto-shop" to get help. You're afraid of the mechanic and his bill. Once you drag yourself there or had a friend or family member drop you off because either you or the car had to be towed, the waiting room sure is a ball of fun. The television is on some station airing reruns of Sally Jesse Raphael. Nice glasses, but otherwise, no thank you. But, you're stuck there, so you listen. Until you remember it's 2020 and you can plug your headphones into your phone and listen to a book on Audible or Google Play. There is a weird dingy wattage of light going on in that waiting room. All the glass windows and scary looking tools assures me that many an automobile autopsy is currently being carried out and the guts of my car are being removed, but hopefully healthily replaced. Somehow it still smells like heavy cigarette smoke despite the fact that it was outlawed in public places years ago. Everything and everybody looks suspicious. I wonder what is wrong with her/his car........
As you look around the room, you're surprised by the kind of people that are there. There is an innocent-looking elderly lady (not greasy) clinging to her purse and you hope she doesn't get ripped off. There are guys that come in their work clothes and have put in a very hard day of their own ....... they look as if they could fix their own cars (definitely greasy.) What are they doing here? Then there is me. I brought my big satchel full of things from work and home that needed my attention. At least I could look smart with all my papers instead of just stupidly sitting there while someone fixes my car. (A graphing calculator helps to complete the look.) Finally, some guy in dark blue overalls smeared with greasy fingerprints would call out my last name and hand me that pink carbon copy of all the crap that needed to be fixed on my car and all I can do is take his word for it. I have a feeling that I am not the only one who has ever left there feeling screwed, and not in a good way either. I want to say, "I hope you used lubrication first!" but I don't. I just think it, not realizing then that ten years later, I'd be blogging about that very moment!
So we don't really want to take our vehicles to the shop, but we have to in order to keep them running smoothly or in the very least to keep them from completely breaking down. It's the same thing with the human body and doctors, psychological or otherwise. There have been occasions in my life where I have been across the desk from a doctor and I found myself thinking, "How in the heck did this person pass in medical school?" Sometimes, I am fairly certain this individual is on meds himself or should be, but I'm not sharing, fella! I don't necessarily disagree with anything he's saying, but I don't always find it helpful. AT ALL. But, he/she is going to refill my meds that I need to function, until I can find a better doctor, so I just sit there....waiting.....watching them type whatever into a computer and seriously questioning those diplomas framed on the wall. Weirdos! Windy, get a different doctor now. Zip it, please. I may have some anxiety and depression, but I'm not an idiot.
Not everything requires a professional. Sometimes you just need a friend to help you jump start your battery. Or you just need a friend or a family member so say, 'I know it's rough. You'll get through this. Rest." Sometimes it helps just to hear the voice of someone who cares for you. Or to send a card, an email, or a little text that says, "Thinking of you," when you know your friend is struggling. Often it does take a lot of work to fix a car or a psychological situation, but sometimes a little encouragement from various people goes a long way toward getting there. We all want to be happy and we want to be around and communicate with, love on, and confide in happy people. Knowing this, it can be very humbling to ask someone to just lend an ear or a jumper cable for a few minutes. Please remember that about your loved ones. Depression is a thing, humans are depressed, but people are not their depression.