Like addiction, our narrative around depression is contradictory. We’re told it’s a faultless medical condition warranting treatment, and that recovery is a feat that one should be proud of. Those of us still suffering from the disease are left to think that not recovering is a sign of some character flaw – a lack of perseverance, a failure to really try.
The thing is that we confuse the effort with the intended consequence. Unless we’re actually getting better, no one (ourselves included) tends to notice that we’re trying. We don’t give ourselves credit. It’s exhausting. It’s disappointing. It goes in circles. We end up blaming the victim.
I do wonder how much trying actually does help. I think of my friend with post-partum who told me not to worry about ‘making myself’ better. One day the depression would just start to lift.
Still, I’ve felt a strong need, a strong belief that trying is vital. And I’ve started to think that maybe I’ve been asking the wrong question. Maybe it’s not the trying itself that helps, maybe it’s the listening to the part of yourself that wants to try. That’s the part that has hope. That’s the part that is loving. Whether she’s able to actually do anything can be beside the point. It’s the listening to her that matters.
I think this is especially important for longer term sufferers, the sufferers who are tired of the cycle of trying and being disappointed. It’s not your fault if trying hasn’t helped. Give some real thought to that part of you that still wants to try. And be good to her. As best you can.
Love her. She’s in there, loving you.
Photo from LowJumpingFrog