Want support? That’s what we all want for our lives, especially when we are depressed. This is certainly a fact as we sink deeper into the quagmire of a melancholy mood. Without support from others when we feel depressed — even hopeless — is a critical time for us. It’s a do or die moment. It’s time to make a decision. What do we want?
I think that for most of us who are or were depressed to have someone understand what we are living through–but let’s be frank–unless you yourself have experienced the deadening feeling of depression it is quite a leap for others to try and understand our experience if they have never been there themselves. And really this is the reason we have a support group for those of us who can come together and get support. We are not alone. We have walked the walk where we were all alone and in a continued isolation from family, friends and our world.
CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT
In a social diagnosis made by C. Lasch, (La cultura del narcissimo (Andres Bello, Barcelona. 1999). “who typified our contemporary culture as a culture of narcissism – a culture in which every person relies on himself alone and is horrified by old age and radically marginalizes the elderly.” (Dolentium Hominum. Church and Health in the world. xix. 2004.)
Social support for those of us who are or have been depressed has saved many of us from those deeper and life threatening forms of addiction, such as alcoholism, gambling, pornography, hoarding. We have become a materialistic throw away society, craving more things to consume and more things filling up the hole of our emptiness.
While having already personally experienced the power of the 12 spiritual principles of the 12 steps, plus a powerful social support of the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous, I know of the power of being with others who just like myself, who find unconditional acceptance from the group. I also continue to learn about and use the many tools that keep me from relapsing back into depression . In Depressed Anonymous we all speak the same language of hope and recovery.
Dr. Aquilino Polaino-Lorento, a psychopathologist, in his article Is depression solely a matter of medical intervention? tells us “the absence of social support is not a cause of depression but is its consequence….less social support meaning a greater expression of symptoms.”
Here are more of his thoughts on social support and how that can be a predictor in a depressed persons’ response to therapy. He shares the following; Depressive illness in elderly patients is higher the lower the level of the social support they receive.The speed of the response to therapy correlates in both sexes with the social support they received. The higher the level of social support the more rapid the response.
Social support for many who are depressed is just not there. Period. It is a sad fact that there is even a stigma placed on persons depressed. A depressed person has need of other depressed persons who can give them hope that their experience doesn’t have to go on. The social support of a mutual aid group can give exactly this–support and hope. As persons depressed have a tendency to isolate themselves — and the less social support they receive the deeper the spiral into darkness.
So what we have here is that more persons in our modern societies are isolated and remote from others. We have become nomads looking for more things, more experiences that deepen a focus on oneself, pushes us away from the community however large or small, and contributes to an attitude of “it’s all about me.”
So is all we are left with is a society filled with isolated narcissists? No, that doesn’t have to be at all. But if we want help for those of us who are depressed, we learn that the greatest help can be not to judge, not to tell them how to live, but instead, listen and be present to them as friend.
In our Dep-Anon Family Group Manual we have a section titled
WHAT TO SAY TO SOMEONE WHO IS DEPRESSED.
“It is more tempting, when you find out someone is depressed to immediately fix the problem. However, until the depressed persons has given you the permission to be their therapist (as a friend or a professional) , the following responses are more likely to help.
The things that didn’t make me feel worse are the words which 1) acknowledge my depression for what it is (“No, its just a phase.”) 2) give me permission to feel depressed ( “But why should you be sad?) .
Here is a list of things that might be said to a depressed friend or family member. “
“I love you.”
“You are not alone in this.”
“I’m not going to leave you or abandon you.”
“Do you want a hug.”
“It will pass, we can ride it out together.”
“When all this is over, I’ll still be here (if you mean it) and so will you.”
“You are important to me.”
“We are not primarily on earth to see through someone –but to see one another through.”
“I am sorry that you’re in so much pain. I am not going to leave you. I am going to take care of myself so that you don’t need to worry that your pain might hurt me.”
“I listen to you talk about it, and I can’t imagine what it’s like for you. I just can’t imagine how hard it must be?”
“I can’t fully understand what you are feeling, but I can offer my compassion.”
If you need a friend…” (And mean it).
Here we are. There is hope and there is social support available.
For more information please read and learn about the HOME STUDY KIT which one can use as an individual with their therapist, family member or a friend.
The two works which comprise the Home Study Kit are:
Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.
The Depressed Anonymous Workbook(2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. These two works comprise the Home Study Kit.
Depressedanon.com (here at this site) has a daily blog from which information and inspiration can be experienced.
VISIT THE STORE for other available literature. Remember, our literature is written by those of us who were depressed.