UNDERSTAND WHAT IS HAPPENING TO YOU
Cohen and Taylor recently surveyed the studies of psychological survival and concluded that repeated affirmation by survivors suggest the first rule of any handbook on survival : understand what is happening to you.
(Cohen, S., and Taylor, L. (1972). Psychological Survival. The Experience of Long Term Imprisonment. Penguin. p.138. )
“The same rule applies for those who wish to survive the experience of depression. Ultimately, so many depressed people, when they try to discover what is happening to them, are told that they have an illness which only a doctor can understand. Books on depression are rarely enlightening. What one needs in this situation is someone to talk with, someone who will not give advice and produce solutions, but who with help to unravel the complexities of one’s thinking and feeling and to look at possible alternatives, someone whose presence ensures that the isolation is not complete.” (Rowe, Dorothy.(1988) Choosing Not Losing:The experience of depression. Fontana. London. p.341.)
It is my belief, after these many years of being in a Depressed Anonymous group and as an active participant, I did learn that I no longer needed to be alone and isolate myself from my world, my family and friends. Over time and with the help of the group, the complexities and dead-ends of my thinking and feeling, were brought to bear, time and time again, on seeing myself in a different light. It was in the group where I learned that “free and truthful discussion is only possible between people who see each other as equal members of the human race…Until we learn to talk together without fear we shall not be able to progress in understanding the human race and the world.” p.343.