I don't  know how to start a conversation about depression.  I just know that as a parent of a special
Danger sign with a picture of a man taking a header over a precipice.
Taking a header over the precipice
needs child, my baby bag not only came with diapers and binkies and bottles, but also a highly pressurized can of depression that could explode at any moment.  Granted, this was not the severe, chemical depression that runs through genetic lines, rends families apart, and leaves a trail of destruction, nor was this the kind of depression that may have killed Robin Williams.

I just know that our culture of "boot-strapping" and "type A personalities" and "have a nice day" has little tolerance for depression and those in its grip. We are stigmatized.  "What's the matter with you?  Just get over it," we are told.  We are encouraged to "buck up" or think about "the bright side," which is little consolation when you feel like you are about to take a header over the precipice.

I think about the mornings in which I woke up disappointed to still be alive.  The private thoughts of the depressive are dark and brooding, a no man's land of exhaustion, confusion, and sadness.  But I would get out of bed, knowing that the day awaiting me would be worse than the day before... and that the day after that would be worse still.

So, I ask of you (those who have stared over the precipice and those who have not): Do not say, "buck up," and do not shy away.  Depression is not in need of a pep talk nor is it a contagion that will pass to you if you engage.  Be a friend. Be patient. If you are told to buzz off, then buzz off. But if you are asked to show some kindness, then listen without judgment, and just be present. It is hard to be a friend to someone struggling with depression, but remember, it is even harder to be depressed.

#depression #disability #specialneeds #parenting #sadness #loss #grief #suicide

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