Warning for: Talk about depression and therapy(not my own) and emotions and stuff (very much my own).
So this is about my family. My dad has been diagnosed with depression and thoughts of self-harm and his doctor sent him, with his agreement, to a recovery center with special psychological surveillance. It’s not a hospital, but close enough. He stayed there for several weeks. The first few he wasn’t allowed to come home to visit us on weekends, but he got to later on. But this is not about his therapy (which has been successful so far, my dad’s home again with us and there is a big improvement to his life and well-being).
It’s about how people reacted to it.
The first few days were normal, people haven’t noticed and we didn’t really tell anyone, since it is a personal matter. We live in a small town and people started talking. my mom told me about how exhausting it is to talk with people about it. There were two kinds of reactions:
1. People downplayed the matter. “Oh well, I had depression once too and I just needed to get more air, move and take up a sport” or “he just needs to lighten up”.
2. The second type of reaction were people like above. People who heard the words “psychological treatment” and shut down. Only crazy people have to go to a psychiatrist. And clearly crazy people aren’t normal and acceptable. The thing is, those “crazy people” who went through therapy and are now considered “normal” again are surprisingly never talked about.
I had long talks with my mom about the matter, about how we keep the topic of depression under lock and key. It’s something that happens to other people, but not to you. It’s scary to most people, so they will get defensive, maybe in the two ways I stated above. But depression is real and more people have it than might admit to it, because they are scared of the fact that they might be labeled as “crazy” and given up on. We need to treat it differently and talk about it and not just look away and play it down. Those reactions help nobody, not the patient and not the family and loved ones.
That was my first time coming into contact with that type of reaction. It’s not even two months since my dad’s home again and I had multiple situations in which the same reactions arose, to different topics. My grandma, for example, is desperately afraid that she will be left alone when she admits that her problems are old age depressions (even though her own son had been in therapy not even 2 months ago). It’s frustrating, because this mentality leads people to not seek help, to keep hurting, because hurting is better than being “crazy”.
People seem to rather hurt and keep hurting than being different/asking for help. It’s sad and frustrating and I just wish it was different.
What’s the point of this post? Well, I didn’t really have one when I started out. A conversation I had tonight triggered it and I think talking about it helps. I am not sure if people are going to listen, it’s not even that good a story.