Running Shoes

Running Shoes: slang, related term: give someone his walking papers. 

 

Depression has been in the news a lot over this last weekend and, sadly, for all of the wrong reasons. 

It is as though there are two clear camps on either side of the debate; those who have had depression and ‘get it’, and those who have not, and believe it is simply a state of mind and not an illness. Something that going for a quick run can nip in the bud before it gets a little too self-absorbing. 

There are many forms of depression, each one individual to the person suffering. Some may recover with counselling, some may also need antidepressants, and others will need a combination of the two. And yes, some may even find that putting on their running shoes and exercising will help them as well.

Depression can occur on its own or with a multitude of other issues. It may last for days, weeks, or years, coming and going out of your life like that unwanted friend you’ve tried to cut from your life several times in the past. It is not the same experience for anyone and each individual will need their own treatment plan. 

Before I had depression, I admit (rather ashamedly so) that I thought some people who claimed they were depressed could do with pulling themselves together. I wondered if they liked wallowing in self-pity and playing the victim. However, since suffering from it three times, I know that those beliefs are an utter load of rubbish and I’m horrified that they were ever something I thought were true. It is a very real illness and incapacitates people every day, buit doesn’t mean that when successfully treated they can’t do their jobs, or raise their children,and I don’t for one single minute think it means they may want to harm hundreds of innocent people. 

But I don’t know. 

What I do know is that whatever is going on in the poorly brain of someone suffering from depression more often than not makes perfect sense to them. Suicide isn’t cowardly. It isn’t selfish. It is a rational decision to the suicidal person. They think it is the best for everyone andseems like the most sensible thing they may ever done in their life. They don’t feel they have a choice. 

It is shocking that there is such a lack of understanding surrounding depression nowadays and it is causing so much damage.

I’ve never had a miscarriage, yet am able to support others through it. I have never had to deal with being terminally ill, and yet I have watched both my father and a close friend die and have helped others going through the same thing. Compassion and empathy aren’t difficult concepts and yet when it comes to mental health people seem unable to find it within themselves to imagine, for just one second, what it is like to suffer from depression unless they have experienced it for themselves. They judge. They reduce themselves to petty updates on Facebook and Twitter. They spout dangerous opinions,which harm others. They compound stigma and make people afraid to speak out. 

I am not afraid. 

I have depression.

I am taking anti-depressants.

I am having counselling.

I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, sister, a friend and an aunt, and having depression does not make me any less of those things.

I am fighting and working every day to beat this illness and I will not let anyone make me feel worthless or pathetic for having it

And may I kindly suggest, that if you don’t know what you are talking about when it comes to mental health, you keep your mouth closed. 

Put your running shoes on and jog as far away from me as you can.

2 thoughts on “Running Shoes

  1. A beautifully written post Jen. The insensitivity with which the media in particular report depression and mental illness leaves a lot to be desired. Just because we aren’t wrapped in bandages, or don’t have a cast on doesn’t mean what we experience isn’t real. I wonder if the stigma of having depression etc will ever go away x

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