Posted on 15/01/2019 by
If you try to add colour to that world, be prepared to face your efforts going futile innumerable times. The best you can do is to get accustomed to that colourless world.
Neuroscience doesn’t categorise chronic depression as a mere psychological condition, as it understands the biochemical imbalances happening inside a human brain, thereby vindicating the victims who had been pointed the finger at in the past for not trying enough to cultivate a positive mentality. But we have still a long way to go in understanding the many manifestations of depression, and its impact on the lives of the victims and the people who are associated with them.
To suffer from a mental illness is debilitating, so also is to live with a dear one who is affected by that condition; hence, it is very important to empathise with those who are affected collaterally.
Someone experiencing an episode of depression often behaves like a horse with blinders. They can easily be misjudged as selfish by those who have no apparent knowledge about the condition. When depressed, it’s challenging to stay attuned to the emotions of the people around, and this can be problematic for the victim’s family members, especially partner or children. Although the rationale behind that apathy is defensible, it doesn’t make it easy for the people whose emotional needs are overlooked in a relationship.
Our happiness is conditioned by many factors including the place we live, the job, the people whom we interact with on a daily basis, etc., apart from our general outlook towards life. Eternal optimists and prophets of doom—who don’t make the majority—stay the same no matter what, but most of us are susceptible to our situations. While it is important to cultivate happiness from within, as the self-help gurus profess, its maintenance can be easier for people who live an independent or solitary lives than the ones who have to share their personal space with others.
The presence of those around us, their temperament and moods, strongly influence our state of being. The long-term presence of an emotionally indifferent person can be demanding in a marriage; problems get worse when the partner tries to fix the affected person or takes unnecessary blame for the condition, or empathise too much. Such things will only help to compound the issues of the victim.
One of the dominant feelings passive victims of depression experience is helplessness. Unless they understand the condition, they get exasperated being trapped in that situation. This happens mainly because of undefined personal boundaries. Although close-knit relationships are considered ideal, it can also cause great strain in families, because of the overlapping of emotions. In such a scenario, a depressed person’s closest family member too is likely to feel bogged down.
Lack of personal space can tamper with a person’s emotional well-being. Be it husband and wife; parent and child; siblings; friends, there should always be a healthy distance between people no matter what the relationship is. People should be able to seek their happiness without being plagued by guilt that’s imposed by societal expectations.
If you know someone who is dealing with a depressed family member, the last thing they needs to hear is tips to cheer the patient up, as we aren’t talking about lifting a bad mood by eating out or going on a vacation. A better advice would be telling them to prioritise their needs as well, and take good care of themselves first, so that they can be emotionally strong to help the victim.