I went for a walk the other day through the leafy lanes of The Shire, with a friend of mine who has suffered from severe depression from about this time last year.
It was such a beautiful fall day. He was so happy, at having made so much progress on the road to recovery.
And I was just so grateful that he’s still here, and that I’m still standing.
For I can honestly say that travelling with him through the maze of the mental health system, has been one of the most exhausting and nightmarish experiences of my life.
And since Wednesday was Mental Health Awareness Day I feel I have a duty to my friend, and all the others who aren’t as lucky as him, to sum up what I’ve seen with my eyes wide open: The problem is huge.
The system is overwhelmed. We need more treatment, more compassion, more support for family and care givers. And above all we need less denial, less stigma, less ignorance.
From Postmedia News: “At the same time as more workplaces are responding to depression at a ‘remarkable’ pace, some stigma still remains toward the mood disorder, with some Canadians saying they believe that people choose to be depressed, according to a new survey.”
For who would choose to be struck by a sadness that comes out of nowhere? And can turn something so beautiful . . .
Into something that feels so hopeless . . .
Anybody who thinks that must be cruel as well as ignorant.
I’ll always be grateful to my friend for opening my eyes to the extent of the problem, and the suffering of so many Canadians, especially poor ones. Even if the experience almost killed me eh?
Because change begins with awareness. We need change badly. And now I can also help spread the hopeful message: help is available, the sadness that comes from nowhere, and hurts everyone, can be treated.
You can beat the doggy depression . . .
My friend’s journey is not yet over. For it can be a long one.
But his other friends and I are with him all the way. Now more than ever.
And on this sunny day in the gentle Shire . . .
We laughed a lot. Wished we too could live in a house with a purple roof.
And kept marching together down that winding road.
Out of the darkness and into the light . . .