“You Being Beautiful” is an interesting book and I’m rather enjoying the read. I’ve covered off most of “Looking Beautiful” although there is a chapter in there that is part of a topic for another month, so I’m not writing about it. I’m almost at the end of the “Feeling Beautiful” section and so far, the most interesting chapter has been about moods.
A good chunk of the chapter is about depression. I know people can be very judgmental about depression, not seeing it as a real illness, rather as an emotional reaction. Sometimes, it is. The worst thing in the world happened to me when I was 17. My beloved grandmother died. Yes, there are still people who think “well, it’s only a grandmother” but those are the people who also think that when a pet dies it’s only a dog/cat/goldfish. My grandmother meant the world to me, and when she passed away, I was completely devastated. I miss her horribly to this very day, but as you get older, you get perspective. I understand now that she had a good life, never having to move out of the home that she loved, never facing a long term illness and having the opportunity to have people remember her as she truly was – a lovely, sweet and gentle person. When I was 17, all that I could think about was that she would never see me graduate from high school, I would never have that unconditional feeling of love that she gave again, and I would never stop missing her. For more than a year, I cried myself to sleep every night. The difference was, I never had a problem getting out of bed, I never wanted to die and I could control my grief when I was out (for the most part). I also had a little Cocker Spaniel – Rascal – who needed my attention. Before you poo-poo the true magic of a dog, that dog was a reason for me to get up in the morning and was a reason for me to care about something besides myself – tough for a teenager, even on a good day. He also provided endless sympathy – he’d looked at me sadly when I cried and sighed. He was the best.
That was situational depression. We’ve all had it to one degree or another. Again, before you judge someone with true depression, think back to a time when a boy/girl broke your heart. How many of us haven’t stayed at home with a pint of ice cream sobbing our eyes out, listening to a song that reminds us of them over and over and over again…kind of like a 3 year old watching a Disney movie…Well, imagine if you will, feeling like that all of the time. It’s hard for me, because I’ve never experienced true depression, but watching people go through it can be heart-breaking. As noted on page 229 of the book, “…depression isn’t a “mental” disease – you can’t control it, as you can your moods; it’s a “chemical” disease, no less a threat to your health than HIV/AIDS or diabetes.” I for one, feel that people who have depression shouldn’t be embarassed, but people who judge others for being honest about it should. People that can cope on a daily basis with a chemical imbalance and can still lead a good life aren’t to be judged – they are to be commended.
Ladies, how many of us have felt out of control during PMS time – feeding frenzies, mood shifts, unexplained sadness – and you know that what you are thinking doesn’t make sense, but you feel it anyway. More than 15% of us will have significant depression at some point in our lives – a pretty significant number – that means someone that you know or are close with could be affected. Letting people know that you care and that you feel empathy for them is important. Telling people to “get over it” is like telling a child to “grow up” or telling a smoker to “quit smoking”. It’s just not as simple as that.