“Just think positive.”
Have you ever heard those words and said to yourself, I CAN’T!? If you have ever dealt with clinical depression, chances are a well-meaning loved one has said them to you. You may have struggled to find a way to explain to your would-be comforter that it just doesn’t work that way. Well, a dear friend of mine has come up with a way. And I think it’s brilliant!
Feelings, those fleeting, illogical things that our brain creates from a combination of neural connections and chemistry. Why can’t a person with a disorder affecting his or her emotions just “think positive”?
Photo credit: Nicki Dugan Pogue
Well, imagine you wake up one day and your 5 senses are not working properly. You can’t smell or taste, and your sight is only registering black and white. You are disturbed by this sudden change, and you have no idea if your ability to smell, taste, or see in color will ever come back. Your other senses of hearing and touch are hypersensitive, leaving you feeling bombarded and irritated by the tiniest sound or touch. If someone told you, “you’ll feel better if you come outside and smell the roses,” what would that accomplish? Absolutely nothing! Except possibly to leave you feeling exasperated and misunderstood.
Each sense = an emotion
If you deal with depression, maybe this tip will help you break through to those logical, rational beings in your life (or even within yourself) who need something tangible to explain something abstract. When your joy and happiness have disappeared, and your fear and anger are hyper-alert, it’s not because you decided one day to dwell on the negative. It’s because your emotional senses have become impaired for whatever reason, possibly a trauma, anxiety disorder, a chemical imbalance.
And if you have a loved one who is depressed, you surely feel their pain. Don’t assume that the answers lie in a simple formula: think positive, get out more, eat right, focus on others, etc. etc. If that were true, the blight of depression would not exist. Try to understand, listen, empathize. Don’t take the emotions they feel personally. Give them a hug! And don’t let them give up hope that the 5 senses of feelings will be restored one day. Once again they will be in that rose garden, seeing the color, smelling the fragrance, and loving life again!
Photo credit @antikleopatra Instagram
Photo credit opening image @garythomas_photograpy