A dear friend I’ve known for YEARS (who shall be known as Dude from this sentence forward) lives with severe depression. His
depression is not situational, seasonal, or any of the other common types, but due instead to the fact that his brain is incapable of producing “happy juice.” So yes, this has been a life-long struggle for him.
Last week Dude entered the hospital. This was not his first go ‘round with the guest accommodations and more-than-likely won’t be his last. Bodies do grow accustomed to various and sundry meds and then the Hopelessness Beastie rears its ugly-ass head.
Dude knows when these things are beginning to occur, because that’s when he begins to lose hope. After all, it’s one thing to know you’ll never feel “happy” like most people. That “happiness” is truly a choice you make and not an emotion you feel. But hope is another thing altogether.
Dude knows that Hope has become his life-line, more necessary even than COFFEE. (And that says a LOT folks!) When he wakes up and Hope has called in sick for the day (or week), then there is trouble brewing in a BIG way!
I am going to be honest here. I cannot even imagine what life would be like with this type of chemical imbalance. They call it
Bipolar Depressionto separate it from other types of depression. This world is so far removed from most of our experiences…but it’s the world Dude lives in.
What I do know is every time I’ve seen him, he’s been smiling and laughing. He works hard to make that choice. This is one of the reasons I care so deeply for him.
So, getting back to my story. Dude knew it was time for another visit, since he felt he had no hope in his life. But I believe he was slightly wrong here. Why? Because he made the choice to return to the hospital and ask for the help he needed. To me, that seems like a decision made out of Hope.
If you’ve been around a bit, then you know I also live with my own chemical imbalance. It’s nowhere near as severe as Dude‘s, but it’s still my constant companion, waiting for an opening so it can step in and take the wheel for a bit. Some days it’s harder work than others to keep control of my own destination. But for those of us with mental glitches, it’s just what we do.
Yesterday Dude came home. Meds have been adjusted and another crisis situation is being averted. Why? Because he had HOPE. Because he had enough hope to reach out to those he loved and trusted and ask for help! And that my friends, truly is the epitome of Hope and beauty!
In honor of Dude’s return, I reworked the original knot work piece and added a message, “HOPE will define my life!”
I did stick it on a T-shirt, (but my e-mail tells me it won’t show up until tomorrow. So I’m thinking the whole “impulse buy” is out.) I did this because there are too many folks out there living with too many different body and mind beasties to count. Sometimes, reminders are good things.
I've also written about depression, anxiety, and bipolar before in
Underground Fight Club Welcome To The Funhouse and Night People.
This week is
Mental Illness Awareness Week. If you or someone you know needs help…if they’re having trouble remembering exactly where it was they left their Hope, please reach out and ask for help. This world would be a much sadder place without you peoples in it. Please remember that! And I promise you this, I’ll hold on to a tonage of extra Hope for you until you can find yours.
And welcome home, Dude!