Depression

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The other day I wrote about drowning. I wrote that because I know a lot of people who don’t know what it looks like to see someone drowning. Today it is about depression, using drowning to explain it a little.

In Australia, we have/had a show called “Bondi Rescue” which points out some things about beach rescues but you never get a great shot of the person in distress. I think a few other countries have a similar show. Surf lifesavers or lifeguards, pulling people from rips and out harms way. Performing CPR when needed and helping with injuries – often from surfboards.

Up close what does it look like to see someone drowning? As kids, we are told if we are struggling wave our hand and if you can call out. Very, very rarely will someone who is actually drowning be able to do either. There is no energy to raise arms.

Every ounce of energy is focussed on swimming, trying to keep your body at some level in the water where you can get air. Even if it is intermittently. There isn’t the time nor thought spare available to become a wacky waving inflatable arm man and call for help.

If you are stuck in a rip and realise that right at the start – you may have the energy to signal for help. If you think of that before you struggle against it. And that is a great tool to get help, when you know in advance that you might be on the verge of drowning, like 5, 10 minutes from now. But right now, you are fine.

So, drowning if very quiet. Parents, take note. Your child may slip quietly into the pool, no splash, and without any warning die. Pools are dangerous, even if everyone is a fantastic swimmer.

Drowning

Drowning is a quiet, terrifying death. Don’t ever think to yourself that a pool is safe because you would “hear” your kid fall in from every room in the house. Or you will be able to hear them if they are struggling in the pool. You won’t.

They won’t have the breath, energy or time to call for help. You have to watch. Be there, if you need to run inside, take them with you. Let them hate you for it, it is just a couple of minutes and that beats hating yourself for the rest of your life when you return to their limp lifeless body floating in the pool.

But it is also about depression. I have had friends commit suicide, successfully. Others tried and thankfully didn’t succeed. There are some who cut themselves to feel alive in a world that only brings pain and more who struggle with the demons in their mind.

It doesn’t matter how or why they got there, I can’t see them. I can’t see the struggle. If I look across a room full of people I couldn’t possibly point out everyone that needed saving. Well, I could – I could just point at everyone, everyone is struggling, we all need saving.

The point is though, in this world, there are so many ways to tear each other down. Social media and the connectedness afforded by the internet and technology make it easy to attack someone. That attack comes off the back of your own struggles and experience, not the person being attacked. Some people are ‘asking for it’ and so they deserve what they get. Not really though.

Depression, drowning in your own mind

Currently, I get to be witness to some family and friends whose minds are imploding under the pressure. Their bodies, life, emotional, mental and physical health are all changing because of their struggle with these demons. I know of some but not all.

I don’t know the feeling, I can’t fully comprehend how they feel or the way they think. It brings me no joy to watch and hear all efforts to participate in this life fade away as the demons take over. Convince them that they are worthless, that society is rotten, broken, against them.

There is no fun to know that every effort you go to, will fall on deaf ears. Much like if someone stood beside the pool and told me to stand up. I wouldn’t be able to stand up until my brain had gone through the process of realising I had legs and they could push me from the bottom and I could be out of the water.

I was in so deep, water morphing the sounds, that I couldn’t hear anything other than my thoughts, my body, my heartbeat. No one had any chance of interfering with my thought process at that time. Either I was going to work it out or I wasn’t.

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Depression is like drowning when everyone can see you but they can’t tell the different between you needing help the rest of the crowd who are swimming.

My attempts to help fall on deaf ears, not because they don’t want help but their brains cannot hear me over the noise. The noise of their own thoughts, the demons. Any new idea I have that could possibly make things better, no matter how great, can’t be adopted. There is no energy left.

Depression is a silent killer

They are drowning, a mental struggle is shutting everything down. Help isn’t on its way. My help doesn’t help and I can’t understand the struggle. I can understand they are struggling, as I did in the water. Unseen, unheard but desperate for help but I can’t understand. Not fully.

There is frustration when you don’t understand. All they want is for someone to understand. Like how I want you to understand how horrible drowning is and don’t ever think it is a peaceful way to die. They just want someone to understand. Not to understand that they are struggling, to understand the struggle. It is eating them alive. It is their body forcing them to breathe after holding their breath in icy cold water for too long. If they can’t find something

If you need help, please don’t suffer in silence. You can go to the Black Dog Institute website, or call or visit lifeline. Your GP will also try and help.

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