Epilepsy and Depression…

Well, this one is not so much Epilepsy and Depression, more Depression and Depression…please stick with me though….

It occurred to me last night that some people who opened their eyes in the morning, wouldn’t be opening their eyes again. If I was to be one of them, would I be proud of the life I’ve led?

My friends mean the world to me. I’ve led some of them a merry dance and I’ve pushed them away more times than I care to even think about. But, as I’ve talked about before, they come back. No, not all of them, that’s true, but enough of them to reassure me that whatever this life chooses to fling at me and no matter how hard I push them away, they won’t let me fall. My inner-circle never leave. The friends I have in my life make me proud. Each of them has battled a demon or several in their time and each of them has allowed me to draw from their courage, love and support so that I could battle mine. I don’t tell my friends this often enough, but I cherish every single one of you and I’m proud to have you standing by my side and I’m proud to stand at yours.

Being a good friend, a true friend is not easy. Recently, I watched in wonder as a friend pulled another friend back from the brink. I supported from afar and marvelled at her courage, strength and the depth of her soul. Our friend is in the hell that is believing you’re worthless. That friend has one of the gentlest souls I know of and he tears that soul apart with feelings of worthlessness and despair. I wish with all my heart that he could see what I see when I look at him.

I have faith in him that he will be able to fight this battle. I believe in his ability to channel the energy he is currently using to focus on everything negative in his life and point that towards concentrating on the positives. He can not see them at the moment, but I know he will. There is no quick fix with depression. It is an illness like any other. There is no shame in it. Thankfully the stigmas associated with it, as with those attached to epilepsy, are becoming less.

Sometimes, when the depression is bad, the very act of opening your eyes is the hardest part of the day. After all, what’s the point? It takes a person suffering from depression a tremendous amount of strength to open their eyes and get out of bed, or up off the floor. The darkness is a shade of black that is hard to comprehend and there is such a desire too for the suffering just to end. For every person who has felt that level of despair, there are those who just cannot understand how hard it can be to function. We’re not talking a case of the blues here or feeling sorry for yourself. This isn’t a bad day, it’s an illness. Would you tell a person suffering from meningitis just to pull themselves together? Of course not.

There are many different reasons why a person may not be opening their eyes tomorrow. But for those of us who do physically open our eyes tomorrow, perhaps we should make the effort to metaphorically open them too. My friend is in so much pain at the moment and all his friends want to do is help him find a way through the despair. He is not alone in this battle. We can not fight it for him, but we sure as hell will fight it with him.

Am I proud of the life I’ve lived so far? Hmm. I’m enormously proud of the friendship choices I’ve made. I’m enormously proud that I’ve seen as much of the world as I have. I’ve made some pretty dodgy decisions in my life, it’s added to the colour but I’m not overly proud of some of the things I’ve done or said. On the whole I’m proud, but if this is to be an appraisal, then there are quite a few “could try harder” footnotes. When I open my eyes tomorrow, I’m going to make a conscious effort to really look at what’s going on around me and listen to what’s being said. Not listen so that I can just answer, but listen so that I can comprehend. I want to show the kind of compassion, companionship, love and belonging that my friends show to me.

When the day comes when I don’t open my eyes, I want to be able to answer the question “are you proud of what you’ve left behind?” with a firm “Hell yeah!”.

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