Something I have come to realise after my 38 years on this planet is that we need to be selective with who we allow into our lives and then who we give permission to remain there.
A few years back I met a girl through a mutual friend who I had a lot in common with. We both liked to rollerblade, so would plot a course and off we’d go. Flying along footpaths and quiet streets, sometimes copping a serve from bossy bike riders, but nothing stopped us. We also enjoyed bushwalking and would try to find new scenic spots to explore. Life was great.
Then my mate told me she had suffered from depression in the past and thought things were heading that way again. I didn’t know what to do so I just listened. I spent a lot of time on the other end of the phone hearing how terrible my friend’s life was. But I also couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that she was living at home with her parents so they could support her while she did a university course. That meant no rent, electricity or food costs so what on earth was she depressed about?
Every time I saw her or just spoke to her on the phone (sometimes for hours) I would feel completely drained and like I needed a long nap. I did try giving her advice, I talked to her about the importance of affirmations, of giving gratitude, of getting out and exercising (yoga is a good one), she pretty much ignored what I said and sunk deeper and deeper into depression. It was like she just wanted to unload. She and her then partner started taking medication, but that just turned her into a zombie.
In the end I stopped taking her calls, I decided enough was enough. I couldn’t stand this whole ‘victim mentality’ any more. I understand that hormone imbalances can cause us to act differently. My dad battled this very illness in his 30’s and with some short term help from medication, pulled himself out of it. He talked to me about it to make me aware, and sure I get down from time to time too, but I deal with major upsets as they arise. It comes down to “maintenance”, do the work now and reap the benefits later. We all need an outlet, something to pour the anger, aggression, sadness, hopelessness, irritation or frustration into. Ultimately though it is up to us, as individuals to maintain our own wellbeing, it is no one else’s responsibility.