Last night I had an awful dream. I was working with a team of people in an office. My job seemed to be quite easy while the others busied themselves at their various desks, I was assigned the task of delivering supplies from floor to floor in a large building. As time went on I could feel myself become more and more depressed. For those of you who have read other entries of my blog, you may have read me describe my depression as a sinking feeling. Well that's what was happening in the dream. I was sinking.
By the time I arrived at my mother's floor I was as emotionally as low as I could get. For some reason, I was also half naked. She kept berating me for being sad for no reason. This is a common song sang by people who have never experienced this feeling. Depression is not necessarily sadness over something. It is more a heavy that happens over you that is hard to come out of. Anyway, my mother kept telling me about how foolish I was acting and that I needed to get my act together. I kept trying to tell her that it was more than me snapping out of it. I kept telling her about the flood of suicidal thoughts and I cried out for help in every way I could. Finally, she looked me in the face as she held a stack of folders in her arm and said, "Well then, if you're going to kill yourself, then do it." I turned and walked away like I was walking into a dare I didn't want to win.
When I woke up this morning I knew that the woman in the dream was not my mother because thankfully I do have a mother that would have been more sympathetic than that. I think the point of my mother being my nemesis was to experience what it is like in many households when someone cries out for help with mental illness or support in other ways when pain is present but no visual signs of injury are seen and the cries go ignored, or worse, punished. My heart goes out to people who have to keep their pain to themselves in the name of protecting family secrets.
Perhaps you are a family member or friend who wants to help but have become frustrated with not knowing what to do. Sometimes, the only thing your loved one may want is for you to do is to be there. To listen. Don't fix. Don't preach. Be there. Be family. Be friend. Listen.