Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Into the shell

The news is absolutely full at the moment with stories about a lost titan.

I've not watched everything he was involved in, not by a long shot. But what I did see of Robin Williams convinced me he's a one of a kind and an absolute gem. I watched as much Mork and Mindy as I could, he was an absolute genius in that.

A truly funny, insane, witty, exciting, sensitive person. But with a dark side.

Depression touches us all, to a lesser or greater degree. It definitely touches me, except when my manic side masks it. It's nearly taken me from this world. I was having a particularly hard time with work (this is last century, the relevant people are no longer in the organisation) and while on the motorway, the thought hit me that it would be so much easier if I tugged the steering wheel all the way left at 70-80mph. That would have been painful and in the car I had, possibly fatal (bit weaker than a modern car). What stopped me was :

My mom may have followed me if I'd done it. I don't think she could have handled another loss.
Knowledge of what something similar does to people. I still have questions there, it's about an incident almost 25 years ago where I don't know where the cause was deliberate, malicious or accidental.

But yeah, I was seriously considering taking the easy way out. (that's the easy way out for me, I'd have been 24 with my only massive problems being bullying at work)

However - it's only easy for one person. For everyone else, it's absolute hell. What if I'd taken someone else with me if I'd tried to crash the car ? I have a repeating vision of me crashing a car with my dad in the passenger seat, it stops before Bad Stuff - but that vision still scares me because I've had similar precognitive visions that have since come true.

Is precognition an actual thing ? It can't be supported by any scientific theory but ... I've had a couple of vision/dream scene that have since happened. Weird.

Anyway - we were talking about depression.

It hits us all in greater or lesser degrees. When it hits, it's utterly crippling. Not just from the feelings of being upset and useless but also due to the negative feedback cycle it traps you in. It's a pit that drags you in deeper.

An example is me with my skin. If I left it alone, I bet it would heal fairly rapidly. However ... I keep attacking it rather more aggressively than I should. When I do, there's a voice inside going "What the hell are you doing ?" Yet I continue to attack and set the healing back. The condition is such that while I think I'd enjoy watching the boys play cricket, I'm not in a position psychologically where I can face watching a game I should be playing in.

The really tragic thing is when we don't recognise the symptoms overwhelming someone. We bear part of the responsibility for them taking that "easy way out" if we do not recognise and act in time. We should not feel sad after the event, we should be helping out before the terrible happens. Depression is treatable, whether that's from :

Medicine - to restore chemical imbalances in the body
Hugs - to convince someone they're loved
Smiles - to say "I'm happy to see you"
Friendly ear - to allow someone to talk through their problems
Kind advice - sometimes this is telling people what they want to hear
Honest advice - telling people what they need to hear
Positive reinforcement - making someone feel valued

A few of those are why I'm happy to continue coming into work, even though I'm struggling desperately with pain at the moment. (It's affecting my concentration - and it's due to those self inflicted wounds). I get smiles from the ladeez and my opinion, knowledge and expertise is valued by my colleagues.

If you can help someone out who is struggling, don't hesitate. I still feel bad about a situation many years ago where we spotted a female colleague disappearing at a great rate of knots into a meeting room in tears. Me and a male colleague looked at a female colleague with pretty much a "help!" look. I think my instincts had decided a lady was the appropriate person to help and that us boys may make matters worse. But I still feel there should have been a "Hi {miss} what's the matter ?"

Always remember though, if someone is sharing their problems with you, then they are trusting you in confidence. Don't betray that confidence, it'll make them feel as if they're the subject of mass gossip which will make their condition much worse as they'll be less likely to ask other people for help.

Ok - I think that's enough of my soul bared for one day !

Quick shout out to the lady who kinda triggered this post from things that appeared on Twitter today. I know when I talk Yogscast, it's usually about the ultra adorable Kim who I would love to meet again. But this time it's about the equally adorable Zoey. Our Zoey also makes great content, I especially enjoyed the Pokemon series, uniquely Zoey, definitely fun. You never quite know where it's going to go next and that's a common theme with what Zoey does, which makes it interesting.

But Zoey also struggles with depression. Big Hugs for Zoey ! While she had an evening on the livestreams last year, the depression is making it too difficult for her to appear on camera. I sincerely hope she manages to conquer that one and give us a smile on camera. There's two reasons :

1 - I'm genuinely curious to know what she looks like. I can usually judge roughly how someone looks from their voice and that voice suggests there's a shy and very pretty smile lurking below twinkling eyes.
But that reason, my curiosity, pales in comparison to :
2 - It would represent a major victory in a battle against a serious condition and hopefully a "I did it once, I can do it again" that will make it easier the next time.

So, Zoey, if you end up reading this, I hope you do conquer your anxiety. But don't feel pressured or rushed, only do it when you're ready. In the meantime, we'll continue to cheer for you and hope that Fiona keeps those hugs coming :-).

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