My Dad has been feeling a bit down about having cancer. He actually used the word depressed. That in itself is a bit of a breakthrough because for years and years he has avoided even mentioning the word – particularly when it applies to me.
I am pleased he said it because I do believe that facing depression, calling it what it is, is the best way to start tackling it.
There are many peculiarities I have found about depression but one of them is that I find it very hard when people I know and love are depressed. It is hard when someone goes through something you have gone through or are going through because you know what it’s like, you know how bad it can get and you just don’t want them to have to go through it.
However, yet another peculiarity about depression is that when you have experienced it yourself you are able to talk about it freely with other sufferers.
My Dad and I have talked for days. About fear. What we are afraid of. What we don’t want to happen. What we would do if what we didn’t want to happen, happened.
You might think it would be frightening to talk about your greatest fears. It is confronting but it is not necessarily frightening and there is an odd kind of comfort in knowing that deep down many of us fear the same things.
Not being good enough.
Being in pain.
Letting people down.
Running out of time.
Not sure what our purpose is.
There are many more. Tormenting us at three in the morning. But if depression has taught me anything it is that talking about things helps. Really. A lot. And the talking often means that the light in the room eventually comes back on again.
It is understandable that my Dad should be depressed, should even be afraid, but if I have anything to do with it he will face it and talk it out and talk it out some more. Until the fear is gone.