Beautiful weather here today. Soft autumnal breeze, lots of sun, and warm enough to go jacketless. A perfect fall day, actually. At work, I tested my first truly blind client. What? Well, even legally blind folks might pick up fragments of light and movement somewhere in their visual field under certain circumstances. This dear soul, however, has no acuity in one eye at all, as we found out today. The other eye is not great, but allows for limited vision. That seeing eye has adapted. The body, however, continues to be ravaged by the diabetes that is gradually erasing sight.
Often, I have compared attitudes about, and responses to, depression with diabetes. People diagnosed with it, accept the latter disease, take their insulin and watch for symptoms of wonky sugar levels. They sigh resignedly when told their lives are likely to be cut short, their limbs weakened sooner than normal, their eyesight challenged, etc. They accept the prognosis, get their prescription, and go about their day. They do not hide. They are not ashamed. Even if they’ve abused themselves and were told this end was possible, they bear little or no responsibility. And this is acceptable.
Why is depression so different? Here’s a question for you: If you had your druthers, would you make yourself ill? I’m going out on a limb with the answer, NO. So why is a mentally ill person stigmatized and shunned?
Nobody sneaks around when they’re sick. Uh uh. They discuss their symptoms on Facebook then get their arse to a doctor, or the hospital. Depressives seldom speak. Sad but too true.
Part of the problem is our reluctance to seek professional advice. It suggests some kind of failure. I still feel that way, but know without doubt that I’d be long gone if I’d not sought a doctor’s help. Here’s a thought. Like most illnesses, let’s get folks to the experts first, and then, let those people make a diagnosis. Once a problem is discovered, a solution can be determined.
Studies prove that radical changes in diet, weight-loss, increased exercise and adequate rest with relaxation, bring better balance to the diabetics’ sugar levels. If these adjustments don’t reverse the disease, changes in lifestyle certainly slow the degenerative effects. Given help, our bodies can adjust, shift, and adapt, get well, or at least, better. But it means making real change.
Similarly, depressives can alter their long term. Like our bodies, our minds are magically able to adapt, but we need help, guidance, and support to do the work. Sound like most illnesses? Yep.
My wish tonight is for appreciation. Let’s remind ourselves about the blessings we do have. Let’s list the good things only. What are you grateful for in this moment? It’s easy to find tragedies, and sorrows. They are a part of all our lives, too. But let’s get back to the joys, and send love, and light to those suffering. Maybe our prayer will enable them to share in the appreciation of a beautiful fall day.