Hear my silence
I just finished reading a book called ‘Hear my silence’ by Karina Colgan, an Irish journalist who told her story of dealing with depression after being a succesful, strong business person and mother. She shares in the book how all-consuming and gripping depression can be on the life of the individual suffering from depression but also on their immediate friends and family. She gives advice on how to deal with depression from every angle, which I found extremely useful and encouraging.
I wrote a few comments on my facebook page about the book and unleashed a debate. Ironically it proved every point in the book that in Irish society we love to swipe this kind of disease under the carpet. According to statistics as many as 1 in 4 Irish people of all ages, all social backgrounds etc, will suffer from depression in their lifetime.
80% of the depression sufferers do recover and resume a normal lifestyle.
Some of the greatest minds in science, music, arts, writing and politics suffered depression (Edison, Roosevelt, Nixon, Beckett, Van Gogh, etc). I believe the message Karina wrote about is essential for a lot of people to hear about.
Here is a poem from the book that describes the motions of depression (written by Jo A. Witt, USA as printed in the book ‘Hear my silence’ by Karina Colgan, copyright of poem remains with Jo A. Wit):
When I’m hurting
It’s easier for you to walk away, than it is for you to reach out to me.
It’s easier for you to look away, than it is for you to see the depth of my despair.
It’s easier for you to look through me, than it is for you to see ‘me’.
It’s easier for you to distance yourself, than it is for you to really care.
It’s easier for you to hear, than it is for you to listen.
It’s easier for you to judge, than it is for you to understand.
It’s easier for you to label, than it is to get acquainted.
It’s easier for you to bask in your joy, than it is to feel my pain.
It’s easier for you to bewilder at my mysteries, than it is for you to probe deeply into the depths of my soul.It’s easier for me to look away, than it is to let you see the feelings betrayed through my eyes.
It’s easier for me to cry, than it is for me to talk.
It’s easier for me to walk alone, than it is to risk rejection.
It’s easier for me to push you away, than it is for me to be held.
It’s easier for me to distance myself, than it is to trust that you won’t hurt me.
It’s easier for me to die, than it is for me to face life’s challenges.It’s hard for me to smile when I am hurting.
It’s hard for me to talk when you won’t understand.
It’s hard for me to reach out when I need help the most.
If only you’d really look at me and see who I am.
If only you cared enough to reach out when I push you away.
If only you’d hold me, without asking why.
If only you’d acknowledge the validity of my feelings.
But it’s the easy roads that are most often taken.
And so I hurt alone.
Poem by Jo A. Witt, USA
In my view the poem truly describes the various emotions someone goes through in depression and how the world around them reacts. It’s frightening to think that even just understanding and being with the person with a non-judgemental attitude can help them move forward again. It is so simple and yet so often neglected. If there is someone in your circle that is suffering, do them a favour, read this book and give them understanding.