Why don’t you just do something?
“why don’t you just x?”
I hear a lot of that. For many it’s a default response and I suspect in many cases it’s born out of a well meaning frustration.
Believe it or not there was a time when I wasn’t in the thrall of the malignant sadness and I knew others who were.
Despite having experienced the lick of the black dog myself I acted in much the same way people have to me. Told them they had to leave the house, had to stop hiding away and face things and asked them why they didn’t just do x?
You see one of the great tragedies of being well is that sometimes you can forget the lessons learnt inhabiting the lonely and painful shell of depression. As a psychiatrist once said to me she heard a musician talking about depression. In the throes of his illness he wanted to cut off his own hand but now better looking back he just wanted to grab people he saw with the illness shake them and tell them to do x.
He had lost the link to the experience and the understanding. He had lost the understanding that when you can’t even get out of bed, when leaving the house is a gargantuan endeavour that being told you should do x or being asked why don’t you do x is no better than a shiv.
Worse a shiv wielded by a visitor to your lonely cell who should bring some form of comfort. But brings only a reminder of the pathetic shadow that sits doing its best to imitate who you once were.
People with depression don’t need advice, they don’t need to be told to do things.
As shocking as it may seem they probably already know.
They just can’t.
It may seem like they are just picking a scab that will never heal. But it’s support that’s needed not advice.