Mind the Track…

This week (week 32) I wanted to cover a difficult subject, depression.   Following congestion on the underground due to a person under a train on the Victoria Line this week, I got thinking, why would someone do that?  The only two reasons I could come up with were, that it was an unfortunate accident or that it was intentional.

Which got me thinking about why someone would take their own life.  Wasn’t it avoidable? Where were the person’s family and friends?  What was so bad that their life was a worthy price to pay for the pain or trauma they were feeling, without seeking help?  Probably all the questions their nearest and dearest ask after such a tragedy.

I have had the horrible experience of having a good friend of mine meet his end prematurely due to being hit by a train in a tragic lack of judgement, a drunken accident if you will.  The impact of a life being extinguished prematurely in such a way ripples right through a community of friends (past and present), family, work colleagues, other parties; banks, mortgage providers, council tax, utilities, I could go on but the immense network of events triggered by the loss of just one life is huge.  It sets in motion a series of consequential actions, which can be very far-reaching with varying degrees of impact.

So to turn to those who feel that they have no other option but to take their own life.  Depression is a very dark and lonely place, where normal levels of perspective is distorted.  People who suffer from depression can on a daily basis ‘seem’ very upbeat and positive, and that’s possibly why sometimes the condition can remain concealed.  The mind is a complex area so I don’t want to appear to be generalising and am clearly no expert, but I wanted to provide some food for thought from the examples I have personally witnessed.

I think, in some cases, people who are depressed have not recognised what they are going through and fight against the feelings of loneliness, anxiety and hopelessness, as they cannot comprehend why they would have these feelings as their lives in general will be ok.   Depression is a condition that spirals downwards but can fluctuate rapidly upwards and downwards, it can be a rollercoaster of positivity and negativity even within the same moment.  Without the right level of support from the right people a person could go from ‘Hero to Zero’ to coin a phase some times very quickly.

It is usually accumulative, so to start it is triggered by a specific situation, maybe an argument, negative feedback, high expectations, bereavement to name a few.  The initial trigger is unlikely to be recognised as the start of depression, however, if other triggers happen in succession all of a sudden a state of depression is entered into.

Many people at the start of their depression become withdrawn, which is interesting as they will already have feelings of isolation and loneliness (no-one understands me) so by withdrawing they put themselves in exactly the situation which they feel and reinforces these feelings and this is how things start to spiral downwards.

Good supportive friends and family will force their loved one to go out and be included in activities, which then reverses any feelings of loneliness even if only temporarily it could reverse the depressive downward spiral.  It also opens the door to share what’s on their mind, talking is key to recovery – a problem shared is truly a problem halved.  I am not suggesting the issues faced are small and inconsequential far from it but to share a problem, sometimes saying it out loud can put a different perspective on the issue faced.

Those at risk are those who do not have this support network or those who feel they can cope and go down the road of concealment, which can be very self-destructive and I would urge against this course of action.  For those without support please contact a charity, such as the Samaritans, who are qualified to offer such support, there is always someone you can talk to.

My conclusion for this week is that I need to be supportive of friends and family and be aware that just because someone is wearing a smile on their face it doesn’t mean that everything is smelling of roses.

Until next week have a good one and if you are feeling a bit down, please speak to someone about it!


2 Responses to “Mind the Track…”

  1. Matthew Chiglinsky Says:

    Friends and family? Sometimes friends and family are what make a person depressed. Being alone can be very peaceful, but acquaintances are pretty awesome. (They never get close enough to hurt you.)

    I think people who are depressed simply lack that base survival instinct, that will to challenge themselves (that will to live). On rare occasions when I’ve felt depressed and unmotivated, if I sit still for long enough eventually a fire will begin burning somewhere deep in my soul, and I’ll feel compelled to get up and do something. I think depressed people lack that fire, and apparently they even lack the spark that gets it going again when the cold wind puts it out.

    Personally, the adventure is what keeps me going. I want to find out what’s going to happen next. If you kill yourself, it’s like leaving a movie before it’s over.

  2. Hi from Maggie
    Good article and well written too.
    You are right in what you say – London is not always a very friendly place – that is why I am very glad to have met you and pleased that we have become really good friends. It is always good to talk over problems – a problem shared is a problem halved.
    Look forward to seeing you sometime soon.
    Enjoy the hols and have some fun days out.

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