Misunderstood

Questions

I have a confession. I believe my friend suffers from depression but I have just been watching over and watching by this friend. I don’t really know what to do.

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To be misunderstood is one of the most frustrating dilemnas you can face. It happens all the time, but it’s never one person’s fault. To be misunderstood is partly the fault of the misunderstood and also that of the misunderstander. Yes, I just made up that word for blog’s sake. Both parties are at fault, but not equally.

I’m not talking about cultural or social faux pas or selfishness or losses in translation. I mean, misunderstanding between friends.

I have a friend who has been hiding a lot of secrets for a very long time, and they are not pleasant ones to reveal in the first place, and so this friend chooses to hide most everything about daily life. From just about everyone this friend remains distant for long periods of time because it’s just easier that way, less questions. This friend also fights a disease that seems impossible to beat. So sometimes when this friend does or says something that could easily be misunderstood by one or more people in our circle of friends, I wish more would take a pause to just imagine that it’s not all about them. Perhaps this friend has a lot of secrets behind a number of different closed doors. With so many doors needing to be opened, this friend retreats and gets lonely and then reckless.

Depression is a twenty-four hour battle for nobody, but the misunderstood. Whether friend or family, depression does not discriminate on whom to fall upon. American or Korean or Belgian, or her or him, depression is an invisible but potent disease that poisons life.

I write about this today, not to be a Monday downer but because I just learned of a hurtful and public confrontation between two friends over the weekend. And I know that both friends love each other, and both have issues to work through like we all do. But one of the friends is this friend I spoke of, above. This friend behaves in most every way listed on pamphlets “describing” depression.

When I was younger, I did not know enough. As an adult, having the world wide web of information combined with life experiences as a friend or lover or daughter to those suffering from depression, I know more now. But nobody knows everything. And not everyone recognizes when people close are suffering from depression. Denial or far-sightedness or whatever the reason some people never see it.

But it’s just always a case of unanswered questions and far too long silences and ultimately, some hurtful and public confrontations here and there. And the cycle of vicious emotions in the circle of friends or family spins on.

How often does someone just stick their foot out and stop the cycle from spinning? Not often enough. And battling depression requires many different feet at one time, and feet do get tired. I wish there was a button you could press to just start over. Until then, it’s a daily battle for some.

But just taking that pause and considering the person in front of you may be going through something you don’t know about, can and does stop a lot of unnecessary hurt.

Always dishing,

Jun

11 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    You are correct in everything you say here.

    I sure wish people knew how to better deal with those suffering from depression. Even just little things, that mean absolutely nothing to one person, can crush another person’s spirit and make them even more depressed than they were when their day began.

    Sadly, I don’t see this ever happening. And it’s sad.

    Reply
  2. Hammy

    Depression, along with other invisable diseases, often lead to great isolation. Mainly due to the misconceptions and assumptions others make.

    Be kind to each other, you may not truly know another’s struggles

    Reply
  3. Oh Jun you have a great feel on this huge problem. It is SOO tiring for everyone. I did not know I was clinically depressed for years. Just obsessed on how I was terrible because I could not cope like normal people. Our society does not want to help others because we all should be able to cope with everything. My siblings thought I was just lazy. My sister finally figured it out & got me help. I am & will always have this. I could not be the Mom I wanted which is heartbreaking.

    Got sick again this past year. My brain would NOT let up about how worthless I am. I told my son about my thoughts of suicide so I had to do something.

    Saw the Dr. the next week. She put me on a new medacine & it turned off the obsessing. I am doing so much better & am still amazed by what the med does.

    It will always be tough &tiring but I am out of the pit. Medacine can work wonders. Friends who take time to see a problem & not jump to conclutions are priceless because they can help you see you are not as bad as you think.

    You are amazing seeing this in your friend

    Reply
    1. Jun Song Author

      Being out of the pit is a huge step. I’m so grateful you chose to share some of your life, it’s difficult find people who share so willingly. Telling your son what’s going on must have been a tough decision. But I’m sure some of his questions were answered through your honesty 🙂

      Reply
  4. Oh Jun, if only other “non-depressed” people could be as sensitive as you are. The fact that you even recognize/consider/acknowledge that your friend is/may be battling with a debilitating condition, and are willing to cut her a bit of slack because of that, puts you in a very small minority of the general public.

    And it IS very hard to know the “right” thing to say to a depressed person because what might be comforting to one person might be annoying/patronizing/trite to another. The fact is, often nobody can stop the spiral of despair, and so it’s just a matter of trying to ease the person’s discomfort and offering periodic reassurance that you care about them while they try to ride it out.

    For me, I know I can be overly sensitive/resentful when people say things like “Things will get better” or “It will all work out,” because they sound so trite and ring so false when I’m in the depths; they magnify the feeling of being misunderstood and utterly alone. But I can appreciate and accept practical and simple signs of caring that don’t require me being social, like offering me something to eat when it’s obvious I’m struggling with self care, including eating. Everyone’s different. But your friend is lucky to have someone as sensitive as you to even consider how to approach them.

    Reply
  5. GKL1961

    As one who have battled my demons (depression) many times since childhood due to my disabilities and not being able to do the same thing other kids did. This made me feel worthless for years. It became worse in High School, College etc. Finally a Dr saw the signs and put me on antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds. It was the like a light bulb turned on. I saw things differently and knew I was ok with who I was and became. Thank you for your kindness.

    Reply
  6. Jolisa

    Depression can control your life and those you live with. In my family’s case it can be ovecome. I’ve been battling an unknow illness with my mother for several years. Finally, last August the righ test was run. Mom has stage 4 lung cancer which has moved to her bone. You always aksed, what stage right. The prognosis was 4 to 8 moths. We had been battling docs for a title to what was happending to mom and we finally got it. She was dying. DEEP DEEP Depresion set it. I had to see me a doc to find out what I could do to cope with all of the grief in my life. The antianxiety pills proscribed help me get though the worst days of my life. Mom passed at our home on Jan 8. All her ruequest were met. The treatment I sought and the love of certainly family and friend are helping deal with our family’s grief.

    Reply

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