I have recently been reading All Blacks Don’t Cry, a book of Hope by John Kirwan, an ex All Black (and current coach of the Auckland Blues Rugby Team) about his battle with depression. My Bobba brought this for us – him and me, because we are both sufferers of depression.
This is an awesome book. I have enjoyed reading it and how he has coped with his depression – which he refers to as an illness, because it is.
While he was afraid of failure and not living up to expectations, he is adamant in the fact that everyone suffers from depression in different ways. I agree with him, because I wasn’t afraid or had fears, I just couldn’t cope with day to day life.
There are some areas of the book I have underlined, because it is important for me to see that this is where I have come from. There are a lot of comments from his family and friends which are rather poignant –
Joe Stanley said “… but I didn’t see the depression coming. It
surprised the hell out of me.”
Other comments included:
“He seemed so confident…” John Hart
“… he appeared as someone who was full of confidence…” – Sean Fitzpatrick
I can relate to these, because often people said to me (and still do), I didn’t realise you were suffering from depression, you seemed so… normal. The reason for this is you have to act normal, or people wonder what the hell is wrong with you. You don’t even know what is wrong with you, so how can anyone else be able to work it out.
John Kirwan puts it nicely:
“Appearance and reality can be very different.”
He also says:
“Before being diagnosed by a doctor, you may have felt like you were going mad, that you didn’t even know yourself any more and that there was something very wrong with you as a person.”
Boy, did I feel like this. And while I was recovering, I still felt like this. At my worst, I felt like my brain was running a million miles an hour, and I couldn’t stop it to figure out what my brain was trying to process. I couldn’t sleep at night because my brain was still trying to process information. It was like sitting down in front of the TV and watching everything in extreme fast forward. John Kirwan also speaks about this and how he couldn’t stop it.
John Kirwan also suffered from negative thoughts:
“Negative thoughts get into your mind and grow out of all proportion, and before you know it, you’re responding to your thoughts as if they were real.”
While I didn’t have negative thoughts, my thoughts were turning against me, and you reach a point where the negative is all you can focus on.
Fortunately my Mum, having been through it with my beloved Bobba that
she was able to recommend I go and see the doctor, and she visited with me, and I am pleased she did. She was able to explain to my doctor things that I weren’t able to. My doctor was able to confirm that it was depression and immediately put me on antidepressants. (I do have to point out, that I had been to my doctor a year before hand, and we had agreed that I would try alternative methods, like Vitamin D, St John’s Wort, healthy eating and plenty of exercise. It was only after this didn’t work that she put me on the antidepressants, so don’t think that she did this as a first option.) My depression is part of a chemical imbalance in my brain, so I actually do need to be on antidepressants. Hopefully not forever, but we will take each season as they come.
As he states repeatedly throughout the book, everyone suffers from it differently, so don’t think for one moment that my symptoms would be the same as yours. Or John’s, or your next door neighbours. Everyone handles it differently.
But there is a solution. No matter how bad it is, there is an answer. Go to your doctor and talk to them about it. There are lots of different options out there, not just antidepressants. You could get prescribed Vitamin B tablets to help ease anxiety, you could do more exercise, spend more time in the sun, get more healthily, go to counselling. There is no hard and fast rule that says you have to do anything. If your Doctor is worth his / her salt, they will make recommendations in consultation with you.
That is my only plea, that you reach out and accept help, because suicide is not the answer. You leave behind so much grief and anger.