Those of you who have suffered with depression in the past, who are dealing with it now, must admit something that is very clear: you people can be very manipulative. It’s as though you treat those around you who seek to help as if they were balloons – you suck the air right out of us until we have nothing left to give.
Don’t get me wrong, I fully understand that depression is a serious matter. I don’t blame you for draining my enthusiasm; after all, it was my decision to be involved, to offer help. I am the owner of my own kamma. But the refusal to see how one’s own distorted thinking feeds and nurtures one’s depression, and that this distorted thinking is often deliberate, absolutely astounds me. Finding the right mix of being blunt and supportive is difficult. Yet to abandon someone suffering a mental health issue is precisely what the illness desires. If we think of depression like a parasite that has latched onto a vulnerable host, it wants others to abandon the host, to give up on the host. So the depression feeds the mind with distorted logic to confuse, frustrate and even anger anyone who tries to help.
I don’t think there is a clearer example of the First and Second Noble Truths than a person with depression. Maybe I don’t get it. Maybe I’m not showing compassion or empathy. Maybe I need to work a little more on my loving kindness.
I showed my friend how to chant the Daimoku and that has helped. He feels some relief with that. However, it’s difficult to ensure he is really doing it. OK, we haven’t met face-to-face. Our communication has strictly been by email, text message and phone. While I think his depressive thinking had been developing for a while, it only recently became acutely severe because of a harsh breakup he went through with another man. While I want to help, offer support and even love, I am worried that a personal meeting with this man would just lead to him latching onto me as a new boyfriend. He is very cute and admittedly, my initial attraction to this young man was based pretty much on his appearance. So already, I cannot trust my intentions. And yet, I am afraid that it is too late for me to walk away without making matters worse. I have reason to believe he has already made one attempt on his life; the gesture was really quite superficial. He also admits that he is afraid of dying, that he doesn’t want to die.
I Am a Rock
So what to do? I ask you, my readers. If you’ve ever suffered with depression, or if someone close to you ever suffered with depression, your insight would be very helpful. Maybe all I need is patience and to work on my compassion and loving kindness. But knowing how to communicate with such a person without falling for their manipulative traps would be very helpful right now.