Being a depressed person usually means that there are family, friends, colleagues and relatives that live around you. They too have to live with the illness. The way they experience your illness can be incredibly varied or unexpected. I think that there are certain types and here I shall list a few. Those suffering with:
a) Denial - Life for them goes on as normal. They see that you look ok, so they choose to believe that you are ok. They have a naive confidence that it'll just go away if you ignore it for long enough. Frustrating for everyone involved. Also, this causes a sense of confusion for the depressed person as they wonder if they are truly invisible.
b) Embarrassment - If you hold a personal opinion about depression that involves thinking all it takes to recover is self will and determination, people think you are just a lazy, difficult and self piteous moron. They are embarrassed by your sickness. These people tend to think they'll catch it from you if they stand too close.They also tend to think that mentally ill people aren't something to do with their life - it happens to "Other" people; people who deserve it; poor people.
c) Competitors - This is the group that tell you that they are much sicker than you, and do psychosis one upmanship. They talk at you and don't listen with empathy. These offenders can trigger feelings of resentment and feel that their own experience is belittled and not important. Its incredibly dismissive and you then have to avoid them.
d) Voyeuristic - These people like to vicariously peep into your head and find out the nitty gritty of your mental ill health. They parade as genuinely interested people but then you realise it's tickling some kind of weird fantasy for them. These are the people that then go off and talk about you as their token mental health accessory. You know, whilst chatting at a party "My psycho friend says...".
e) Non-believers - This is a scary group of people who think that depression isn't real. They tell you what you are doing wrong in your life. They are the ones that insist that medication is poison, and you are just not trying hard enough. They tell you misery is optional, and you should just try harder to be happy. Its all your fault. These are the people I want to savage with sarcasm or punch in the chops.Do you tell tell people with asthma or diabetes that they are making up? Just try breathing a little less erratically my love. I think not.
Thankfully, amongst the crowd of unhelpful idiots, lay the loving friends and family who try to help and support you. They genuinely care about your recovery and want to learn what depression is all about. They are usually concerned and confused. Their loved one seems to have taken a personality sabbatical, and some odd and very melancholy spirit seems to have taken over. Its baffling and shocking. It's incredibly difficult to accept as your loved one is no longer the person you knew. They are a shell of their former self and nothing seems to help very much. If the depression goes on for a long time it can seriously damage a relationship if handled without due care and attention. If your loved one is now demotivated, fatigued, slightly more chubby than they were, tearful and reactive, lacking in positivity and depressed constantly, they are not great company. People do decide to give up, unless there is a good reason to wait it out. Like having children, a genuine commitment to the relationship and a desire to seek solutions for both the depressed person and their loved one.Or stupidity....
It is almost like an overwhelming grief that both parties are unceremoniously plunged into. You either have to paddle like mad and keep paddling, or, succumb to the demons and everything goes to hell.You have to find a way through the unpredictable maze that has been forced upon you. If you don't you can both get lost in anger and self pity which places a rather nasty wedge between you. The real journey begins when you start to get the right help.