Depression – another elephant in the room

I suppose if one were to revisit my blog posts over the past year I would need a pretty big room to accommodate all those elephants, but I want to talk about another one now as it applies to my own journey and I reckon also to some of those who may be reading this.

A couple of days ago, an old friend (who “gets it”) posted a meme on her Facebook page, which I “shared” on mine, that in my opinion encapsulates many of the issues facing people who have issues with mental health. Like all memes it did not tell the whole story and there were bones of contention (as evidenced by the comments that followed) but for me it summed up how I have felt in the past and some of what some who I know are going through now, recognizing everyone is different and this is a complex subject.

As some know, I began my career as a full time community activist in the early 2000’s and what got me going was my involvement in an organization called Trust Links (which is still going) and its Growing Together project, which was all about helping members of the community who were experiencing mental health issues. It seemed to us at the time that this was a huge area with many gaps when it came to meeting otherwise unmet needs, and we could make a difference. Not that there was a simple formula that addresses every need and mindful of a perplexing array of assorted ways to help people, but at least we could do something, and we did. One was a simple case of getting people to talk about the “elephant in the room” or as I described it in my book “Spirituality and Mental Health” how even when feeling trapped in a dark tunnel one can get out of it into the light at the end. Part of the “trick” is recognizing this is an “our” problem and sometimes joining the dots or bringing together various members of the community as well as the supposed experts there is help and a quality of life to have.

Talking about memes, concerning the one above, posted by another friend who “gets it” following the meme I had posted earlier, this if nothing else encapsulates many facets concerning depression. I realize having got that off my chest I can go down all sorts of rabbit holes articulating what I think. As for what I have done, I talk about some of this in my book “Outside the Camp”. A main area of interest these days is homelessness and many of the issues I dealt with all those years ago still apply. While spirituality is not my main angle when as I deal with people of all faiths and none, it is something that especially interests me. I see the church, and by that I mean the community of those who seek to follow Christ, having a major part to play (which is why back in the day Trust Links was set up by those inspired to do so by their Christian faith). I am heartened that many of the greatest saints down the ages had mental health problems, especially depression, but they kept going, and there is much in the Bible that throws light on the subject.

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