Inspired by a Song
My title for this weeks post is from a song by Casting Crowns. It’s a particular favourite of mine and one that seems to crop up on my music player whenever I’m not doing so well. (Look out for our up coming podcast about music and how it supports both Alex and I)
In the chorus, there’s a particular line that stands out for me.
‘Maybe you and I were never meant to be complete, can we just be broken together?’
Now the song itself is surrounding a marriage in trouble. But this line particularly makes me think about who we have that supports us when we’re suffering. Can the broken support each other?
We Bend, We Do Not Break
Now this is a statement someone used to say to me a lot, usually when I’d gone to pieces. The implication was always that breaking down completely just wasn’t an option for me. As I sit in my editor’s corner (I literally have one now, and very comfy it is too!) putting together my recommendations from the blog, I find I agree, sometimes we do bend, but sometimes the break is also necessary. You have to hit rock bottom to find your way back up.
For me, I would find the way back up much harder without the support of my friends and family. I am someone who finds it incredibly difficult to say when I’m struggling. I’m lucky, one friend of mine is brilliant at spotting the signs that I’m not doing well. But that’s only come about through Talking Things Through.
Signs I’m Broken
Most people would not know I suffer with depression. I can be bubbly, loud and crazy. I smile widely and laugh a lot. That’s the surface. If you don’t understand how this is possible I really recommend you read Masks and Masquerades. I won’t show I’m crumbling unless I truly trust you. But there are signs.
My friend only discovered one of my more obvious ones because they thought they’d upset me. I was in the middle of a spiral when they were visiting and I disappeared on them. I kept going into the kitchen, if I interacted it was a bare minimum. They were completely confused! Normally I’m a pretty good host to visitors, so they couldn’t help but notice.
Thankfully, they were brilliant. Guessing something was up, they gave me some breathing room. They didn’t push it. They waited until the time was right to ask what was going on.
And we talked about it. More openly and honestly than I had with anyone else. They realised my withdrawing and going quiet was a flashing neon sign that I was spiraling. We also began to see other signs, more subtle ones that my depression was setting in.
Friends and Family
The reason they were so good at spotting the signs, was because they have depression too. Now, some people would say that 2 depressed people shouldn’t support each other. One Facebook participant recently went as far as saying friends and family are more often the root of most depression, therefore they shouldn’t be the ones to talk to at all when you’re struggling. Their advice was to only talk to the professionals but does that always go as well as it should?
This may be true for some. But for a lot of people like me, their friends and family are their rock. They help you through the dark times. Also with waiting times on the NHS being what they are, therapy can be a long time coming. And private therapy can be beyond the financial reach of many.
In the meantime you’re struggling, your family or friends are left in the dark and you tumble further? That just seems insane. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be careful. Nothing can replace proper mental health care, your family and friends are NOT your therapist. Likewise if your family is your trigger then you’re not going to find support useful from them.
What I would say is that some of the best support I’ve had has come from friends and family who’ve had depression. And not for giving advice on treatment, but just by recognising the signs and being there for me. Sometimes it’s just been giving me a hug, or a cup of tea or giving me space when I need it. Other times it’s just sitting in silence so I know I’m not alone.
OK, so we in the case of me and my friend we might be broken, but we’re broken together. At least we’re not fighting this demon alone. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, so feel free to drop us a comment.
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