Sadness is not depression
I have been clinically depressed before - and have both taken drugs and seen a therapist - a psychiatrist, no less. It’s one of the reasons we set up The Joy Hub (you should join our team and donate N1000 or $5 each month via joyhub.ng) because I have seen first hand what professional help can do for you.
However, I have also seen first hand what professional help cannot do for you. Which is why I am deeply grateful to that therapist for telling me ‘You don’t need me anymore. The rest of this journey you can take by yourself.”
She was right. What ailed me was something more fundamental, it was something more human - it was that I couldn’t find my compass as a human being. I didn’t know who I was, I hadn’t owned my self, I hadn’t learnt to be comfortable in my own skin. I needed to come to terms with my own essential being.
I did that by having extensive conversations with myself, spending time journaling about the things I discovered about myself and doing the tough work of asking myself questions and then answering them in the rawest, most honest way.
Therapy and drugs continue to be a very important point in the spectrum of health for your soul (mind, heart, spirit) - the research may be ambivalent on how anti depressants help many types of depression but it is conclusive about how helpful it is for Major Depressive Disorder - it is important to remember that there is an entire “spectrum of human despair” that doesn’t need any of the above.
To feel sadness, to feel disappointment, to feel pain at the injustices in the world, to feel lost after you lose a job or a pitch, to feel confused if you’re in your twenties and are just trying to figure out your career choices, and to be insecure if you were born in a time of social media driven lifestyles where everyone seems under a microscope of judgement and comparison.
Some things need a therapist. But others just need a person who loves you truly, fully and totally. Or just for you to see yourself clearly and knowing what is intrinsically wrong with your difference, or your nature.
Some things need drugs and others need a network of strong relationships that sustain you through tough times and celebrate you in good times.
It’s important to know the difference.
Hopefully, you are lucky to find a therapist like mine who points you in the right direction. Or you can begin, by yourself, to get familiar with your own mind, so you know when to reach out for professional help and when all you need is humans who know how to be human.