Today’s blog is dedicated to a woman I sincerely admire.
A highly regarded professional, she lives in regional Australia, and contributes to her community in many ways. She is sporty, witty, intelligent, compassionate, and hilarious – when we get together, we laugh and laugh and laugh!
Oh, and she suffers from depression.
This is just one one of the many things which define her, but it’s the one I’ll focus on in this blog. Because she lives in regional Australia, she does not have access to the same mental health resources that urban Australians do. (For example, in order to have a choice of psychiatrist, she must drive some hours to a large city.) Furthermore, because of the stigma which persists about mental health, not everyone in her life is aware that sometimes she struggles, or why some days are harder than others. In fact, for good reasons, her own family do not know that she has, on occasion, had to spend time in hospital due to her mental health (in a city, of course, not her hometown).
She is my hero because she copes with all these burdens with grace and courage, and maintains a capacity to feel for, and comfort, others – even when she herself is suffering.
We met while we were going through hell in a psychiatric hospital at the same time, and found joy in our friendship. We reminded each other that you can laugh even when your world seems as though it’s falling apart. We literally held hands, sometimes, when the suffering was too deep for words.*
So to you, my friend, I dedicate this tiny electronic appreciation. I know the best thing I could do for you would be to wave a magic wand and make your depression disappear; this little note won’t achieve that, but I do hope it will help you understand how wonderful you are.
* OK, truth time – she walked past me in the corridor as I was waiting to see a doctor and I grabbed her hand and wouldn’t let go – but the essence is still true!