Cutely Vicious

Depression’s certainly on the national agenda: celebrities ‘admit’ to having it (always a telling interesting turn of phrase), politicians make errors of judgement because of it; we hear about it everywhere we turn. It’s so common, it must surely have reached “cute” status by now, right?

Here’s another Aussie icon which many consider cute:

Koala

Yep, that’s it, the cuddly, sweet-faced koala.

Well, let me tell you a few things about these apparent teddy bears:

  • their mating cries sound like a banshee being tortured by a vampire who’s enraged having been bitten by a werewolf – and that’s when they’re in a good mood
  • despite sleeping up to 20 hours a day, koalas can exhibit very aggressive behaviour
  • they have claws which are capable of injuring people to the point of death.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the little beasties, and certainly more koalas are killed  by dogs and cats or by collisions with cars than people experience koala attacks, but the picture postcards don’t tell the whole story.

Koalas are capable of cute viciousness. And this is where I think they represent one facet of depression.

When we hear about something all the time, we might think we understand it, right? Take quantum mechanics, for example. Most people have heard of it, many would profess to having some understanding of it, but I estimate there are probably only around 1500 people living in Australia today who could truly say they have a genuine and comprehensive understanding of the topic – but that doesn’t stop it being referenced in everything from New Age literature to pop culture. There’s nothing wrong with this: no-one gets hurt because people think they understand quantum mechanics.

Depression, on the other hand: many people get hurt because others think they understand depression. A person might not look like a stereotypical sufferer, and friends might say, “Great to see you’re over it!” when in fact their illness persists. Someone might come out of hospital, and loved ones might assume they’re better; stunnedandstunted wrote about this recently – but being discharged from hospital doesn’t mean you’re necessarily ‘cured’. People are often surprised, after a suicide, because “He seemed so normal the day before.”

My suggestion: don’t be fooled by appearances, or become complacent because of familiarity. Depression can be a vicious, deadly condition to live with.

Don’t let depression become a koala in your life.

25 Comments

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25 responses to “Cutely Vicious

  1. Cal

    Also koalas breathe like a serial killer/axe murderer outside your window when you’re sleeping!

    Love this Aussie metaphor for depression 🙂

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  2. I just watched a TV show about koalas last night. They really are nasty little things – lazy, riddled with disease, peeing all over themselves, in addition to being vicious. And here I thought they were like cute little teddy bears.

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    • Yes! And did it mention the horrible cancer which is threatening to wipe them out?

      Still, they do look cute, I must admit. And they feel amazing to touch or hold – so dense! Such thick, coarse fur! And they do pretty well, considering their diet is so low in calories. They’re tough little beasties.

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      • Oh that’s awful! The show I was watching last night also mentioned the high rate of chlamydia…not pleasant. I think I’d like to hold one, though, if there are in fact any over on my side of the world.

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      • Indeed. If you ever do, make sure it’s in a controlled environment! As you no doubt heard last night, they can literally claw a person to near-death. Happened a few years ago outside a town I was living in, to an old woman who tried to chase one off her verandah with a broom, the silly duffer.

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      • Oh my! Well if I do run into one, it’ll likely be in a zoo, as they definitely aren’t wild here. 🙂

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  3. Reblogged this on A Bipolars Reality and commented:
    I thought this was a wonderful look at how people may perceive mental illness with it becoming more common

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  4. Thank you for linking to my post, Bree.

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  5. Aww, this reminds me of when I cuddled a Koala at a sanctuary in Australia. But he was fresh from sleep and I was the first to hug him, so luckily he was quite sweet. 🙂

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  6. One thing we who live with depression have all learned to do to protect ourselves is to convince others we are “fine”. I mean we really DON’T want to talk about it, now do we? So we can’t blame people for believing us. It’s true the stigma is decreasing, but people don’t yet understand the difference between an attack of the blues or grief over a loss and sustained, dark, walking-through-sticky-tar depression that only partially lifts for a few hours. Even my therapists didn’t ACTUALLY understand. So happy there is a support community here.

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    • Yes indeed! It’s all about the mutual support. That’s one reason I really love the Facebook group I belong to, too – positive, non-judgmental, mutual support. It’s an absolute blessing.

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  7. Reblogged this on Going Sideways and commented:
    Very good advice for a lot of people. Thank you DB.

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  8. labkeysdude

    Reblogged this on Ackwards Bananagrams.

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  9. I’ve always said that depressives are normal people living abnormal lives. Very good post my friend. And no I hadn’t seen it. I’m being very random with my reading because I have something like 900 unread emails in my inbox.

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    • Thanks, Sue! Yes, the hell that is the inbox out of control … I have three main ones. One is completely under control (1 unread). One is fairly under control (80 unread, all things I know I want to read or attend to). The other is simply not (283 unread). *sigh* Might need to put a soothing DVD on and plough through those 283 sometime this weekend.

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      • I think I’m coming up to a mass delete. Part of my dealing with issues is spending less time on the computer so something has to give.

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      • That’s a tough one, for me. Blogging is therapeutic, and I value the support of the two online communities I belong to (the open one here on WordPress and a private one on Facebook), so being online is “good”. On the other hand, it is sedentary, and doesn’t help me create new friendships in real life, which is “bad” (I’m laughing at myself as I type these judgmental words). So I need to find balance.
        I can do that, if I’m motivated enough, and if I still feel I’m getting the benefits of both blogging and communities. I’m sure I can 😉 perhaps not today, though!

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      • He he. I know what you mean. I would not cope some days without the support of my online friends. I still spend time online but it is vastly reduced to the time that I used to spend online.
        I hope you have a wonderful Saturday. I’m off to sewing soon.

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  10. Rise above

    I think most people don’t realize that depression is a persistent condition and not an illness that can necessarily be “cured”. Hell, I don’t think most people even understand what depression is.

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