This morning as I was dressing I recognized once again the changes in my breasts following treatment for cancer. The breasts are not identical. One is significantly smaller than the other and finding a bra is a pain. As soon as I think I have found the perfect bra, something changes and it doesn’t fit right. As I looked in the mirror, I also remembered a picture I saw about five years ago of a group of women who were nude from the waist up. Each breast was different, some were missing, scars adorned some and others were perky and young. And then the thought came to me of the importance of a picture of depression.
Imagine if you will, a group of people gathered in one room, around their necks they wear an explanation of their condition. One reads “circumstantial depression with several panic attacks”; another reads “lifelong depression with growing anxiety”; still another proclaims, “dark depression with daily thoughts of suicide.” Each sign is different. Some have tattered signs from many years of wear; others carry simply the word “depressed”. Some signs although somewhat new show signs of struggle as if someone was trying to remove the sign and didn’t succeed.
There are very young and very old people in this picture. The three-year-old, the teenager, the smart business man, the new mother, the seventy-five year old, the famous actress, the homeless man. The room is filled with every person with no regard to race or religion.
Everyone should have a picture like this to remind them that depression affects many people and we encounter these people day after day with no way to tell, the visible signs of depression no longer around their necks. And they have to deal with finding the right medication, the right therapy, the right support system and often that changes, just as my bra size does.
Next time you see someone, look at them through new eyes. The person you are seeing is carrying some wound, whether physical or mental. Be kind to them and remember we are all in this together.