Awesome Eeyore, Awesome Friends

winnie-the-pooh-437940_1280Today I got a message from my sister who was reading some things on a website called Higher Perspectives. The entry had to do with depression and she knows that my husband and I have struggled with that for over forty years. The quote made me realize how there have been people who have responded well during his depression and those who have responded not very well indeed.

The quote reads:

One awesome thing about Eeyore is that even though he is basically clinically depressed, he still gets invited to participate in adventures and shenanigans with all his friends. And they never expect him to feel happy.  They just love him anyway and they never leave him behind or ask him to change. 

What a beautiful way to respond to someone with depression. Love them.  Accept them.  Invite them.  Don’t demand or know better or urge the use of boot straps.  Don’t leave them out because they are not fun or “aren’t the way they used to be.”  Respect them for where they are at.  Encourage when the time presents itself.  But the big thing is to love them through it.

No easy task.

That means leaving asides our prejudices, our thoughts of “if only he or she did this”, our feelings of being better than the depressed one. It means putting aside all the first responses that demand some action from the depressed person. It is setting aside the belief that you as friend have the right answers.  To go back to Eeyore, it means finding what is beautiful and present in the depression.  It is recognizing a friend who might be having a hard time but who is still someone who needs to know they are loved and cared about.

I always thought that Eeyore was a lesser figure in the Pooh stories. Now I see that he is one very central figure indeed because he and his friends’ responses teach us a great deal about what it is to be a real friend.

And thanks to all those friends and family who loved my Eeyore through his depression.

  • Bernadette

My Valentine

When your life partner has multiple mental health diagnoses (in my case, some treated effectively, some not at all) there are times when you can’t help but muse about what might have been.

Yes, I admit it. Occasionally I find myself fantasizing about what it would have been like to be married to someone who’s a fully functioning adult at all times. Someone I could always count on not just to “be there,” but to be a steady rock. Someone I could travel with happily, instead of struggling to survive his panic attacks when faced with unfamiliar situations. Someone who could look at difficulties and face them head on, rather than hiding and hoping they’d go away.

At those times I look back thirty years and wonder…would I have done things differently? I don’t know. There have been plenty of good times mixed in with the copious bad times. We have three absolutely awesome children together, and his influence had a lot to do with that – I sure didn’t raise them alone (though it might have seemed that way during the worst of times).

In the end, he’s still my valentine. But when I found a “make your own conversation heart” website, I couldn’t help but get just a little snarky, in the spirit of the upcoming holiday.

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Gotta keep that sense of humor.

-Amy