Tuesday, October 27, 2009

is laughter still the best medicine?

I know that when people read blogs, they want to read something light and funny. Something happy and uplifting.

Well, I don't feel sad. Neither am I happy nor affected by the gloomy skies today. I'm just worried about the state of someone very close to me. Let's call him William.

Willy has been suffering from severe depression since 1989. He was institutionalised on four occasions. Two of which, for attempted suicide. Anyway, Willy had been on sick leave since 2005. He made great contributions to the company so the board found it very hard to fire him. In the end, integrity prevailed and Willy left the company voluntarily.

Early this year however, he thought he was on his way to recovery. And bang!!!.. just like that ..... there it was again and he's down in the pit again. Yes, again.

Being one of the closest people in his life, I always feel and see how wasted, hurt, numbed, angry, frustrated, resigned, enthusiastic, bouncing with life, full of determination, and at times empty, his life could be. His depression is sometimes soooooo severe that all he can do is give in and wait,... while his family, friends and I watch in agony. But Willy is one hell of a fighter.

This morning, he came to me and told me about how he feels. He was crying. He said that he thought he was recovering, and was rather happy about it. Apparently, recovery and happiness for him are one and same thing. So I asked him what does he do to "recover"? Without batting an eyelash, he said candidly, take my medication everyday.

I smiled. Didn't really know what to say.... Then a thought came to me. So I let him a secret.

I said that eversince I moved to the Netherlands, I only watch old comedy shows whenever I switch on the TV. I even bought dvds..... which I normally watch when I feel I am heading towards Depression Lane myself. So yes, I laugh and laugh... because I know laughter is the best medicine and it's good for my mental health. In life, I have learned that there´s really such thing as self-preservation. You have to learn to fend for yourself.

But really, how does one recover from a lifelong debilitating disease called depression? Medication? Meditation? Faith? Music? Diet? Gene theraphy?

How? I want to know.


Whitemist said...

If there were permanent answers, we could give them to you.
Sadly, I do not believe there are any, but the best way to hep is by being exactly what you were today - a friend.
That all by itself, will stop a person feel alone, which helps, but does not cure.
Keep being a friend.

buday said...

Laughter is STILL the best medicine. It's also the best exercise (an pag-utok-utok baya kay mas mayad pa sa sit-ups, hehe).

A brand new hobby may work too. I hope your friend pulls out of this soon.

cherie said...

medication, yes, and a whole new outlook on life. psychotehrapy or just unloading to someone. a combination of them. willie has it bad, and i know some very young people who are already on medication precisely because of depression. it still shows - they're nasty at work, and i can imagine, at home, too. they're also sometimes absent, or are snet home in the middle of the shift. it is sad. but what can se do, that's just how the mind works sometimes. i am happy that wilie has a friend in you. i pray for him likewise.

Anita said...

Depression is a misterious disease, due to unbalance in the brain chemicals. Even people that have a nice youth and lots of friends, satisfying job, good health and love may fall into depression. This is completely different from being a bit "down". Some people with depression neglect all important aspects of thier lives, reaching to the point sometimes of thinking about suicide and killing others. Human brain is so misterious!

Aristarkhos said...

faith and friends. friends can help him stay out of depression. they can give him the faith and know what makes them get through life too. i have seen how a lady with bipolar disorder manage a home, son and her own life by just coming to church and keeping spirits up through friends in the church -- who also prayed with her. yes, she did have to take medication for a while. because her initial phase was really bad, where i was told she could not even recognise her own baby.
at the end of it all, the person has to make that huge effort to get himself out of it. alone it is almost impossible. with faith and friends, i think it helps.

Sonya said...

Gosh I have delt with depression on and off my whole life..nothing like your friend though. I wish I had the magical answer because I would like to know it myself. I know have to work harder at being happy since moving to the netherlands.

I think for myself it would be helpful to have a friend like you. To sit there and listen without judgement and give an encouraging smile. I hope your friend is able to walk into the light again soon.

Jesusa said...

i myself get's sad when darkness starts at 5pm instead of 8pm. i'm glad that your friend has you. good friends are hard to find.