The Houston Chronicle just ran a story by Mary Jo Rapini about how depression affects a marriage. Ms. Rapini did a good job of pointing out what can happen to a marriage relationship when depression is present.
Still, there are other hidden victims. It might not be a marriage relationship that has collateral damage; rather it might be an elderly parent and the adult child or a person in a gay relationship who can’t understand why the relationship is crumbling. There might be teachers who are touched by the depression of a child in their classrooms, or a co-worker who has to listen time and again to a depressed co-worker’s tale of woe. All of these take a toll on healthy individuals, opening the door to depression taking a foothold.
I recently talked to a caregiver who once again had to take her significant other for electroconvulsive therapy. She was at her wit’s end because, in addition to having to do 24/7 care for four days, she was trying to juggle a job, children, and the other aspects of her life. She sounded extremely tired, close to tears, and questioning what she was going to do next. She was talking about everything she was trying to do to stay healthy, but no where in the conversation was the wider community mentioned. This is the community that could bring in meals, take over for a portion of the 24/7 care time so she could sleep or have some time for herself, the community that could babysit or just offer a listening ear.
When will we realize that all of us have to step up to the plate to fight depression? When will we realize that a healthy community is only possible if we all pitch in? Unless we start stepping up to the challenge, depression will continue to reap its victims as the equal opportunity destroyer it is.