Reply To: Depression

Boyce Coe


I know I commented on your poem already, but I did not say what I wanted to say about your depression. I used to be a mental health therapist, and I was one for quite sometime…until I too became extremely severely depressed (I’ve save you my sob story). One thing I learned from both my experience as a licensed mental health therapist and my experience of horrific depression is this: there is a huge difference between observing it and experiencing it. I say this, because if you are seeing a mental health professional…don’t be afraid to ask them if they have ever experienced depression. If they him-haw around or try to say that answering that question would cross the boundaries or the client-therapist relationship and have a distant or traditionally clinical response, then my advice is to consider finding a different therapist.

A good therapist, regardless if they have experienced depression previously, should be able to sympathize with you and your experience of depression, on a human level, through their own experiences of suffering. For me, the best provider that I have ever worked with, even in my darkest times, carried a sense of hope with his sympathy, and it was his sense of hope that connected with the inert hope that was buried deep within my own sense of hopelessness, and at the time I hated any concept of a higher power. He was literally my only source. The hope he offered was not in his words, but in his actions and his interactions with me. His actions also helped me feel my life had a sense of worth to someone, and not because he was paid to care. He allowed his own humanity to connect with mine; he was a person before he was a doctor. If I forgot to take my hair ties out before ECT, he would lovingly smile at me, and tell me he would take it out for me. He took his time with me and to hear me, he was not worried about his next patient until we were done talking and he left my room. It was the little things, not just big things. I hope that you have or can have someone in your life (friend, professional, or loved one) with whom you too can have experiences similar to these where, through their actions and interactions with you, you too can find a sense of hope and worth and value in life again, even just a little, within whatever depths of hopelessness, worthlessness, and feelings of aloneness that you may be experiencing.

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