I visited my best friend today. She is 79 years old and has just gone through the fourth round of six chemotherapy treatments for Leukemia. Her life today is not good.
She’s losing weight, she’s feeling tired, she’s anxious and depressed. That’s understandable, you may be thinking, and you’d be right! But she isn’t depressed or anxious about herself and her illness. She’s worried about her partner! He has Parkinson’s disease and was recently admitted to hospital with a ‘water infection’.
Fast forward four weeks. He’s been diagnosed with a lymphoma. He’s gone from being slightly debilitated but fully compus mentis and slow-but-mobile on entering hospital to an incontinent, incoherent, irascible individual. He’s totally incapacitated, in such a short period of time, after a second hospital acquired infection. My friend has spent all her time and energy searching for a care home suitable to his needs. I didn’t realise how difficult that is here in the UK.
Most people can understand why she might be feeling depressed. Most people accept that would be a fairly normal response to the turmoil in her life. What lots of people don’t seem to understand is that a person can suffer with depression when their lives are apparently normal. I mean, there appears to be absolutely no reason why that person should be depressed. They have a good lifestyle, they have good health, they have a good job – what more do they want? Why the hell are they depressed? Pull yourself together! Get a grip!
I can help my friend through her depression – and so can all her friends and family. We sympathise with her awful situation and with our help she’ll get through this dreadful time. Sadly, this is not the case for the rest of us who suffer in silence. The depression that envelops our minds with a cloak of invisibility so that we cannot see our way out and there is no light at the end of the tunnel. And to all our friends and family there is no reason for us to feel that way…
The dominoes keep on falling with clacking irregularity until someone or something knocks one out of the loop and stops the incessant self deprecating chatter.
So very sad that some people are unable to carry on.