I won’t be talking about the Buffalo Theory from a Cheers episode, where Norm gives you a good logical reason to see why you can be smarter after drinking alcohol and killing a few brain cells, but do yourself a favour and look it up, it’s hilarious.
I’ll confess, I’m a bit of a fan of Elementary. A modern take on Sherlock Holmes, except that he’s a recovering drug addict, covered in tattoos, rather eccentric and Watson is played by a female and named Jane. Jane is essentially Sherlocks “sober companion”, a live-in at his house to make sure he doesn’t relapse into using drugs again, and the same thing happens for people who are recovering alcoholics.
It’s great to have someone to lean on and for advice when times get tough.
I was having a chat with a friend a few weeks back, and it has been something that has hovered in my head for some time. There’s a “sober companion” for recovering drug addicts and alcoholics. But what about those of us in a recovery stage with a mental illness or mental health issue?
For some of us who’ve been down the rabbit hole of depression, there are times where you struggle to function and you’re blind to anything going on. It’s a certain form of tunnel vision. You don’t necessarily forget something, it’s more than you’re in such a state that you’re ignoring things. You ignore eating, you ignore doing the dishes, cleaning your house. You ignore going to the doctor when you should need it, you don’t do all the usual things you need to. The amount of times I’ve not wanted to go to the hospital or for X-rays and ultrasounds while feeling depressed is pretty high. But going with someone else would have been a blessing.
What would it be like if we had someone who was a “Recovery companion”? Someone who will head out with you while you do your grocery shopping, doctors appointments, meal preps, tidy your house and just give some normalcy to your life when it’s not normal at all.
From a personal view, I don’t think I’d want someone to be a “recovery companion” who hasn’t dealt with a mental health issue of some sort, and they are that happy-go-lucky type and are constantly positive. It’s more than likely going to just piss me off, you’d need someone who has compassion and understanding, and is able to know what the person is going through. Just telling someone who is in a bout of heavy depression to “just change how you think” makes me think of those “thanks, I’m cured” memes.
I have a great analogy for depression between those who’ve had it and understand it, and those who don’t. I can’t remember if I’ve heard it somewhere and I’m regurgitating it, or it’s something that’s come to my thoughts on my own. But either way, it seems to be relevant.
Telling someone not to be depressed is like telling someone ice cream tastes good, a depressed person knows it tastes good but the act of getting ice cream is the hardest thing on the planet. Instead, sometimes you just need someone to throw you in the car and take you out for ice cream to remind you it is good, and there are people around that understand your situation.