Life is short. Stand tall!

By Jill Salomon on June 26, 2013

A week of grey skies,, cold temperatures and rain in Montreal.  Not the best spring that we are having.   It has gotten to me. It has gotten to a lot of other people as well.  

There are no backyard bar -b-que smells. The parks are empty. People are holed up in their homes, waiting for the Spring. The real spring.  The sunny skies and the terasses.  Walking up on the mountain. Strolling through old Montreal. Taking bike rides, motocycle rides, going up to the laurentians. Or just sitting on a park bench watching the people go by.

An old friend Called me yesterday. I have known him for thirty years. I do not see him often, but I do not have to. We have a bond. Even if we see each other once every two years, we will always be friends. What we have shared in the past has cemented our friendship. He told me that he was in trouble.  He said that he has been depressed now for over a year and cannot shake it.  He has tried all the medications that the doctor prescribed, but nothing has worked.

Pills; anti-depressants. They are not miracle drugs.  They can help, but they are not the answer. It was life...his life, and all the things that were not going right. Or rather, all the things that were going wrong, and had been, were catching up with him and now he was suffering. I know depression, as I have suffered three major bouts with it.  The most recent one lasting almost two years. I could relate to my friend. I felt truly felt what he was going through.

He asked me if I could come over and talk. I went over. We sat in his living room. A beautiful  room, filled with fine antique furniture. beautiful gilded framed paintings on the wall. An old restored fireplace. Persian rugs, and a huge HD television..... amidst this beauty, was misery. His misery. Yet he did not start complaining or talking about his life and how bad he felt and what was going on....instead we talked about the past. The happier times.  "Remember this...remember that"  The good old days when life seemed so much simpler. When texting meant, well, it meant nothing. It did not exist. Nor did iphones, or Google, or PCs for that matter.

We laughed about things that had happened. We talked about how time has flown by. How we could not believe that we were in our fifties. We had some lunch. We smoked some cigarettes on his back balcony. Me, admiring his garden. No flowers, but just a really nice green space with big old trees. I spent the whole afternoon there, and by the end of our visit, my friend was smiling and laughing and seemed quite happy. We didn't talk about depression at all in fact.  Just that it was real.  That it existed, and that so many people are suffering from it. 

We acknowledged it and agreed to it's power to destroy lives and to take lives.

I told my friend that he was going to be ok. I told him that depression cannot last forever.  That you have to take on the role of fighter.  That there is an enemy in your midst, and that you are not going to wave that white flag and surrender. That you are going to beat it, just like you would any foe. Recognizing the enemy is the first step in winning any battle. If you see yourself as a victim I told him, you will become weak. Be a David to Goliath. Be strong. Life is short. Stand tall. Do not give up.Ever. 

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