Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Three months after

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  • Bart Janssen, in reply to A Nonny Moose,

    I also resent the implication that someone must be mentally ill (“need help”) to be feeling this way.

    No that isn't the point. One problem with depression is it sneaks up on you, it isn't obvious to the person feeling this way that it is something that anyone else can help with.

    It isn't about labelling someone as ill it is about realising that professionals can help.

    I really don't want to patronise. My own experience with depression is that when you are at the point the poster is in then all the normal chatting in the world won't help you. You really won't "get over it" and suggesting to someone that they will does more harm then good. Counsellors have real skills and real valuable training. By the time you are depressed all your "normal" methods of coping are failing. You can stay in that state and suffer through it or you can allow someone else to help you out.

    It doesn't matter how strong you are, it doesn't matter how well you "cope".

    argh I'm sounding patronising - I'm sorry. I don't mean to sound that way but please try and find a professional to help. You don't have to find you way out alone, there are people who can really help - not me though - I'm crap at it.

    And counselling is simply talking about it, the only difference is that counsellors have skills and training that make them better at helping than average folks.

    However, as Russell points out there are thousands who need that kind of help.

    But this is different to “normal” depression. This is depression with a primarily external cause.

    No it isn't different. Depression is a state - how you get to that state is kind of irrelevant, but having a particular event tip you over the edge into depression is entirely normal. It is extraordinarily hard to get out of that state without help.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3221 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings, in reply to Emma Hart,

    It’s not. It’s really, really not. But then, like Lilith, while I’m still frustrated, I see stuff change every day.

    And today I got notice that I can flush my toilet (the first time since April 2nd)! It's a little thing in some ways but all those little things add up. I think some of the difficulty fr our moods is that everything changed in one huge, sudden event but things improve by tiny little steps. I think we would do well to celebrate those little steps (without being completely uncritical of those in charge, obviously).

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 703 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    Do you think Council/CERA might be up for this?

    Great idea. Contact them and suggest it. City won’t be productive or liveable unless people’s immediate emotional wellbeing is addressed.

    Yes. The idea of mental healthcare on a mass scale seems right to me. I got a strong sense of how pervasive the shock is.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18520 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1437 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Yes. The idea of mental healthcare on a mass scale seems right to me. I got a strong sense of how pervasive the shock is.

    I believe there is "a plan". Certainly it is being talked about.

    I know my own counsellor was saying colleagues in Christchurch were asking for people to come down.

    having a particular event tip you over the edge into depression is entirely normal. It is extraordinarily hard to get out of that state without help.

    Word. And it's made so much harder, because in your head, you think "well, of course I am feeling like this, look what's happened" so it's easy to slip further and further into it. Or, that was my experience, at least.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1273 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    No it isn't different. Depression is a state

    I know but what's different is that lots of people are feeling it at the same time and their reason for not wanting to talk about it is not entirely internal. It's because there is a very real external factor causing it, to a whole lot of people in the same place at the same time. That's not the sort of thing your standard counsellor is trained to deal with (in fact, in Chch, they're probably suffering from it!). But my own experiences of depression suggest that talking to anyone is better than bottling it up. Counsellors are especially handy because they have to listen, at least for as long as you've paid them for.

    Drummls discovery seems like a very good one for CERA to be aware of.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Steve Withers,

    marking time in a disaster zone isn’t a very useful way to live a life if you’re desperately unhappy doing it.

    I left a perfectly well functioning City, London, in an attempt to ease my own depression.
    As they say "You can never run from yourself" and so I brought my daemons with me but the change seemed to help. If the root of your despair is a wrecked city then I would tend to think "making a new start" and moving on could be nothing but a positive step, after all, "the world is your lobster" as the delightfully confident Arthur Daley would say.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4613 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    My friend is reading the thread:

    Just went through to the link. Wow, that certainly got a lot of response! I'm quite chuffed to think you consider me "tough" btw :-)) Please reassure the poor chap(?) who thinks I'm clinically depressed and need counselling that I'm not that dire - Tuesday was just a really bad day when I wrote that. And as you and others have commented after that post, it's how so many people here are feeling and it's not an internal, clinical depression it's just a natural human response to having to deal with too much uncertainty, change and (the real biggie) the come down from the adrenalin rush we had not once, but twice in a six month period. I imagine it's possibly how junkies feel coming down after an enormous high and not being able to get another hit again! We are in the cortisol situation now, which is the nasty side effect of too much adrenalin. Actually, it kind of reminds me of the simmering anger post 1999 and 2007.... but a thousand times worse!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18520 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings, in reply to BenWilson,

    Being miserable because bad things have happened is not the same as being depressed but bad things happening can trigger depression (and one person's Very Bad Thing can be another's No Big Deal). The difference, in my experience, is in how you react when things start to get better and in your ability to envisage a positive future.

    Those who are merely miserable would still benefit from support and a listening ear but, as things improve, so will they. The truly depressed may not even notice things getting better.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 703 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Isabel Hitchings,

    Those who are merely miserable would still benefit from support and a listening ear but, as things improve, so will they. The truly depressed may not even notice things getting better.

    I worry about the people who were already vulnerable, and who are over-represented in some of the worst-affected suburbs. Think munted roads and paths, emptied-out neighbourhoods and closed shops and supermarkets and consider how it must be for, say, disabled people.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18520 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to BenWilson,

    talking to anyone is better than bottling it up. Counsellors are especially handy because they have to listen, at least for as long as you've paid them for.

    Yes I agree Ben. It is an extraordinary event in that it affects so many at once.

    But at the individual level it is exactly the same as depression from any other cause. It is at the individual level that it must be treated (not a good word but it'll do).

    As for counselors - yes talking to anyone at all is good - but please don't underestimate the talent and training counsellors have - they really have skills that are much more developed than any average person, it took me about 4 months to truly understand that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3221 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I worry about the people who were already vulnerable, and who are over-represented in some of the worst-affected suburbs.

    Indeed. It helps a lot if, before the quake you were reasonably OK and therefore have some ability to cope in reserve and if you still have areas of your life which you feel in control over.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 703 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    who thinks I'm clinically depressed and need counselling that I'm not that dire

    Good to hear. But take care of yourself. I recognised the tone of your comments, they were too familiar to me to dismiss. Don't be afraid to ask for help even if you aren't sure you need it. There is no millage in "toughing it out".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3221 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    but please don't underestimate the talent and training counsellors have - they really have skills that are much more developed than any average person, it took me about 4 months to truly understand that.

    The other thing that counsellors should have is the training and distance not to go under with you.I know, from experience on both sides of the equation, that friends and loved ones cannot cope indefinitely as sole support for someone who is depressed.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 703 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Isabel Hitchings,

    The other thing that counsellors should have is the training and distance not to go under with you

    And the professional supervision support so they can safely sustain themselves.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16280 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Disabled people, certainly, but also for older people on the pension, who simply cant walk very far any more...there's more than a few, in the eastern suburbs.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Islander,

    who simply cant walk very far any more

    That may count as disabled. It's a perfectly natural part of ageing.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16280 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    That may count as disabled. It's a perfectly natural part of ageing.

    Yes.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18520 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I imagine getting to the nearest on-street portaloo would be an unwelcome challenge for more than a few of Christchurch's residents.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16280 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I imagine it's possibly how junkies feel coming down after an enormous high and not being able to get another hit again! We are in the cortisol situation now, which is the nasty side effect of too much adrenalin.

    I'm wary of looking to make my brief impressions the story, but I got a really strong sense of the shock and subsequent silence in the city.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18520 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    I don't like the term "Disabled" it seems to suggest total inability and idleness, as in Disabled printer or what have you.
    Less able would, in my mind, be more descriptive, surely. A totally disabled person would be dead.
    I await a barrage of wordology from Sacha.
    :-)

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4613 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    I don't like the term "Disabled"

    don't care :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16280 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    A totally disabled person would be dead

    It's all a matter of degree, yes

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16280 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    We all have disabilities, I consider Phill Goff disabled when it comes to winning an election. Time to go eh?
    But I digress, I guess.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4613 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    We all have disabilities

    And strengths; sometimes they're the same thing.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16280 posts Report Reply

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