On October 29, 1941, Prime Minister Winston Churchill gave a speech to the students of Harrow School in Great Britain, a school he had attended in his youth. The passage below often comes to mind when one is thinking of Sir Winston’s many great quotes.
“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense.”
Sometimes in life, especially for those who are depressed, a person just wants to give in, meaning
different things to different people. For those in deep, deep depression, giving in means taking their own lives. It appears there is no other way out.
I am most certainly opposed to any concept of the advice some people give who don’t understand depression, “You can pull yourself out of this. You just have to try.” It makes me cringe to even write the words.
I ran across a study that suggested that constant effort aimed at positive transformation and growth may underlie the whole process of recovery.
The study is a small one but is based on interviews with people living with depression, bipolar or schizophrenia, all of them long-term, recurring conditions. Those who had an inner drive to recover, not just rely on medication to mask the symptoms, found motivation within themselves while also drawing on all the support they could find from friends, family and professional helpers.
The turning point was their own decision to get better or, in their words, to fight rather than to give in. The choice became clear to them over time. They would either fight to recover and live independently, or resign themselves to chronic illness under the permanent care of medical professionals.
I also made that decision to fight for my recovery after three years of passively being in the care of psychiatrists and counselors. It took an additional two years for me to come out on the other side of the black box of depression, but come out I did and am now living a life of stability. The insights I give in this blog week after week are ones that I have incorporated into my life. Much of the process for me was seeing my life of depression from a different perspective, a matter of self-directed cognitive behavior therapy.