I remember once when DH "accidently" stepped on one of my cats. Not the tail, the whole cat. And he didn't see him at all (so he says), so he came down hard. While wearing steel-toed boots. Needless to say, the cat, my Crash, let out a blood-curdling scream like no scream I've ever heard. What happened next was compelling. My other cat, Thunder, who is Crash's littermate, came running. By now, Crash had run under the coffee table. Thunder came sniffing along, watching Crash with quiet uncertainty, tiptoeing along until he reached his shocked and wounded brethren. He sniffed his brother a couple of times, and then, after ascertaining that everything seemed to be okay, Thunder backed away, took a few steps, stopped, sat down facing Crash, and watched over his brother for awhile from a comfortable distance. Every now and then, he went back and sniffed and made sure everything was okay. By now, of course, Crash's almond-sized brain had forgotten the incident, and he looked atThunder with a "WTF you lookin at?" look on his face.
I sometimes wonder why some human brothers and sisters can't feel the pain of our siblings the way that I think Thunder felt Crash's pain. My DH's sister is having the worst time of her life. Her husband left her for another woman, and she has been stripped of her identity. Anyone from OT who is reading this probably knows the whole story, and I don't suppose that any non-OTers have tripped upon my blog, so I won't bother repeating the blood and guts. SIL is in a bad way. She talks about wanting to die and killing herself and not wanting to be here and not feeling pain and not being worthy of skin. So, you can imagine why I'm worried.
I personally diagnosed SIL with clinical depression two months ago. She was dragged kicking and screaming to a doctor last month, who confirmed my diagnosis. She has an appointment with a psychiatrist tomorrow.
To add insult to injury, my ex-BIL is being a jerk. I won't give him anymore space in my beloved blog than to just say that. Unfortunately, though, he is not the only one who is being a jerk.
SIL's family (DH's family) are not helping the situation. SIL can't tell her parents that she's taking anti-depressants or that she has depression, because they don't understand the disease. She cries her heart out to everyone, and they're "getting sick of it." They want her to get a hold of herself. They want her to lighten up, to pick herself up and dust herself off, you lost a lier and a cheater, consider yourself lucky, etc. Well, folks, she can't. Depression takes that ability away from you. Depression makes you feel nothing. No joy. No laughter. No love. No purpose. No worthiness. I can coach her, but I can't coach them. Because of their tunnel vision, I haven't admitted my own shame of having depression to them. DH knows, and all he cares about is that I take my medication and get better. He does not try to understand the disease, he just puts all his hopes in my doc that I will get better -- which I have. So, because they don't know what I know, and I know what they don't know but can't tell them, I have to listen to them complain about whiney SIL crying herself to sleep in her mud puddle. To make them understand, I would have to put a human face to depression --my own. And, sadly and perhaps selfleshly, I'm not willing to do that just yet.
Granted, it is very hard to listen to SIL. She's being very negative and angry. She doesn't take some advice well. She gets angry at the advice-giver if they suggest getting on with her life. She's lashing out. You can spend two hours on the phone with her, listening, comforting, talking, trying to convince her of her worthiness, and you hang up thinking you've made some headway, and then you turn around and do the exact same thing the next night.
It gets tiring. Frankly, you do get sick of it. You would think that for all the work you're putting into it, you would see some results.
But sometimes, you don't get results. At least not right away. Some of the most important research and impactful books and movies were long labours of love. You just work and work and work, and you don't get anything back for a long, long time. And you start wondering why you even started in the first place. But because it's something you love and something you believe in, you just keep going.
Thunder was sleeping when Crash got squashed underfoot. All curled up on my bed, all warm and cozy, probably having sweet kitty dreams of catnip and dancing mice. But when he heard that yelp, he snapped out of it, and spent the next several minutes (which is HOURS for a cat) nursing his brother and making sure he was okay.
I'm trying to understand the family that just gives up on someone they love. No, you don't start ignoring her emails and call it "tough love." No, you don't tell her it's all in her mind. You don't tell her how she should feel about her ex. In fact, you don't need to say anything at all!
Just go to her. Give her a *sniff* and a *nuzzle*. Then kind of hover nearby, giving her space but letting her know that you are there to take care of her if she needs you. Check on her now and again, just to remind her you are on her side. Eventually, she will tell you in her own way that she's gotten over it and is well enough to get by on her own. That's when you get to go back to your catnip and dancing mice.
See? People can learn a lot from the cat.