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Pushing too hard

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Sometimes, the harder you try, the worse everything gets. I equate this situation to pushing on a door to open it not realising that the door opens inwards toward you rather than away from you. In such a situation, pushing on the door will obviously bear no results no matter how much energy you use (unless you're superman and you break the door down completely). The only way through the door is to relax and give the door space. You'll then be able to open it (by pulling) and move through.

I had depression for two to three years. My father had a mental problem called burnout syndrome (a very general term) for a couple of years. In both cases, trying to overcome the problem only made it worse. My father had to stop all forms of work involving thinking for six months to a year. During that time, he worked on a potato farm. I wasn't there for that part of his life because I was studying at university so I don't know exactly what he was going through. This rest time however was the only chance he had of recovering. For me, relaxation was also imperative. If I ever exerted myself, my body would relapse into a situation worse than previously. I simply had to accept the situation and move on slowly.

Friends and co-workers at TVB didn't understand. They simply told me to 'buck up', 'encourage yourself', 'stop being so lazy' and other similar statements usually with good intent but unwanted results. Even my doctor didn't believe me. It's unfortunate but true. Until you've suffered this type of problem, you'll never understand its effects or its reality.

You're not the only one that suffers though. Everyone around you suffers too, especially your family.

What I realise now that I didn't understand then is that we're not in complete control of our emotions even though we'd like to think we are. The chemicals and hormones running through and controlling our bodies have far more control over us than our minds. Sometimes, there's nothing we can do about our behaviours.

There are many situations where it is better to stand back a little than to push forward. There are many people who you'd like to convince to behave differently but it won't happen just because you talk to them or encourage them or perhaps even try to force them. For example, one of our dogs is scared of oncoming cars. Every time a car approaches, he dodges off into the roadside grass and pretends to be looking for something. He hopes that the car won't see him and will consequently leave him alone. We tried desperately to change this behaviour. We tried yelling at him, comforting and reassuring him and even complementing him. Nothing worked. It's not a behaviour that's going to change overnight, if at all. It's a part of his makeup and we'll have to accept it.

People can be the same way. If you know someone with a problem that presumably they should be able to overcome by will power alone and nothing you've said has changed them in any way, don't try so hard. Instead, stand back and support them by simply being there when they need you. With the reassurance they gain from knowing you're there for them, they'll relax over time and they'll then have the ability to change for the better.

This is obviously very difficult to understand. I know because it's extremely difficult to explain. I can only hope that my examples helped you to understand at least a little.

Important. Not all depressions are the same. Not all depressions are mental although the symptoms might be. Not all depressions can be solved through psychology intervention. Most importantly; with depression, nothing is at it seems.

I've been there. I know.