I like to think that i have a fairly positive view of human nature. I think that everyone, deep down (some much deeper than others) have a desire to do good. I honestly feel that its our instinct to help people wherever possible.
This has recenlty demonstrated by the phenomenon whic is the ALS ice-bucket challenge. Now yes, pouring buckets of freezing cold water over yourself is crazy, and rather unpleasant. Yes, it appeals to the attention-seeking part of us. Yes, it moved away to a certain extent from raising money from ALS charities to money going out to hundreds of different of causes. However, it did raise millions of pounds/dollars/euros/yen and other currencies for some very good causes as well as raising awareness of ALS which, maybe, wasn’t what it should have been.
Sadly, that’s not enough for some. The Ice Bucket challenge has come under fire from some quarters. One criticism has been that it deflects attention away from other “more deserving” causes (it doesn’t, and I’m sure ALS suffered are pretty deserving!) and that it wastes water (true, but nature will recycle that water pretty quickly, and some have donated to Water Aid whilst doing it).
And that’s the thing. People try to do the right thing, but there are still those who just want to go on about how wrong it is, picking fault in their efforts and turning it round to be a bad thing rather than a genuine attempt to help people.
This came to mind today when I saw this posted by several people on social media. I can see where this is coming from, trying to correct some people’s view of depression, but…
Great! People are openly talking about mental illness, trying to encourage those who may not yet have sought help for it to do so, yet they’re wrong for doing so. You can’t do right for doing wrong, it seems.
And that is what people are doing, encouraging people to recognise that they have a problem and to get help for it. Not once have I seen a “do not be like him” comment, although I’m willing to accept that some may have been posted, but that’s not the point. Depression is just like any other illness in that, sometimes, people don’t pick up on the signs of it and don’t get the help they need for it.
One comment I read suggested that telling people they need to get help places the responsibility on the sufferer and that this is counter-productive. So, it’s perfectly acceptable to have large campaigns showing us how to check for breast cancer or testicular cancer or how to spot the signs of diabetes, but when it comes to depression this is wrong? I’m sorry, but no. The reason that so many people have posted online to ask people to get help if they are struggling is because many of us have been there ourselves, not seeking help until somebody else has told us to do so.
We sometimes need a jolt to make us realise that something is wrong with us and we need to do something about it. We all need to take responsibility for our own health, wherever possible. We all need to seek help when we realise that we may need it.
So I’m not going to stop telling people to ask for help. I’m not going to say that you will beat depression if you do, recent events have shown that isn’t always the case, but I will say that you have a much better chance of beating it if you do. But I also ask that you realise that the intentions behind me doing this aren’t ill-thought out, they come from personal experience and are aimed at those not currently getting treatment.
We need to lay off of people trying to do good. If they’re going about things in the wrong way, at least recognise the intention before attempting to correct the action. We see enough bad in this world without discouraging the good.