Depression - A Punishment or a Gift?

I went to see a one-man show last night titled - Shot Bro, Confessions of a Depressed Bullet. The writer and performer, New Zealand actor Rob Mokaraka, tells of his personal battle with depression through theatre. A great performance and a very powerful story for those of us who have been to the same dark place as Rob has.

The show also provides an insight into the mind of a depressed person for those who have not been to that unspeakable place. Rob openly admits having to manage himself so that he does not slip back down into the black hole, and I am the same. We both have to watch what we do so that we are not overcome with our busy lives.

You do as well, you need to watch yourself because this stuff sneaks up on you when you least expect it. "It always happens to someone else" was my common response when I heard that someone had fallen over. "They just need to harden up" was another. Worse still, I would say "They are just soft". So life did what life often does in these situations, it gave me a sneak preview of the dark side as a way of enlightening me. Thanks life!

Apart from those who may have an underlying medical condition, most people who have had depression are just like Rob and I, and just like you. Yes, we may be 'soft'. Every person that I have met who has had depression is sensitive, caring, thoughtful, and giving. But they are just ordinary people like Rob, you, and I.

Ordinary people who have got busy, who wanted to please, who wanted to help as much as possible, and who forgot about themselves.

Our work scratches at the armour we hide behind, it weakens the metal plates that protect us, it keeps us moving forward to run away from our thoughts, it leaves us open and vulnerable. And then suddenly out of nowhere 'life' comes and slaps us down. It is often something personal, something that stabs us right in the heart and takes us down. We fight it, but eventually we have to face up to 'life' and we fall into the deep black hole.

It may take a while to get back out, some say twice as long to get out as it does to fall in. "3-to-5" I say, three to five years to climb back to the top of the hole. But the journey is so well worth it. The things that you learn on the long climb out of the hole opens your eyes to many things.

You learn about yourself, about just how strong you really are. And you are very, very strong indeed. Your mind goes to places that few get the opportunity to go to, (and would not want them to go to), and you learn how to live again. It is like being reborn, a second chance at life, a chance to make things right and a chance to help others. Just like Rob is doing now.

I wouldn't wish what we went through on anyone, not even for our worst enemies. However, what I learned about life on my journey I could not have learned any other way. And for that I am very grateful. More grateful still to those who stuck by me.

Each of us who have been in the dark hole have a responsibility. A responsibility to help others; to help those who are going through tough times, to provide an insight for those who have not been there nor should ever want to, and to ensure that as few people as possible have to fall into the abyss.

Rob Mokaraka is a brave man, he relives his dark time night after night in his show. He does this to help others. Thank you Rob.