As a person, I have gone through depression. It is not a one-line story. Depression is often neglected and often ignored as taboo in some societies. From my personal experience, I know that some communities even consider depression a mental disease of a rich person (even joked about it like, the people in other income levels don’t have the time to be depressed!).
As I know how painful it can be, I often talk about it and understand the different notions and knowledge about how to positively spread the knowledge to other people to make more awareness. Yes, no particular method is correct for everyone, and you should visit a psychiatrist for a specialized check if you feel depressed. It’s not that I’m here to talk about how to treat depression.
I’m here to share one particular video I have gone through a couple of days ago, powerful. It was an exclusive interview by Today’s Carson Daly (from Today) with 23 times Olympic Gold-medal swimmer, Michael Phelps, and his partner Nicole Phelps.
In this interview, they have touched on several critical aspects we often ignore, even when we talk about depression. So, what the conversation touched upon:
- They spoke about the importance of not being judgmental
It is not right to judge a people from your perspective. You shouldn’t shame a person or try to fix him/her according to your understanding. Each person thinks and feels differently, so your cure formula of getting out of depression will not be successful for another person.
- Teaching their children about their father’s depressed state
Nicole mentioned that she is not a specialist, and she can’t confirm whether it was the right way to convey the message to the children. But it is vital, as you need to provide the perspective so that children can give their father the space he needed to regroup his thoughts.
- Depression is live.
It is real and changes the person’s mood in an instance. Even if the other person adjacent to that depressed person doesn’t understand it, it doesn’t mean it is not real. It is 100% live, 100% on-going stress for the person who is experiencing.
- Regrouping Michael’s thoughts and state
The state change or the mood swing is actual for a depressed person, and the time it hits negatively might be a right time to leave the person alone to take care of the emotional journey (again, it is not a medical prescription, more like a logical presumption). When Michael doesn’t feel like being with the group, he leaves the room and spends time alone in his room to pass through the emotion alone. It is crucial to understand that you can’t help the depressed person at all times with your empathy, care, and support. Sometimes, the person needs alone time, as s/he might not feel like getting any help, support, or suggestions. It is essential, rather than pressurizing the person, always to feel positive.
But one of the most important aspects of the conversation was speaking about Nicole’s stance, speaking from Nicole’s shoes.
When a person is depressed, we often think about that particular person, their ups and downs, mood swings, treatment, well-being, and how to support them. But we often forget that the supporting force, the people close to the person, requires attention.
Without letting them thrive or without taking proper care, that person will suffer too. As Nicole said, it is required to take care of yourself as a person, as you are close to a person having depressed state. If you are also not in your good self, it will hamper the overall process.
It is also important because otherwise, you will also feel the rage and burden of the depressed state inside the house. Nicole mentioned that we require to change the way we look at the depressed person and how we support that person.
Nicole previously spoke about the fear of losing Michael in an earlier interview with Today (you can explore in the following link). She also mentioned that the conversation has to be open-ended, without judgment, and without prejudice. By having the conversation, we can understand another person’s pain and feelings, struggles, importance, feeling state, and adjust accordingly.
As she said, it is a long process, and it takes time to make the necessary adjustments. Validating everyone’s emotion is critical, and opening up about the problems is essential.
I will conclude with some words from Michael.
In the video, he uttered,
“The more you talk about it, the more you feel relaxed, the more you feel you.”
And, as the depressed person doesn’t feel positivity always inside him/her, the other words are also to be remembered,
“It is okay not to be okay.”
Please watch the video in the following. My ask is to convey the importance of support and care (for the depressed person and the supporting person).
Validating everyone’s emotion is required to help the journey smoother for both. And, you never know, perhaps you will be saving a life somewhere around the world by spreading the message.
Written on February 8, 2021
*TODAY All Day. ‘How Michael And Nicole Phelps Talk To Their Kids About Mental Health’. (Link)
*TODAY. ‘Nicole Phelps opens up about fear of losing husband Michael Phelps to depression’. (Link)