Depression & Surviving: Aesop's Fable - The lion and the torn

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Depression, what a funny name huh? The word itself connotes a slowing down or lack or something. We often imagine the depressed as mundane and self loathing. Which in some cases, may be true. It's mental health awareness week and it's time to change the stigma yes, but also our understanding, knowledge and strategies!

Having depression is extremely confusing, a hostile take over of your brain, it's hard to take a grasp on what's happening to you and your life. For me, I'd describe it more like Aesop's famous fable, The lion and the thorn. Okay, so the moral of that story is that 'One good turn, deserves another.' That's a great lesson to be learnt, but lets look at what actually happens. The lion has a thorn in his paw, given. He shies away in the forest growning in pain, with a swollen and sore limb. In Aesop's idyllic story a guy (Androcles) removes the thorn from the paw, wraps the wound in bandages and the lion is able to walk again. Brave guy! Not only this, the lion then licks Androcles hand. Aww, such a heart warming tale! What I'm focusing on and drawing similarities from here, is if you imagine depression, mental illnesses or any ailment/personal problem as the thorn.

Alife gives a hand: my favourite children's book mum read to me as a child.
Most animals, especially pray animals, will hide all signs of pain. In the wild, if they didn't it would immediately make them an easy target. Of course, they're injured, they are going to be a quick and easy dinner! I learnt this when trying to monitor Bailey's bad leg, which she never let me do or really showed any sign of. Silly prey bunny. Depressed people aren't depressed. They aren't a slowed down, grey, dull mess. It's an extremely stimulating problem, everything's going a hundred miles an hour inside and when teamed with anxiety - is a nightmare. Your body is under your fight or flight mode and the stress... well it's hardly a 'depressed' feeling.

The lion growns in pain and is unable to carry on. In reality, I'm sure he would make terrifying roars if anyone actually made an advance towards him. Behind closed doors or even face to face with somebody, people are hiding their growns and ignoring their pain. Extremely exhausting, it's on 24 hours a day and there's no running from it. It's a disease of the thoughts. Anything can set it off because we're thinking all the time! The lashing out is hidden, or sometimes will bubble up, unable to be contained anymore and you'll see the roar! Just like if you had a splinter in your finger, you'd maybe forget about it until you nudge it and AHHHHHHH. ROAR!!



Maybe it's this modern era, the tech or our increased sophistication as humans that has made us forget to acknowledge our basic animal instincts? What's really the reason people disappear? Personally, I believe this 'thorn theory' is why so many people go into hiding and seem suppressed. It's a 'weakness' and our basic instinct is to conceal it and continue. When your unable to see an illness, like mental health and someone has hidden it for so long, how do we conceive of it's gravity? How big and deep is the thorn? How do we even get close enough for them to let us see it?
Nobody wants to be a loner, an outsider or different. Thinking you have something that other people can't relate to, can literally be alienating if you let it. So if you know somebody struggling with their thoughts right now, just let them speak. Don't be quick to judge, ease the thorn out. Ease them out of hiding! It's going to hurt when you start moving it around, it's going to get worse before it gets better. The scabbing process takes a while, then the scar tissue will form. And guess what? Scar tissue is stronger than normal tissue. A little unsightly for some, but c'mon let's get real. Scars are badass! If you've got them, let them show, be proud!

It means you've survived.

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