Apathy and Depression Runs in the Family

I’ve been a bad blogger. I broke my promise of publishing at least one post a week. It has been two weeks and two days since my last post, and for that I am sorry. The thing is, I’ve had a lot going on. I had finals at school, ran into an old acquaintance who completely threw my life into a negative down spiral for a week, have been working like crazy and have been busy writing and editing for HUSH Magazine as their new website will be launching in just a couple of hours. On top of that, my grandmother has been very ill and family time has been of utmost importance to me lately.

The good news is, I received all of my final grades back and ended the semester with two A pluses and one A minus. All of my anxiety and stress over my schoolwork paid off. I would say it was all for nothing, but the truth is, anxiety is my blessing as well as my curse. It has driven me to very dark, scary places, but it has also driven me to reach my goals and fulfill my capabilities. Oh, and the acquaintance I ran into? Well, other than almost getting tangled up in a very frightening web of drugs and gangsters, I managed to escape with my life. Here’s hoping it’s the last time I run into somebody like that from my past. Work -although time-consuming- is just fine and I’m working towards financial (debt) freedom, so I’m finding I’m able to breathe a little easier. And HUSH has been wonderful for me. I find myself a little lost sometimes as it is a new role for me and I am facing a learning curve, but I love that I have such a kick-ass forum to express myself and do what I’m most passionate about. All in all, I am in a really good place right now and I have not felt truly anxious or depressed for quite some time. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for my poor grandma.

It is so hard to watch someone who has reached the end of their life. Not that my grandma’s literally on her death bed or anything, but since my grandpa died it has been a slow decline for her. After being diagnosed with early alzheimer’s, she was prescribed medication which was supposed to slow the process of her memory degeneration down. Unfortunately, she has experienced every side effect possible with this drug, the most troubling of which is apathy. While my mom and my aunt are fussing over the fact that she has completely lost her appetite and almost refuses to eat, I am more worried about her state of indifference and her lack of passion for life.

Despite being pale and grey, she doesn’t want to go outside to get any sun or fresh air. Despite wasting away, she has no interest in eating. Despite potentially having years of life left, she refuses to enjoy a single minute of it. This is not completely new. My grandma has been the apathetic type for a long time. She’s never had a zest for life that drove her to do anything truly incredible or exciting. It seems as if most of her life has been a chore and now she’s just tired of it all. I remember finding a book about depression on her bedside table years ago, and I think that if mental illness runs in the family, it has definitely been passed down from her side.

The problem is, you will never get better if you do nothing to help yourself. I am proof of that. I did nothing to help myself for years before starting this blog and making a commitment to my own happiness and well-being this year. Nothing changed until I changed. Likewise, I know that if we could just get my grandmother to reignite whatever spark fuelled her passion for life in times gone by, it might just be possible to save her. Unfortunately, I don’t believe she will ever get that spark back.

I wish there was something we could do to help her. I wish there was a pill or a shot that we could give her that would heal her. But with depression, there is no magic cure. We have taken her off the medication that has been giving her these side effects, but there is no way for us to magically cure her sadness or her apathy. We can support and encourage her, but only she can cure herself. In my heart, I don’t believe she will fight for herself, and so there is nothing to do but watch and wait for the inevitable to come. It is a slow and painful process.

I refuse to be my grandmother. It breaks my heart to see her this way, but I have learned that I do not own the problems of others. I will be there for her every step of the way, but I won’t let it bring me down. And one day when I’m old and grey, my thirst for life will still be unquenchable. I will never give up.

I know how hard it can be to pull yourself out of the black hole of depression. I’ve been there. I’ve wanted to give up. I’ve wanted to die. But now I know that it’s possible to overcome it, and it’s never too late. Whether you have to change your lifestyle, quit your job or vent your problems to the world like I have done in this blog, the most important thing is that you do what you need to do to feel better. There is always a better tomorrow waiting just around the corner. My tomorrow is here today and I’m so happy I’m still here to enjoy it. For my grandma, her tomorrow seems bleak because she has already given up. I wish I could make her see how wonderful the rest of her life could be if she’d only make the commitment to try to enjoy it. But, just like everybody, she only sees what she wants to see. There is nothing I or anybody else can do to change that. I wish her the best and I love her with all my heart. My love goes out to my grandma -my “nanny”- and to all those suffering from depression and a lack of passion for life. I cannot change the way you view the world, but I can assure you, it can be so much better with a different set of lenses.

 
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