It’s not an illness I particularly believe in and my disbelief stems from the time I knew Bridget. For years and years Bridget led a normal life, held a managerial job, and had a busy social calendar.
Then one day everything changed. I hadn’t seen Bridget for a while and when I checked up on her she told me she had been diagnosed with agoraphobia and chronic depression.
For two years Bridget didn’t set foot outside her house. I tried to be supportive, and visited as often as I could, but this became increasingly difficult. After the first year I would have stopped going, but Bridget’s husband asked me not to give up.
I found it hard to understand her depression. She had everything her heart desired: a loving husband, two healthy kids, a successful career, a beautiful house, a fast car, and an ever growing bank account. What was there to be depressed about?
I wasn’t the only one who found Bridget’s condition difficult to cope with. While her husband has been very supporting in the beginning, the extended situation took its toll on him too.
To cut a long story short, shortly after Bridget’s second depression anniversary, Gustav, her husband, couldn’t take it anymore and announced he was moving out and he was taking the kids with him.
Just as suddenly as Bridget’s agoraphobia and chronic depression had appeared, so it disappeared. Within ten days she made a full recovery.
On the other hand there is Louise. Louise was on her way home after a week-long camping trip in Namaqualand with three of her girlfriends, when they noticed a newspaper headline announcing that four young men had been killed in a car fire. They shook their heads in sympathy and speculated what this must be like for their families.
Louise was about to find out. Upon her arrival home, her husband informed her that their eldest son, Lawrence, along with three of his friends, had been killed.
Louise had every reason to fall into a depression, but she didn’t. A week after the funeral, she was back at work. She was far from her old cheerful self, but she couldn’t lie down and give up. She had a husband and two kids to take care of and a mortgage to pay.
She rejected the idea medication, stating that she preferred to grieve. Neither was she in favor of therapy, she didn’t see the point in talking. That wouldn’t bring Lawrence back.
Later that year when asked how she was feeling, Louise said “There’s a time to grieve and there’s a time to live.”