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Poison, Toxicity, and Depression

Poison comes in many forms. You can ingest the poison, your skin can absorb it, there are the poisons you can breathe in, and emotional poison from toxic people. It is all around us. How we react to any particular poison is very personal.

People handle everything in this world differently, and how we handle something one time might not be the same the next time. Take poison ivy.

Some have no or mild reactions to poison ivy, claiming immunity. I am well aware of people like that because I was one of them. (The keyword here is "was" I recently had an experience with it, and it put me out of commission for almost a full three weeks!) You might not react to a particular poison the same way each time. That is why we should be aware of our surroundings. (Needless to say, I was unaware the poison ivy was there when I was exposed. Even with my notion of immunity, I still made a point of avoiding it when I saw it.)

The image above is poison ivy. Learn to recognize it. "Leaves of three; let it be!"

At one point during my battle with poison ivy, I believed I would never get better. I truly felt, "This is my life now. I will never go outside again." I was so sad I asked my husband to kill me in my sleep and was angry with him the next morning when I awoke. Many people thought I was "overdramatic." At the moment, I did not think so and, having people who rolled their eyes and discounted my feelings did not help. When I started healing, I looked back at the situation. I giggled a bit at my request of my husband. I thought of the people who rolled their eyes. I stopped giggling. I was angry. Looking back, I could see that it might seem silly to feel the way I did; however, while I was in it, my feelings were legitimate for me at that moment. Who were these people to scoff at how I felt? They weren't going through what I was, and they were not me. It was unfair and unkind.

Respecting someone's feelings is vital to their well-being. Although others have suffered through poison ivy, I hadn't. It affected me differently than it did others. Maybe mine was more severe. Maybe it wasn't. It is irrelevant because my feelings and reactions were mine and genuine to me, especially at that moment, I needed love, support, and understanding, not eye rolls.

Just like poison ivy, reactions to toxic people in an individual's life vary. We do not get to choose how an individual reacts. Nor should we. People, events, memories, moments, they all affect each of us differently. Some people handle life with ease; others do not, and there is a whole spectrum between those two extremes. Be kind. That's the foundation of what each of us needs to do. Do you want to help? Be kind. Be supportive. Be helpful. If you do not have those skills, then at the very least, do not discount another's feelings. It's not fair. It is not helpful.

Depression happens for many reasons. We know the happiest people may be suffering silently inside, and we never know until it is too late. Be kind. If you do not have the skills to help, direct them to someone who does. Don't jump to conclusions and don't decide that "they shouldn't feel that way" about any given situation. Listen. Pay attention to one another. Stop looking at the screens and look into people's eyes beyond their smiles. Make sure they match. Sometimes we can know someone is suffering if we take the few extra seconds to look at them and pay attention.

Love Lots; Smile Often


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