View Of Healing-Part 4 Depression
If the bargaining phase of healing is when a victim is most vulnerable, depression is where they are most in danger. By now the rape victim has come to terms with her attack so far as to admit that it happened. She has been angry and has tried to reason with the world at large, and possibly the attorneys as well, to speed things up and let her heal. The trial may or may not be over by the time they reach this stage. For most it has but no person heals on anybody else's timeline.
At this point all of their emotions have been wrecking havoc and wearing them down. They have most likely been feeling worthless, used, desensitized, cheap, tarnished, or dirty. Many start wondering if they will ever trust again, if they will ever be able to maintain a serious, meaningful, and functional relationship. Considering how poorly their self image likely is now, the answer they are coming up with more often than not is no. She may have put her religious beliefs behind her believing that she must have been meant to be a toy for men to use at their disposal rather than a woman worthy of respect.
It is not uncommon for women to seek balance by engaging in multiple reckless sexual acts in a vain attempt to either punish themselves or try to regain control the wrong way. It is just as common for women to systematically distance herself from all men, including the ones that she previously knew cared about her. In many cases, victims cannot get past feeling like a victim. They are tired of the promise of everything getting better and working out for the best. They have been hearing it ever since she spoke up about the attack and is still waiting for that day when it gets better. In the back of their minds they know that is all likely true but they no longer believe it. It is not wrong, it is normal.
It is more important now than ever that her friends and family stay by her. She is not going to make it easy, she is not going to seem appreciative, she may be unresponsive altogether but even when she's pushing them away, she needs them. She will eventually realize that the people that stayed by her side when she tried so hard to push them away are the ones that really care about her. The other reason it is so imperative to risk angering her by sticking your nose in her business is to make it harder for her to contemplate the unthinkable.
It was made very clear to me that I was lucky in that I had good male friends to lean on during my period of healing. I agreed, but they did not know what I felt like, what I really, truly felt like inside. For that matter, none of my friends did and I had not told my parents. Despite having supportive friends, the naysayers made it easy for me to stay secluded and slip into a depression. Even with them there for me, I felt alone. Eventually I decided that I was too much of a coward to commit suicide but not before I ran through a laundry list of how-to's. There is a great deal of credit that goes to my friends for being more stubborn than me. My support group of friends has made me a rather resilient person but not everyone has what I had. It is important to recognize the signs of depression and to practice tough love if necessary to save your loved one.
Common signs of depression
Depression affects the individual uniquely. Not every person will experience all symptoms and not every symptom will be immediately related to depression. There are some things for loved ones to look for, others that they will have to dig for. The following is a brief list of some of the more common symptoms.
* Development of sleep disorders, getting more or less than normal.
* Development of eating disorders, eating too much or too little if at all.
* Noticeable weight gain or loss.
* Difficulty concentrating.
* Frequent headaches.
* Non-descript body aches.
* Perfectionism, possibly as a result of needing to be in control.
* Unusually irritable.
* Sudden, frequent outbursts.
* Crying spells.
* Drug or alcohol abuse.
* General feeling of hopelessness.