Friday, January 30, 2015

Paul Robinson is Depressed

On my Hulu episode of Neighbours, Paul Robinson is depressed. His niece Kate was killed, and he's partly to blame for that.

Paul's nephew Daniel tried to help Paul by getting him outside into the fresh air.  Paul was reluctant, but eventually gave in.  They went on a walk together and ended up at the nursery.

I don't remember how it happened, but Paul started helping with the plants. With this, his mood picked up a little.  On days after that, he returned to do more work.

Sonya, who works at the nursery, felt a bit put out about Paul being there. She felt he had to be watched like a child. I'm not sure if she felt stressed because he was bad with plants and was causing damage. Or she was stressed by his fragile emotional state?  Either way I feel for her. I think it's hard being around depressed people.

But still, I think she could handle it. She's supposedly into helping people and even does counseling work. Although this is mostly with alcohol abuse. Maybe depression is out of her range.

On an episode I watched recently, Sonya pretty much told Paul to get lost.
She said it in a very gentle way.  She said his problems were very serious, and she worried having him work at the nursery was like putting a bandaid on the problem. His needs are beyond what she can handle and he needs professional help.

I was annoyed by this. I disagree with Sonya.

I won't say Paul doesn't need professional help. Therapy might help.

But I think what will help his depression more is working at the nursery.  It gave him a purpose in life.  It made life a little less dark.

Working at the nursery might have been a bandaid for Paul, but I'm thinking that's what depressed people need.  They need to have comforting things to make life more bearable—a volunteer position, chores, a TV show they love, a video game, a crafting hobby, a website to explore,  a new goal, etc.

Paul ended up talking to a therapist who almost immediately suggested medication. Paul quickly said no, but Karl the therapist talked him into considering it. He said drugs can help Paul feel better, but of course they'd also need to talk.

I just don't see how talking and medication would be better than working in a nursery.

What's there to talk about?  Paul and the therapist already know why Paul's depressed. What's the point of rehashing the whole thing?

Does talking about our problems help us?  Or does dwelling on our problems lower our mood?

I tend to believe it lowers our mood. That's not to say I think we should bottle up all our feelings.  I think venting is helpful to some degree...in some cases more than others.

But I think it's more helpful to give people the change to feel needed, and/or to bring purpose back in their lives.

If Paul could wake up in the morning and actually look forward to taking care of the plants in the nursery, I'd say that was a very good thing.

I felt Neighbours was pushing an agenda—the idea that mental illness is a disease that needs to be treated by highly trained professionals.  Amateurs should step back and let the doctors step in.  But why can't both step in? Why can't Sonya and Karl, AND other people help pull Paul back into the light?

I wish Sonya had said something like this to Paul, it's great having you work in the nursery. It's so nice to have extra hands here. I hope you continue to work with us here. But I think it would be helpful for you to talk to a therapist.

OR maybe she did say that. I kind of forget.

 I'm pretty sure she didn't.

I think she pretty much rejected him. I'd say rejection is probably one of the last things a depressed person needs. Sometimes it can't be helped, of course. It's not fair to keep someone around just to avoid them being depressed. But to reject someone BECAUSE they're depressed seems a bit wrong to me.  Well, no. I did say above that it's hard to deal with other people's depression. So I can have some sympathy towards someone rejecting a depressed person. It's better, though, if people can brave it out and stick with the depressed person.  And we certainly shouldn't reject a depressed person simply because we feel we're not trained enough to deal with them.  If we're helping them feel better, then I think we should continue with what we've been doing.  Medication and talking to a professional can be added to the helpful stuff we're doing, but I don't think the medication and therapy should replace it.