Wednesday, July 10, 2013
I posted something on Facebook last night that I think is worth repeating - so I'm posting it here too. I have struggled with depression for many, many years - often times believing (wrongly) that I was all alone. Now I know better. Now I'm getting help. Now I feel the need to reach out to others who might be suffering - silently - all alone. If you too suffer from depression, please know that you are not alone. And don't give up. Never, ever give up. You have nothing to feel ashamed of. You have done nothing wrong. Depression is an illness - like any other. There is help available and as long as help is out there, there's hope. Reach out, reach up - just reach however you can - for a hand to help you up and out of that very dark place. You are worth it. We all are.
Without further delay, here's the FB post from last night. . .
Facebook is again asking, "what are you doing?" It does that alot, I'm sure, I just don't notice it alot. But I noticed it tonight and so I thought. . . hmm, maybe I should tell what I'm doing. So here goes. I'm sitting here thinking about depression. I didn't think of it on my own - least I don't think I did. I saw a video on FB last night. It was this young man talking about his two lives and about the pain of depression. In his one life, he was this handsome, popular young man, making music, socializing with friends galore, spending time with his loving family, making people happy and being a genuine all-'round nice guy . . . in the eyes and minds of others. His other life . . . his REAL life. . . was him hiding his truth because of the stigma attached to that reality. In his REAL life, he was a depressed mess on a daily basis. But he didn't want others to know. He didn't want his secret to get out. Because that. . . would change everything. People wouldn't look at him the same. They wouldn't seem him in the same positive light. Rather, they would see him as damaged and sick and quite possibly contagious. So he didn't tell. He kept his secret safe. He kept himself safe. Except from himself. He had thoughts of suicide - very real thoughts - that plagued him from time to time and he feared that he might not be safe in his own company. But still. He didn't tell. He kept his secret. He kept living two lives. Today, I read a blog entry about depression and the lows one experiences when left untreated. The question for the blogger was whether or not to medicate. Would taking medication somehow make her - not her? She feared losing a part of herself because with her depressive lows also came some incredible highs. She didn't want to lose the high part of herself. The mountains. She wanted to keep the mountains and get rid of the valleys. She also wrote about living in fear. Depression does that. It keeps its victims fearful. And that fear can be more debilitating than the depression itself. A blog commenter said that 1 in 3 Americans suffer from depression. I don't know if that's accurate, but it certainly could be. And if it is? Wow! 1 in 3? That's like 3 supreme court justices or 3 major league baseball players from the same team, or 3 and 1/2 football players also from the same team or 33 of our elected senators or 2,000,000 Missourians or 154,000 Kansas Citians or 16 of my co-workers or. . . well, it means ALOT! That many people suffering with depression and yet. . . it's not really talked about. It's hidden. People suffering from depression live two lives - one that's acceptable to society at large and then their real life. The one that sucks. Alot! And it's hidden because why? Because it's taboo or there's a stigma or it's shameful or. . . why? I don't think folks suffering from depression just wake up one day and say, "hey, I think I'll become a sad, isolated, hopeless, unmotivated, apathetic, suicidal mess today." Do they? No, no, surely not! Anymore than a person suffering from diabetes decides on that particular disease. If I fall and fracture my foot, I am not ashamed to call work - report what happened - and take time off to go to the doctor. But if I fall into a state of depression, there is no way, no how that I would call my employer and say, "I feel like killing myself today so I'm going to take the day off and go see my doctor." And really, when you think about it, which of these two really NEEDS to see the doctor? One can recover from a fractured bone. I don't think there's any coming back from DEAD. So what I'm thinking about tonight is the wrong way people with mental illness are treated by society at large. We can do better. We should do better. And that's what I'm doing. Thinking about being better. Thinking about helping the world be better. How about you?