Thursday / September 22 / 2011
The journey of depression through vulnerability and rain
Depression doesn’t mix well with rain. To me, rainy days are like depressed days, vulnerable and crying. Whether you’re a depression sufferer or not, rainy days tend to be… well, depressing.
The moment I hit “publish” on my post, Dealing with depression: a personal story, a slew of doubts flooded my mind questioning, “Should I have shared all of that!?” “Have I become too exposed?” “Will people look at me differently?”
I was in the car with my husband and daughter when my iPhone vibrated. The first comment was in.
So raw. So honest. So shared.
As my eyes scanned the heartfelt words of James Hood, they brimmed with moisture. I closed them softly and let the hot tears cascade down my cheeks. James gave me the gift of affirmation, reminding me precisely why I shared my story.
Comment after comment poured in on my most vulnerable post. Some on my blog, many in private phone calls and emails. Each with a vulnerability of its own. Each with an affirmation of its own. Each touching my heart as I listened to the stories of so many – of sufferers and supporters alike.
I arrived at work the following day to a group hug from Carrie and Patti, gifting me with affirmation. You see, we’re not just co-workers. We are friends. Sharing-life-together kind of friends.
For me, the affirmation was like a rainbow after the rain. A quiet voice reminding me, “your life is not a mistake. you are not alone. keep seeking help until you find what works for you.” I recognized that even in the darkness of depression, there is a ray of hope, shining – and even if it’s only a pinprick beacon, I want desperately to share it with everyone who suffers.
The number of us who suffer with depression – and with people’s misperceptions of depression – is overwhelming. Here’s the truth about depression:
It is not something you can just “get over”.
It is not a personal weakness.
It is not a choice.
It is not a dirty little secret that should stay hidden.
It is not just “all in your head”.
It is not a ‘crazy’ issue – at all!
It is not even a ‘sadness’ issue.
You cannot just ignore it and wish it away. When sadness, exhaustion, and apathy begin to take over your life (like they did mine), you need to seek help (like I did) – even (and especially) if you don’t feel like it.
My friends… you are not alone.
My loves… your life is NOT a mistake.
THERE IS HELP. It’s true there is also vulnerability and rain – but with the rain, there also comes a rainbow.
A great place to start is Too Depressed dot com. For creator Martin, it’s personal. He – like many of us – has experienced how damaging depression can be.
Depression is real and is growing alongside the intensified pace and pressures of life. I urge you to reach out to those you cherish. Listen. Learn about coping with and recovering from depression. Care. It matters.