Okay so here is fear number one. Depression. Recently on facebook I publically outed myself as being diagnosised with depression. That my amigos was a heart stopping, pulse sweating, experience. I think it took me all day to actually do it.
It was Bell’s Let’s Talk day (a day where Bell raises awareness about mental illness). And I knew this was a big fear for me. A couple of you knew, but I would say most didn’t. I didn’t want people to think I was crazy or nuts. I didn’t want to lose respect. I didn’t want to be different in this way.
I had to sit and really think about this (and this thinking has taken place over several years). What is the worse that could happen? Well, I could lose some friends. Some family might think I’ve gone off the deep end. It took some more pondering, would I treat someone I cared about differently knowing that they had a mental illness? No not really, after all they are the same person I knew all along. It’s similar to if I have someone say they have cancer, does that make them less them? No it still makes them the same person just with another mountain to overcome.
The other consideration I have been giving is, I’m kinda of done with skeletons in the closet. I have yet to see anything positive come from secrets (unless you guys are planning some epic trip for me – then secrets are great! or cupcakes……). I have seen some pretty cool stuff happen once secrets are revealed.
I didn’t want to get into the nitty gritty of it in facebook but here are a few things about my depression;
- I was first diagnosised in highschool
- this is not a situational thing where with the magic amount of prayer, faith, positive thinking it disappears – situations can make it worse or better but it’s always present
- I’m on medication for it – and I am extremely thankful for the medication. When it works, it just makes me feel better. I’m not an overtly emotional person and to find myself crying over a TV ad that has kittens in it, is a sign that the medication is a good thing, because then I don’t cry over TV ad with kittens in it.
- I have good days and bad days. I’m getting better at recognizing them and taking the appropriate action.
What also prompted this is my mom is leading a course on Divorce Care and I’ve watched a couple of the DVDs. One of the DVDs was about allowing a person to grieve. That as a society we are too quick to rush over another’s pain….. ‘he wasn’t the right one’ ‘you are better off without him’. If that person appears to grieve too long in their society’s view, then being told things like perk up. Get over it. Or perhaps just not talking about it at all. That person starts seeing someone and right away our society says ‘is he/she the one?’ ‘when’s the wedding?’.
I have to admit I have been guilty of this. I hate seeing loved ones in pain (physical or emotional) so I try to ‘fix it’. And what that taught me, is I need to be better at allowing loved ones to grieve. To have bad days. To be angry. To be sad. That’s it is not up to me to fix it. But it is up to me to be a good friend/family member and love unconditionally. Be that shoulder to cry on. Or take them out for Earl’s bellinis (Earl’s bellinis can fix many a thing wrong, much like ice cream). I say this in that I want to be accountable so that I don’t do this.
The final thought is depression is something I will have to battle with. It’s part of who I am. It’s just how my brain is wired. This doesn’t mean I need to wear a shirt that says I have depression – ask me how! But I need to not be afraid of it. Or afraid if people find out. If I had cancer/diabetes/etc. I wouldn’t feel shameful. Why should I feel fearful because I have clinical depression?