Stigma – Mental Illness

I love when I find another posting that gives me a starting place to write since my mind is struggling so hard to have any focus these days.  The blog post after my own ramblings is what got me going today.

Remember back in high school how loud and boisterous and goofy I was? I was depressed. Remember going out dancing and laughing and going til all hours of the night sharing stories and talking about dreams? I was depressed. Remember when we went camping and we just were hanging out reading out books and having a beer and enjoying the sun? I was depressed.

I have suffered and struggled with depression most of my life. Often with good reason. I have endured many struggles and challenges. My grandmother when she was about 80 years old called me an old woman. Because I had lived so much life in my then 35 years.  Through counseling and therapy it has been determined  I have endured the depression itself for over 40 years.

For much of the time, you would never know it.  When I’m just dealing with it I just deal with it.  I try not to make IT the focus of my every day.  But for the last year, more and more I am sharing it because more and more it is taking over my life.  I keep plunging down further.

I share mostly by writing.  By postings on my FB page.  Or in my therapy or support group.  It’s too hard to share in person.  All I do is cry or get angry so talking with anyone is just not something I have been able to do very well.   And of course….it makes you uncomfortable to see my crying or hear that I wake up each day and battle all day long with the ideas of do I want to continue or not.

This young man most likely is not in the deepest valley as he is giving this talk.  He likely didn’t sit on the edge of his bed the morning he did this deciding if he wanted to live through the day or not.  He is most likely either on a peak, or at least able to rest somewhere along one of the mountain sides he traverses with his illness.  I say this because there have been times in my depression where I am able to be in front of people.  There have been times living with depression that I have been high functioning and going about my day quite like you do, only with a constant cloud over all that I do.

But currently…..I am in what feels like the deepest cavern I have ever experienced in my life.  Breathing is an effort.  Getting out of bed to go to the bathroom or try to eat something is overwhelming.   Yet, I know I am doing the best I can today.  I have been seeing my doctor and therapist.  I am taking my medications.  I really try to get out of bed and do something purposeful or enjoyable each day.  Yet there are many days it doesn’t work.  And I can’t do it consistently.  And life….it is just time passing by.  Staying here in bed and doing nothing has kept me breathing.  But it isn’t feeling much like living.   I am just trying to get through by keeping that window cracked to allow enough light in to remind me that there is hope on the other side.  It’s so faint these days.

I have struggled and overcome and persevered and lived through much in life already.  I am not sharing all of this to make you pity me or feel sorry for me.  I am sharing it because I think too often  depression is worsened by not being able to share it.  It’s a very lonely road.  In being selfish….I am reaching out trying to just still be part of the world even tho it’s so dark here where I am right now. Maybe I am searching for a little validation.  My coping with my physical pain and emotional pains is at an all time low.  I don’t like it and if I could make it stop or go away I would.  But I can’t.