“I cannot imagine a more perfect hell than being trapped inside my own mind.” ~Beth Revis,
As one who has dealt with depression for over 15 years, I would like to take the opportunity to share some of my journey– As a young mother of 20, able to stay home with my new born son, this should have been the happiest time in my life. Instead, I was lost in sorrow and hopelessness. At times I would beg for my husband to just stay home, tears and anguish my constant companions. My poor husband was beside himself, unable to comfort me and unsure of what was happening to his once happy wife. I would sit at the window crying as his car would pull away each day. I did not know what was happening to me, yet I did not seek an answer. I believed that I must hide this “weakness” from friends and family. I put on a front whenever I was in public, not even aware that I was dealing with an illness.
“When you’re lost in those woods, it sometimes takes you a while to realize that you are lost. For the longest time, you can convince yourself that you’ve just wandered off the path, that you’ll find your way back to the trailhead any moment now. Then night falls again and again, and you still have no idea where you are, and it’s time to admit that you have bewildered yourself so far off the path that you don’t even know from which direction the sun rises anymore.” ~Elizabeth Gilbert
Years went on, I’m not sure that I ever got back to “normal” but I improved with time. Just before 23 I gave birth to my daughter. Again, I fell into a depression (although I still did not know this was the name or cause). However, this time I fell lower and deeper; it was hard to hide from my family any longer. My parents finally came to me and theorized that they thought I was suffering with depression. How would they know? Well, you see it is highly genetic on my father’s side of the family. In fact, my parents hid from us that he had suffered with it for most of his life. What? You see, it was so taboo to speak of such things for so long. And, for a man, perhaps even more so, this is seen as a weakness to many.
Well, here I am now, over 15 years later. I have been able to work through my illness with medication, therapy and learning about the disease. I have made it a mission to take the opportunity to share and bring light to this illness, not hide it away. There is still so much unknown about depression, stigma and also those with disbelief of its authenticity. Or perhaps even those who believe you can just, “Pull yourself out of it!” But, depression takes many forms, it is not just sadness but can also show as anger, anxiety, restlessness, hopelessness and more. If you, or someone you know feel you may be suffering from this, I encourage you to reach out to a health professional today.
Last week was “National Suicide Prevention Week.” Bringing light to a terrible illness that still has much stigma around it and to offer hope to those that find themselves with none. Read more at America Foundation for Suicide Prevention.