I’ll be honest, I hate this post and I have ever since I knew I’d write it. You might wonder why I would write a post that I hate this much and it would make sense to ask that. The reason is partly simple and partly complicated but the best answer is a single word. Vulnerability. I’ve written a lot of things that have shared struggles or flaws but this is a bit different. It’s different because I’m writing from a place of current struggle rather than a place of past pain and it’s a pretty shitty place to be.
A while back when Robin Williams died, I wrote a post sharing that I myself have struggled with depression. When I wrote it, I was in a pretty good spot really. My meds were working and I was pretty much good on a day to day basis. That’s not true at the moment. Things have been really heavy lately. My reason for sharing this, is not to whine about how hard things are. It’s really more to speak it. If I speak it, I move away from denial and honestly, I need to move away from denial. I have shared that I’m struggling with a few people and honestly, the struggle has some pretty real things at the center of them but I haven’t been fully open about it. Here’s the truth. My depression affects my work, my recreation, my service in church, and probably most profoundly, my relationships with those closest to me. All of us have bad days but for someone with anxiety and depression, a bad day feels apocalyptic. A minor mistake at work suddenly feels like firing is imminent. A minor disagreement with my wife feels like the last straw for her in our relationship and she will be packing up and leaving. A little extra sass from the boys feels like they think I’m the worst parent on the planet. It doesn’t stop there though. The feeling of fear related to work turns into hours scouring the help wanted section so I can get a jump on what I “know” is coming. The fear of losing my wife turns into hours spent trying to figure out how we will navigate life as divorced parents. I know it sounds laughable to say these things (and it is in a way) but I can assure you, it feels anything but funny. When not feeling and acting panicked about the worst that’s coming, it’s about the only “safe” thing to do, to isolate and pull back from life. This affects relationships more than anything else really. Kids wonder where you went and what you are doing. Those that don’t get it, might feel like you were angry and then get defensive and angry in return which is definitely a messy mix of interaction.
Maybe you struggle and you know what I’m talking about. Maybe you know somebody that might, or definitely does struggle. I’m going to link to a couple of articles that might be helpful either if you struggle, or if someone you know might struggle with depression or some other mental illness. There is also a book that’s just out called All the Things We Never Knew by Sheila Hamilton which is her memoir about losing her husband to suicide shortly after he was diagnosed as bi-polar and how she missed the signs of his illness. It’s a powerful read and you can check it out here. http://www.amazon.com/All-Things-We-Never-Knew/dp/1580055842
If you know someone, or think someone you know might be dealing with this, don’t blow it off. Reach out, let them know they are loved and that you want to help and then follow through.