I’m joining the blogging community today to shed light on something many of us keep tucked in the dark. If you’re like me, you experienced it without knowing, assuming that all people lived their lives on an emotional roller coaster, destined, once on top, to roll back to the bottom. Always to the bottom. For me, it began in college.
At first, it was an added exhaustion, no matter how late the morning classes or how early the bedtime. In trickled the self-doubt, followed by amateur apathy. I was too busy to not tend to the activities I loved, but I had ceased to look forward to the orchestra rehearsals and coffee dates. Last to enter was the emptiness. Not sadness, exactly, but an inability to feel anything: joy, fear, sadness, love. The feelings I had for people in my life I knew I loved were shrouded in a fog and out of reach. I began to doubt I ever loved them at all. The only emotion that cut through the depression, sharp as a knife, was anger and irritability. The most insignificant things annoyed me to the point of rage: ice trays left empty, people late for appointments, unreasonable homework assignments. I look back now and wonder if I didn’t cover the sadness with that anger, afraid of what it might mean to let myself experience the pain of feeling worthless.
All this, and I had no idea anything was wrong with me, or if I did have a suspicion, the denial hid it cleverly with its stories of stigma, perfectionist excuses, and lack of self care. It took 8 years, the birth of my daughter, and a battle with postpartum depression before I realized I had been suffering from depressive episodes and anxiety for much of my life.
I believe if depression and other mood and anxiety disorders were talked about as openly as cancer and heart disease, patients would have the information they need to identify their struggles as symptoms and to seek help. I believe that if treating those disorders was not shaded in stigma, that people like me would find that they can get better – that there is hope.
I am living proof that you can survive depression and anxiety. I am proof that
good great people can struggle with mental illness. And I am proof that you can be open about your mental health and still have people think you are amazing.
Because, guess what? You are.
From Say It Rah-shay:
#DayOfLight was created to shine a light on depression, and share resources for those who are struggling with the mental illness. Bloggers from all over the country are collaborating on Wednesday, February 5th to flood social media with personal stories about living with depression, and accurate information on managing and living with the mental illness.
How Can You Participate?
- Write a blog post sharing your personal experience of depression and/or share resources to help others. Add the #DayOfLight hashtag in your post title.
- Watch the #DayOfLight Google Hangout on Wednesday, February 5th at 11 AM EST. Tweet and ask questions.
- Participate in the #DayOfLight twitter chat on Wednesday, February 5th at 9 PM EST. Follow @PushingLovely, @NotoriousSpinks, and@BrandiJeter for more information)
- Turn your social media avatars black and white on Wednesday, February 5th so we can visually represent all of those affected by depression.
- Share inspiring tweets, posts, and photos on social media to encourage those who are suffering with depression to let them know that they are not alone. Use the hashtag #DayOfLight