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How do you save yourself when you stop trying?”
This question was a bit vague so thank you for taking the time to give me more context. I understand you have struggled with deep, deep depression over the years and have recently gone through a period of illness and profound loss. First and foremost, I will say that I think you should reach out to a professional since I’m just a dude in a dress and clown makeup and my advice reflects that. There is a huge difference between being sad and being clinically depressed and I’d be remiss if I didn’t implore you to reach out to a specialist.
You may be thinking: “WHY DIDN’T YOU JUST TELL ME THAT IN THE FIRST PLACE?! WHY MAKE ME WAIT FOR THIS DAMNED ARTICLE?” Well, I’d like to share something with you…and my readers. Society places a great deal of stigma on mental health issues, making it difficult to be open and honest about them or to get the proper care. People are seen as weak or broken. That is not the case at all. What you’ve gone through some call a ‘Dark Night of the Soul’, where everything just falls apart. I call it a ‘2007’.
Statistics state that 3.4% of all adults in the United States suffer from major depression while 9% suffer on occasion. Like you, I have wrestled with depression for many years, pretty much my entire life. For me, it started around 5 or 6 and gradually got worse as I moved into my teens and adulthood. I could barely keep my head above the water, years and years lost in a haze…I’d be granted temporary relief then back into the haze I’d go. There goes another year.
Everything came to a head after I experienced a series of devastating losses in 2007 – a trifecta: my biological, adopted and step father. All within six months of each other. I broke down and felt like my world was crumbling around me, not because I was close to any of them (I wasn’t) but the collective loss and all the “daddy issues” I had (and there are a plethora) came rushing to the fore and was just too much for me to cope with. I did seek professional help – for the first time in my life – and I also did a lot of internal work.
As I start 2015, I am so glad I made it through 2007. That doesn’t mean that my life is perfect and that I don’t still struggle – I do…but each day I find more and more reasons to stay…and I guess that is how you save yourself…you look for and find reasons to stay. Be they small or large…one reason at a time.
The haze is always in my periphery and I’m sure a time will come where I’m pulled back in but until then, I enjoy each and every moment in the light. And I know if I go back in, I have a lot of people on my side to help pull me back or wait until I re-emerge on my own. How very Carol Anne of me! (That’s a Poltergeist reference for all you kids out there).
I could have just told you privately to call a doctor…but I know you’re not the only person dealing with this. You are not alone and there is support for you, both professionally and personally. I mean, you reached out to me! That tells me you’re on the right road. Keep me posted and know I’m in your corner, cheering you on.
And I’m glad you’re still here.
Your Homegurl for Life,