Mental health disorders have a way of isolating those who suffer. Logically, they know that they have a solid support system of family, friends and partners/spouses. But mental illness and depression specifically says otherwise. It makes that person feel alone, that everyone around them is lying. The only thing that is honest is their depression.
Recently, the rock band Disturbed released their latest song and accompanying video, “A Time To Fight“.
The thing that strikes me about this song and the video is that it negates the idea that those who suffer from depression and other mental illnesses suffer are alone. There are millions of us who wake up everyday with this weight on our emotional shoulders.
Knowing that we are not alone, that there are many out there who suffer from this disease is important not just for those who live with mental illness, but for those who love them. That knowledge, from my perspective, is the most important aspect of not just treatment, but living a full life.
Mental illness affects millions of people around the world.
Mary Cregan knows all too well the pain that mental illness can bring. In her new book, The Scar: A Personal History of Depression and Recovery, she talks about her own bout with mental illness and how she was able to survive.
When she was in her late 20’s Ms. Cregan had it all: a job that made her happy, a loving marriage and a soon to be new addition to the family. The joy of a new child soon turns to grief when the baby dies two days after she is born. The death of her daughter plunges her into depression and thoughts of suicide. Years later, in writing this book she reflects on her deeply personal and heartbreaking experience with mental illness while talking about the history of how mental illness was viewed and treated.
One of the most glaring aspects of mental illness, from my own experience, is the feeling of being alone in the world. Ms. Cregan’s book reminds me that those of us who suffer from mental illness are not alone. We may not have asked to join millions of others who suffer from mental illness, but it brings us together in a way that allows us live full lives while grappling with a disease that will always be part of us.
I recommend it.
Earlier this week, you know who took another swipe at the ACA.
If he had attempted the same thing six months ago (not that its first time he’s tried to remove the ACA), I think my response would be of a general outrage. This time, the potential removal of the ACA is personal.
I wrote a while back about an unexpected curve ball that was thrown my way.
That curve-ball is a change to my career that I did not see coming. As of the end of next month, I will be out of work. My employer is generous to include health insurance in the severance package, but that health insurance is temporary.
The fact is that health insurance is a necessity. Not just to ensure that I have continued access to the mental health professionals who help me to live with my depression, but to provide access to my regular doctor.
Health insurance is a human right, not a privilege. No one should be denied access to a doctor because they cannot afford the appointment or have to go into debt to remain healthy.
But then again, some politicians are so blind that they prefer to save their own skins instead of supporting the voters who hired those politicians to represent them.
Music and art in general has a way to freezing a moment in time.
16 years ago yesterday, Evanescence released what would be a career defining album for the band: Fallen.
Back then, I was a senior in my last semester of college. Graduation and the real world was on the horizon. Being in your early 20’s and knowing that you have an uncertain future is harder when you live with mental illness.
I didn’t know that I was living with depression back then. I didn’t know that I had options to deal with the emotional black hole and anxiety that is depression.
Then Fallen was released. Not only had I found a band whose music absolutely rocked my world, but an outlet to release the darkness that was inside of me.
To this day, Fallen is one of my favorite albums and my go to music when I feel the tentacles of depression spreading.
Thank you, Evanescence, for this amazing album. I don’t know where my life would be without it.
There are some illnesses that are obvious via physical symptoms. The various forms of mental illness are very often referred to as invisible illness because symptoms are not always obvious to the naked eye.
I have lived with depression for years. It often speaks for me when I cannot. The problem is that when it speaks for me, it does not speak the truth.
Courtesy of fanpop.
It speaks of my anxieties, my insecurities. It reveals that in spite of all I have worked for and achieved, I am still worth nothing. The people in my life are lying to me. I am worth nothing and the only place I should be is the grave.
If we have a conversation and my depression decides to speak for me, please pardon me. It is not me who is speaking, but one who has taken over my tongue and my thoughts. It is my depression.
One of the telltale signs of depression is low self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness.
Many, if not all of my readers know that depression is my unwanted constant companion.
Recently, I have been trying to put plans together for a potential mini-vacation later this year. The planning of this vacation has not been going as I hoped it would be.
When you live with depression, you live in fear of rejection, whether it is real or imagined. This real rejection that I have been dealing with lately has become another emotional weight on my shoulders.
Logically, I know that this rejection is not personal. But emotionally, this rejection feels personal. It is a reminder that I am worthless and unimportant.
I know that this too shall pass. At some point, the plans for this potential mini-vacation will come together. But until then, the sting of the rejection remains.
Yesterday, I spoke about an experience at work that triggered my depression.
Today, I am happy to report that it was a better day. My depression will never fully go away, but at least the issue that triggered my depression was dealt with.
When one’s mental illness is triggered, it akin to trying to climb out of a hole made of sand or dirt. You try to climb out with everything you have, but all you get is dirty fingernails, complete exhaustion and feeling like you will never be able to get out of this hole.
I was surrounded by love today, which helped immensely. I was also given a hug by a young boy whom I have never met before. It felt like G-d was saying that I would be OK.
Today was a better day.
When one lives with mental illness, the best one can hope for is an emotionally even keel day.
Today was not one of those days. I had a moment today that triggered my depression. While I will not get into the details, I will say that I was not a happy camper when I left the office.
Depression is like a ball and chain that one is forever dragging around. The key to unlock it is nowhere to be found and there is no metal smith to break the chain. Depending on how the day has gone, the ball can vary in weight, but it never ceases to weigh me down.
As I write this post, it’s nearly 10:00 in the evening. The day and the trigger are over.
But the depression remains.
I want you to imagine the following scenario: You have everything you have ever wanted.
If you are single, you are enjoying the single life. If you are married or in a steady relationship, that relationship is going strong. Your children, if you have children, are happy and healthy. Your career is satisfying. Your social network outside of your immediate family is also thriving. But inside of you, there is a dark void. Nothing can fill that void and as much as you try to put on the mask of having a good life, that mask can easily crumble into your hands.
This is depression.
The new song Zero, by Imagine Dragons is part of the Ralph Breaks The Internet soundtrack.
The song hits the nail on the head. Depression is like an emotional wormhole that sucks out all of the good things in your life and leaves on the constant reminders of the bad things. It revels in your mistakes, your flaws and your anxieties. It reminds you how useless and stupid you are. Worst of all, it prompts you to take your own life.
The worst part of living with mental illness is not the mental illness, but the stigma attached. If this song helps one person to ask for help, then it is more than a song. It it a lifesaver.