Nov 28, 2011

Say it loud! "I'M SAD & I'M PROUD!"

"A hero is an ordinary person who finds the strength to
persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles."  ~Christopher Reeve

     So, you may have noticed -  it's been a little while since I've posted, and I feel bad.   It's not that I haven't thought about it - or wanted to - or wished I would.  I just COULDN'T seem to eke a word out, let alone a paragraph.   

"Why," I ask myself.

     I guess it just seemed TOO. HARD.  Well, now that I think about it, EVERYTHING seemed too hard; cooking, cleaning, getting up. I think I've been in a funk.  A bad funk....  And.....  Well...... Some might even say.....I was...... Well, that I was..... depressed.

There!  I said it! 

     And to tell you the truth I've been completely embarrassed to admit it to me and to you.  I'm Miss Positive after-all!  The inspirational tweeter!  The person changing her life and helping others!   And worse, what if someone who knows me - a family member , a former student, even a potential employer finds out?!  Then what?!  Would they think less of me?  Would they lose respect?  Would I not get "the job?"  
     These questions kept me concealed in the dark, retreating into myself, getting less and less involved and more and more bummed out - the OPPOSITE of what I needed.  And thus the self-perpetuating shame cycle began, a cascading waterfall that continued picking up steam and pulling in additional destructive qualities; less exercise, less laughter, less self-care, less hope.

Well, I've been thinking about it allot lately, and I've decided I'm gonna go ahead and turn that "WHAT IF?"  into a "SO WHAT?!"    
                           Let's talk about it!

I mean, why SHOULDN'T we?!  Depression is NOT a moral failing. Folks who are depressed are not "broken."  They are not weak. They are not to blame. Losing someone you love, health problems, job separation, relationship stress are all potential triggers that most of us will experience in our lives.  Any one of those things could make us depressed. And when I think about objectively, (not under a shroud of self-blame & recrimination) I've experienced several of those things lately.  (I lost my job, my Dad and partner are seriously ill, my Grandma died, a friend recently committed suicide).  When putting the pieces together, I guess it makes sense.  Of COURSE it makes sense!  It's human. (Although, even if it didn't "make sense" it would still be valid).   Lots of us feel like this - with or without knowing why.

         In fact, did you know that the National Institute of Mental Health estimates that about 14.8 MILLION Americans are clinically depressed in any given year?!  What tha?! And the World Health Organization estimates that 121 MILLION people worldwide are depressed!  Translation: a heck of allota people!  Translation: there are people in your life right now who are, have been, or are going to be depressed.    And you may not know it.  Sadly, shame often prevents folks from admitting it, talking about it, and seeking help.  And that is tragic.  

"It is an odd paradox that society, which can no speak openly 
and unabashedly about topics that were once unspeakable,
still remains largely silent when it comes to mental illness."    ~Glenn Close

     We talk about everything else - why not something so big, so common, and so important?  Remaining silent only serves to further alienate ourselves and those who need us most.  What's more important as a society than addressing the state of our individual and collective mental health? 

     As for me?  I'm doing much better thank you!  I've been sleeping better, thinking better, moving better, feeling better, and ready to do a bunch of posts!  I have allot of hope.   My only wish I didn't have to wait to get better before being comfortable enough to talk about it.


      1. Annie, I completely agree and adore this post! I am truly sick of the expectation to simply "suck it up". I have lived for years with that mentality and it has never served me.

        Common among us with depression are varying disassociated disorders, and the reclusiveness we frequently succumb to only makes matters worse.

        Thank you for writing this!

      2. Greatly appreciated your beautifully written article on being sad. It's a gift to so many. Thank you!