Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Depression and Mental Health Awareness - Authors Speak Out

Goodbye, Robin Williams. Rest peacefully, sweet man.

Like everybody else I am extremely saddened about Robin Williams' death. Unfortunately, I'm not as shocked as most people I know.

You see, I suffer from depression too, sometimes severe and quite debilitating, and a couple of times on the verge of suicide.

Life is overwhelming. It's scary. It's...depressing. Not just a little...a lot. Sometimes.

Like my mother before me and my mother before her, I suffer from clinical depression. I have trouble dealing with things other people take in their stride, often things other people find trivial.

Many people can't begin to understand how terrible depression is, my youngest daughter included. She thinks I can flip a switch and feel better. I get the impression she thinks I'm being selfish when I'm in a deep depression.

I do my best to consider other people's needs and feelings, not to put myself first. I attend work 9-5 five days a week. I support my family. I come home and make dinner and clean house. Now I write and promote my books which is my second job and which provides extra income that helps my family.

Medicine helps a lot. I try to remember to take all my meds. There have been times I couldn't afford my copays for a few months, unfortunately. There was the time I was deathly sick with pneumonia and forgot to take them. Then there have been a couple times when I took my medicine faithfully but it just stopped working for me.

I don't want to be depressed. Believe me I want to be happy. I'm pretty sure most people would choose happiness over depression. I don't understand why anyone would think we would choose to be depressed. Maybe they think we want pity? I don't want pity! I want happiness! I want understanding! I want support!

Fortunately, I have wonderful doctors who help me. Also, one of my best friends suffers from depression so badly she misses work a lot and she'll cancel out on plans a lot. I feel bad for her, however, it is good to commiserate about this with a kindred soul.

Sometimes I think I wouldn't be here if it weren't for my family. I'm the primary bread winner and they depend on me. I can't afford to give in to my depression, at least not all the way. Many days I have to force myself to go to work and function. A lot of times it's a major struggle, but I keep my head down and carry on. I can't say I've always been as good about my writing. I let a big funk stop me from writing for a couple years.

But I'm writing again and this time it's helping me to feel better, at least somewhat if not completely. It's my therapy. It gives me something else to focus on. It gives me happiness. Unfortunately my youngest daughter is not happy because I'm spending too much time writing and promoting my writing (aka ignoring her). Don't worry--she's twenty-three so I'm not shirking parental duty. However, even with my medicines I'm afraid I'd sink into depression again if I stopped doing what makes me happy.

Thus, while I'm very sad that Robin is gone and that he felt so unhappy he took his own life, I don't judge him. I think I understand and have shared a lot of the emotions that he must have felt shortly before his death.

If you suffer from depression, I send my love, support, and prayers. If you don't suffer from it and are close to someone who does, I hope you'll try to understand and know that it isn't directed at you. It's an illness, one that feels as physically debilitating to me as that pneumonia I had a few years ago. Unfortunately, it's way tougher to get over than even pneumonia.

Please join us today starting at 9 am EST at the authors Depression and Mental Heath Awareness event on Facebook. This event will run through 9 pm EST September 5th. Let's bring awareness and understanding and help people who feel ashamed for suffering from this illness. Let's show them they're not alone.

No comments:

Website Content and Copy: Ashley Ladd, 2008.|Blog Design by JudithShakes Designs.
Graphics hosted by Flickr.