Posted by jrmurdock
Because of my foray into podcasting so many years ago, I’ve met a large number of people online that I consider friends. My circle is wide and I keep in touch with as many of them as I can. It’s not always easy and there are times I lose touch. I’m not a perfect person. I do my best and that’s all I can do.
That said, one of those friends was lost last year. I only found out last week. For the individual’s privacy, I will not mention the name or circumstances. The struggle was personal and unfortunately the struggle was lost.
What I will talk about today is depression. Clinical depression.
Let me state here and now, I’m not a professional. I cannot diagnose or help someone suffering from depression. I can offer a ear if you need to talk, but I’m not able to do more than that. If you feel you may suffer from depression, mental illness, or have suicidal thoughts, please seek professional help and get the help you need. If you’re reading this blog, know you mean the world to me and I want nothing but the best for you in all ways.
First off, depression is not sadness. Sadness is what I felt this weekend. I lost my mother some years ago. My wife lost her mother as well. Though I miss them dearly, I’m happy for my step-mom, all my wife’s sisters and my wife who is a wonderful month to our favorite daughter. I feel sadness that My Favorite Daughter is in the process of moving out. Very slowly, but she is moving out. It makes me sad that she won’t be in our house any longer, but I’m so very proud of the woman she’s become and that this was her decision she made with her boy. The two of them will do well.
Depression is a clinical condition. It’s a mental imbalance related to how one’s brain is wired. Not everyone suffers from depression in the same fashion. Most people I know who have admitted to having depression, after seeking professional help, admit they spent years hiding their condition from family and friends. Most are ashamed to talk about it. That’s part of depression. It lies to you and tells a person they’re wrong in the head and undeserving.
I suggest go to http://wilwheaton.net/ Wil has suffered openly with his depression for a long time and blogged at length about his condition. Same with Jenny Lawson talking not only about depression, but her other multitude of mental illnesses. There is such a stigma around talking about metal illness that many chose to hide their condition. Some self-medicate to hide their condition. Others find release in the bottom of a bottle. Others see no hope and seek a more permanent release.
This topic isn’t easy to talk about or bring up. As I said, I’m not a professional. I cannot offer help, hope, or diagnosis. All I can do is talk about this topic openly and hope that others do the same. It needs to be normalized that those who suffer from mental illness are just as ill as people with a physical condition. The difference is those with mental illness can hide their condition easier.
If you suspect someone you know is struggling with a mental illness, don’t push them to seek help. Don’t berate them to do what you think is the right thing to do. Don’t think that just because you would do something about it means they’re capable of doing that. Everyone suffers differently when it comes to depression. Offer to talk with them. Support them no matter what choice they make even if it’s not the choice you would make. I’m not saying let them commit suicide if that’s the path their on, but understand that you’re also (most likely) not a professional and will be unable to diagnose what’s wrong with someone.
Another thing we all can do is to open the national dialogue when it comes to talking about mental illness is all its forms. From Autism, Asperger, Depression, Down Syndrome, the list goes on. People who suffer or take care of someone who suffers, shouldn’t be afraid to talk about it. It’s way past time we open the topic and stop letting people suffer in silence because they feel like they’re broken.
I could continue, but I’d rather do that in the comments. Please, share your stories. If you’re not comfortable doing that here, find a place where you can talk openly without fear. If you’re struggling with mental illness, seek out professional help. Know I care about you.
Until Next Time!