A Friend with a Powerful Message
I’ve suffered from depression for more than two decades. When I was first diagnosed, after struggling for five years without therapy and medication, I experienced a sense of failure that rivaled the symptoms of the depression itself.
At first, I told one person: my mother. Period.
Slowly, I began sharing. And by sharing I mean that I told one other person: my best friend. As the years progressed and my experience with the disease deepened, so did my relationship to it. I began talking about my depression whenever I felt it was relevant or helpful. However, that freedom of voice did not make it into my writing. I never, ever wrote about the darkness of my mental illness.
That changed years ago when I decided to write about my experience — a decision I made because I hoped that by sharing about my decades of depression, I might help someone, anyone–even just one. I wanted to add my voice to the chorus of people brave enough to be open about depression; I wanted people to know that an ordinary mom, wife, daughter, sister, writer and friend like me struggled. I hoped that by being open and honest, my words would help to smudge the stereotypical beliefs and discomfort surrounding depression.
Recently, I heard from an old colleague and friend. She’d started writing a blog where she was brave enough to share her story. A story about a depression so gripping and severe that she’d planned to end her life.
As tears threaten to drip as I type, I am so grateful to write the following words:
she did not end her life.
She chose to Love. To Laugh. To Live.
And, amazingly, she told me that my words, my humble words on this humble blog, helped her gain the courage to go public with her own struggle.
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