Today in Canada it is Bell Let’s Talk Day. A day where we take to social media to support awareness of Mental Health issues facing our society. 

So Let’s talk. 

I am depression! 

At 53, I am positive, happy and well adjusted and yet I am here talking to you today about the subject of Mental Health, in my case, depression. 

I don’t look like depression, do I? 

Depression like many mental health issues, is as individual as the people it affects. Many people suffer their whole lives, debilitated by depression. For others it comes in waves that make you crash and then it disappears leaving only ripples of emotion in its wake.

My depression originated with a traumatic event in my life (a few actually, all piled up end to end which caused the storm of the century) I became overwhelmed and I was drowning.

It’s hard for me to talk about my depression. I don’t like the fact that I am or ever was in need of help from anyone. I was not brought up that way. I was brought up to be independent, self sufficient and well adjusted. I am The Giver. In fact, for me, needing help was almost worse then being depressed. Almost. 

For me, receiving compassion from anyone, a friend, family member, complete stranger, would trigger a huge emotional crash. Suddenly I was not only fighting depression, but I was fending off an emotional breakdown as well.

I would have rather been left to suffer alone than share my problems with others. Who needs to hear my crap right, everyone has stuff going on in their lives.  I would rather not talk about my depression, but like many others, it is in my quiet times that my darkness prevails. My silence feeds my darkness and my darkness feeds my illness.  My darkness was not so much the thought of killing myself, but a desperate need to disappear. Perhaps they are the same. I’ve never made a plan or contemplated the action, yet many people do.

A thin line separates love from hate, success from failure, life from death, a line as difficult to walk as a razor’s edge.”  -Somerset Maugham- 

It took professional help for me to find my way back and anyone who is suffering needs to understand this. It takes a qualified professional to guide you back to life in a safe, timely and productive manner. If you are suffering from depression you need to learn the skills to survive. When you are suffering you need to learn your triggers and how to cope. You might need medication and your survival could be a simple as a that. Only a professional can treat your symptoms.

I love to promote conversation and awareness of Mental Illness. I have been surrounded with depression and anxiety for many years. I have a child diagnosed with Anxiety and OCD, plus I have a Transgender Son, who is also flamboyantly gay! With that being said, I have shared many a bottle of wine with my friends while I talked and cried and I am forever greatfull for their love, but sometimes friends and family are not enough.

If you are suffering, you need to know your friends may not realize how you are really feeling because you are hiding your truth. You need to know that you are not a burden. You need to know that you are worth it, that you matter. You need to know it’s ok to cry. You need to know you are not weak. You need to know you are not alone. You need to know it’s ok to share, but most importantly, you need to know…

It is ok to allow someone to listen. 

For those who are listeners, beware, you may not even recognize all the hidden signs. Even in my darkest of times I still had a smile on my face. In fact, the darker I became on the inside, the bigger and brighter my smile became for those around me.

For those who listen, be cautious because depression turns its victim into a master of illusion. I was stuck in a water spout that sucked me down as my mind whirled, telling me not to bother others with my petty problems. Ten seconds later, in a complete 180, I am overcome with thoughts like “why doesn’t anyone see what is happening with me?” I hid many of my signs, but some just couldn’t be hidden and those recognizable changes in my personality and my lifestyle were evident to those close to me.

I still have those days, those days where I open my eyes first thing in the morning and depression is there waking up with me. Depression will spend the whole day by my side, picking away at me, constantly and relentlessly depleting my self worth. Depression will live in my nightmares and follow me around like a shadow but eventually I win. 

I win every time and everytime I win my next battle gets easier.

I’m here today because my friends and my loved ones chose to give me their ear, but they also helped me to get my conversation going with someone who is trained to guide me back from the abyss I was drowning in.  My Lifeguard so to speak.

Today as you reach out to support those around you and say “Let’s Talk” remember, as you are listening…..

It is very important that you hear. 

Just sayin.