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Showing posts from September, 2012

"Depression's Many Faces"

The Incarnations of Depression
I am Kristin’s mom, and she asked if I would share my varying experiences with depression. At first I thought, “Do I want to expose my story?”, and “If I do, should it be anonymously?” Then, I thought that would go against all that Kristin stands for in her fight to remove the stigma still associated with mental illness. So, here is my story that I have never shared in such detail before.
Trying to Bloom
My first brush with depression came in 1974 – it was what I assumed was post-partum depression (or the Baby Blues which people called it then, diminishing its importance). I was 26 years old with a baby and a five-year old. The depression didn’t start right after my son’s birth, but a few months later. And, it seemed to creep up on me. I don’t remember falling into the black hole that accompanied later bouts of depression, but there was a continual grey cloud in my life. A woman should feel nothing but happiness after a baby is born, right? I loved my kids …

"Lean on Me"

"Lean on me, when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
'Til I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on"
Lean on Me ~ Bill Withers 
We all need someone at times in this life. We can't walk alone. You can try but sometimes a friend can make all the difference. Sometimes just knowing that you are not alone in your fight, whatever fight that might be, is all the comfort and strength that you need.

I have found a lot of comfort in sharing my story. It's allowed me to connect with others who have also experienced depression and mental illness. And that's really comforting, especially when you feel so very alone.

One of my new friends is Sara, a true kindred spirit. I "met" Sara on Twitter where I discovered her wonderful blog, Saratonin. She is a community correspondent with Partners for Mental Health and, guess what, so am I as of today! Because I think it's so important that we stand toget…

"Lay Your Hands On Me"

"To touch can be to give life." ~ Michaelangelo "Lay Your Hands on Me." ~ Jon Bon Jovi Depression is all in your head. Um, no. It really isn't. The physical impact of depression is huge and can be just as debilitating in some ways as the psychological symptoms that you fight while in a battle against depression.  Yes, the illness in your head can also hurt you from the neck down. "For a substantial number of people, possibly up to half of depression sufferers, bodily pain is the way that depression presents itself." - Psychologytoday.com When I was in my mid twenties I was new to depression. I knew what the black moods meant but a lot of the other ways that depression can present itself, disguise itself, rather (because it is very sneaky!), were still unknown to me. I clearly remember getting ready for work one morning. I lifted my arms to blow dry my hair when something tiny snapped in my back. This tiny snap left me unable to move without great pain…

"Survival 101"

I could take all my meds at once. I could step off the curb in front of a car. Or, I could just veer into oncoming traffic on the highway. And it would all be over. Done. Gone.

Yes, I thought all of these things on more than one occasion. I have never admitted this in so many words to anyone, not to my family, my best friend, and not to my health care providers. While in the deepest, darkest weeks of my depression I just wanted some peace.

Instinctively, I am quite sure, my parents knew this. And I knew that I should not, could not, be alone. So, one day, my parents drove to my apartment, packed me up, and took me to their home for what turned out to be a few months.

Today is the 10th Annual World Suicide Awareness Day. Did you know that? Did you know that there have been nine World Suicide Awareness Days before this one? No, neither did I. There is still a lot of work to do to raise awareness and eliminate stigma, obviously. Here are a few facts from Statistics Canada:

- In 2009 100,…