After watching the video below and reading this post by my friends over at Mockingbird that you can find here: http://bit.ly/17QfhpL I felt relieved and felt like I should write this. I will preface it by saying this isn’t a stand, this isn’t a call to arms, or a look at me! Have pity on me but something I felt compelled to write.
My name is Andy and I suffer from depression. It’s hard to write about it because it goes against everything that I feel like I should. Like Kevin in his talk I would rather talk about the easy stuff, the stuff that doesn’t hurt, the good news that everyone wants to hear. I have spent the past 2 years and some change sharing the good stuff for other people. Making their news heard so that they can sell a product or let others know about their business in a way that was informative and helped to bring them website hits and grow. I don’t say this to say that I regret that or I am not good at it. God has gifted me in the area that helps to share news with people and I am so happy that I get to be apart of it. It’s a wonderful gift and one that I don’t take for granted for one moment.
What brings me to come out and talk about my depression and that I have it is the courage that Kevin Breel at the age of 19 is open and honest enough to share with us about. I felt something swell up in my chest when he said,
“ There’s the life that everyone sees, and then, there’s the life that only I see.”
The only thing I would add to make this my own is the life that my wife sees as well. The side of me that does not know why I feel they way I do and would like to craw into a hole for a bit to be sad, to not know what I am upset about.
I feel a need to hide my depression. That it is something that I should be ashamed about and not be open and honest with people about because it isn’t something that anyone can physically see. Shit! There are starving people in Africa who haven’t eaten in days and I’m depressed and feel hopeless. Who am I to write about something like this? It’s my pain and struggle that along with others who feel like me, look like me, and go around not sharing it believe that we aren’t worthy of sharing this. Who wants to read that I am struggling to get out of bed because I’m sad and can’t explain it? I know that is something that I feel is shameful. It’s in the books that I read telling me that I need to overcome and live the best life I can live! This is something that will go away if I push through and stay on course that I will “Hustle Hard” and be able to pull myself out of this water by myself. The problem I’m faced with is the harder I try to improve myself, the harder I try to say to myself “This is nothing, no one should know this is going on with you because it isn’t real” is like drowning. Not in depression like the commercials would lead you to believe but real life drowning. The one they train you to look for in lifeguarding school. The person who believes that if they kick hard enough and long enough they will be able to keep afloat because they are relying on everything inside of them to carry them through the deep end.
I can’t do that anymore. I’m drowning and needed help. I am blessed enough to have a wife who is a lifeguard and could see that to call my parents and her own and say “Andy needs help and I can’t help him.”
So what does that look like for me? It looks like me walking through this not alone but with others as well. To have many honest and hard conversations with friends and family about how I feel. Not that I understand why I feel this way but to not hide behind clever quotes and funny pictures shared through my social networks but to have honest conversations with those around me to deal with this illness I have. This road isn’t easy and I am not a martyr because this is what I am dealing with it. Depression sucks for me but it may not be what you are dealing with and that is ok. The one thing I would wish for anyone is to not look at the pain or struggles that you are dealing with and say “It’s not so bad! Look at so and so! They are dealing with so much and my problems are not as bad!” The truth is your problems are hard as well. They suck and you are doing your best to swim out of the deep end you are in and I won’t pretend that I am in your shoes. That sucks and I’m sorry.
The only answer I have is to talk about it. Bring it to light with someone you trust and love. No matter what it is. If it is something that is bringing you pain or hurt don’t take the burden on yourself. It isn’t yours to go at it alone. We all need someone to help. It isn’t weak like I was lead to believe. It is something that is needed. We can’t go at this alone.
I don’t know if I will write anything more about this or if it is something that I will keep writing about but I hope that it sparks a conversation with someone you know today and that you don’t minimize anything that you are going through. It sucks to be going through that and I am sorry you are going through it. Own it and don’t move on until you’re ready. We aren’t in a sprint to win at life. The one truth we can hold on to is we are going to die. It can be sad or happy but the truth is you aren’t going to live forever. Don’t race through everything but join me in this slow death march called life. Where we can walk together and not alone but can rely on each other for support when we are down or to hold someone up when they need it. I hope to see you marching with me.