Talking about suicide makes me think suicidal thoughts, which is probably one of the stupidest triggers in the history of the world.
Nonetheless, it’s important that we do speak up and that we’re aware of the dangers inherent in the world we live in. And it’s not just about those of us with mental illness. About one in four adults suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. That means if you think about your 10 favorite people in the whole world two of them could be at risk of suicide. That’s why it’s so important to recognize the warning signs and to know how to get help for yourself or others. If you or someone you know is thinking of suicide call 800-273-TALK, or click here for resources.
But for today let’s talk about the positives. Let’s talk about why we’re still here. Let’s talk about the words that help us get through. Let’s talk about the pictures and places and songs that saved us, because maybe they can save others.
I’m here because my daughter saves me every day.
The words that help me make it through are “Depression lies.”
And one of the many songs that has helped to save me is below:
It was the second day at Disney World when I realized it. Hailey was laughing her seven-year-old ass off as Victor spun us on the tea cups until we finally cried whiplash. The weather was gloomy and occasionally hurricaney (that’s a word. Stop judging me) but we were at Disney World and so everything was magical. Except in my head. I enjoyed myself and I’m so glad we did it, but the second day I realized that my peripheral vision was fading and that’s always a sign that a bout of depression is looming down toward me.
I was fine the first day. I was tired the next. The third day I wanted nothing other than to stay in bed, but instead I faked it. I still enjoyed seeing Hailey so happy. I still appreciated being able to spend real time with my family. I still functioned. I’m still functioning.
Maybe this time I’ll be able to fool myself into staving off a severe bout. Maybe it was just a fluke and it will all pass quickly. Maybe I just postponed the inevitable depression that will hit me any moment. I don’t really know.
But what I do know is that I’m going to be okay. I know that depression lies. I know that I’ll be in this black hole again and again in my life. I also know I’ll see daylight soon. The spinning continues…in both good ways and bad.
I realize how incongruous that picture is in a post about depression but it’s also pretty incongruous that some of the funniest people I know suffer from mental illness so all bets are off.
But there was one thing I wanted to share. At one point the ride we’d been waiting on was closed because a terrible rainstorm broke out so we ran for cover and hid under the monorail for some shelter. It was fairly miserable and all I could think about it how I wanted to be dry and in bed and how I felt bad for Hailey that she was stuck in a closed park with no access to rides and that’s when I noticed that she was having the most fun she’d had all day just jumping in the enormous puddles and catching rain in her mouth. Rain that had dripped off the monorail and probably gave her cholera, but still…she was so damn furiously happy. She took what came at her and made it into joy.
This isn’t a post about forcing yourself to just smile and “be happy” because anyone with true depression knows this isn’t an option. Instead, it’s about the good things that can come out of the bad. In the past 5 years I’ve received 20 emails that I keep in a very special folder. They are all from people who were looking suicide right in the face. They are all from people who are still here now. Mothers and fathers and daughters and sons who are still alive because of this blog. And not because of my posts. They’re alive because they saw the incredibly response to my posts. They saw thousands of other people saying “Me too.” ”I thought it was just me.” ”I thought I was alone. But I’m not.” And that - that sense of community – convinced them what their mind could not…that depression lies. That you can find help. That therapy and medication and support can change lives. And I want to thank you for that. I want to thank you from the family and friends of 20 people whose lives you saved.
And I want to thank you for reminding me every day that depression does lie. I want to thank you for telling me that it’s okay when I have a week when I simply can’t be funny. But mostly I want to thank you because there are 20 people out there today who wouldn’t be in this world if it weren’t for you. There are 20 more of us. And that’s a good thing. So maybe there’s a reason why I have depression. And maybe it’s to help someone else. And maybe there’s a reason you do too. And maybe you saved a life without even knowing it. Thank you.
I’ve had a lot more emails than usual about depression/anxiety, which I think means a full moon is coming or possibly that we’re all on the same psychotic cycle because I’ve fought my share of demons this month myself. In fact, today I had a monster of a panic attack that made me think I’d never come back out. It’s not so fun to write about so I made a video to send to people asking me about it and I thought I’d share it here in case you needed it. It’s long and unedited so feel free to skip it if you don’t have mental issues.
I’m right in the middle of one of those weird depression weeks that alternates between a series of anxiety attacks and self-loathing mixed with not being able to do anything productive so I’m taking the day off to take your advice and watch episodes of Sherlock and Downton Abbey. I’m dragging myself to the doctor today but I’m sort of an empty well so nothing funny today. I do, however, have a picture for you that my friend Maile took of me a few weeks ago that seems somehow fitting. Victor thinks it looks like I’m slacking off again. I think I more like a disturbed crime scene. I think that says a lot about Victor and I.
PS. I’ll be back to myself any day now. Promise. No worries. And remember, if you’re feeling this too, depression lies. Keep fighting the good fight. You’re worth it.