Coming out

I saw this video recently and it’s been haunting me.  It’s about a blogger who decided to come out about his mental illness and document it in the hopes that others would know that it’s okay to ask for help, that it’s not shameful to be medicated, that depression tells you terrible lies and that you can’t fight those lies alone.

It’s here and you should watch it. It’s long, but it’s worth it.

Earlier this month, a friend of mine lost her husband.  If you read the comments regularly you probably know her.  Her name is Lori, and during a psychotic breakdown her husband killed himself, leaving her with two small children and a life forever changed.  I don’t know how I’d react in her shoes.  If you’ve read her you already know that she’s strong and funny and wonderful…but she’s also devastated and searching for meaning in all of this.  I don’t know that there is one but I do know that the speech she made at Tony’s funeral was something that you might need to hear.

Tony took care of everyone. All the time. He was so busy taking care of everyone else, he didn’t speak out when something was wrong.

And this is what you can do for me, for Tony, when you leave here today. All you men, you big men. When you walk away from here, you speak. If something is wrong, if something hurts, then you talk about. Tony was so busy taking care of everyone else, he didn’t care take of himself. So after this, you speak.

I wish I could make everything better for Lori, make it all go away.  But I can’t.  But I can do my best to make sure that people hear the message she passes along…

You speak.”

Mental illness is no different from any other illness and is just as deadly.  Getting help is hard and just admitting that you need help can be crippling for some.  It doesn’t have to be.  You aren’t alone.  There is help.  If you’re struggling, ask for help. Your friends and family are there to be your advocates when you just can’t make it work on your own.  Let them shoulder your load.  Don’t be embarrassed about asking someone else to help you find a shrink, or to tell you that everything is going to be okay, or to drive you to the hospital when you think that suicide might be an option.  And if you have no one to turn to, call a suicide hot-line.  There are people waiting to tell you why you’re needed.

Someone once told me that he’d rather have “a broken, bed-ridden Jenny than no Jenny at all” and that kept me alive when I thought the world would be better off without me.  But what he said was (and still is) the truth.  Your friends and family want you…broken or not.  Don’t leave.  Speak out.  Be honest about your condition to let others know that they can be honest with theirs.

Together we’ll get through it.  And for you, Lori, I’m speaking out:

Hush now

If you can spare a kind word for Lori I know it would help her feel a little less alone.

Thank you.

297 thoughts on “Coming out

Read comments below or add one.

  1. Sometimes people don’t know there is something wrong, they just wished that they could “feel” like they used to. It makes to better if those around are open to the possibility that something could be wrong and reach out. Well said.

  2. I so much agree with everything you said here Jenny. Lori I know it is confusing now and you may be questioning yourself and playing the self-defeating should have/could have. Please don’t. Seek help and care for and about yourself.

  3. I admire you so much for this. When I was going through the worst of my PTSD and agoraphobia I thought I was never going to make it, and, even if I did, I would be too broken for anyone to love. My husband kept telling me that he loved me, he would never leave me, and everything would be okay. It took a lot of years, but I finally heard him. His voice, his words, his love kept me going when I didn’t think I could. I love him forever for that and for so many other things. And now that I feel whole again, I am becoming a counselor so I can lend a hand to others who are struggling and have lost their way. I finally feel as though I’ve found a purpose to my life and it’s amazing to me to look back and see how far I’ve come. Mental illness isn’t easy. It’s hard to talk about it and even harder to work to manage it. But I know it can be done because I’ve done it. It’s taken me the better part of fifteen years, but I’m making it, and every day I make it a little further.

    Thank you for your courage, your character, and your humor. You are truly an inspiration and I wish you all the best in life. 🙂

  4. Excellent post. You’re right that mental illness is just like any other illness. Except that many forms of mental illness (such as depression) have the consequence of making it hard to get yourself the help you need. It’s a bit like how having a broken leg would make it hard to walk to the hospital.

    If you’re suffering, ask for help. If you know someone who seems like they’re suffering, offer help, even if they don’t think they want it. That’s the real challenge of these diseases.

    Thoughts are with you, Lori, and with anyone else out there who is, or has been, affected by this.

  5. Thank you Thank you Thank you for posting this! I wrote a blog post recently about mental illness awareness after the Loughner shooting, and I said that “Mental Illness is the best kept secret of the person it affects.” It’s no different than any other illness or disease, but no on goes on a walk for the cure of depression. No one manufactured specially colored kitchen gadgets to raise mental illness awareness. If more people talked about it, then it could be better understood, supported, and less scary. Bravo to you for speaking out, and prayers for Lori’s family. I can’t imagine how she feels. Oh, here’s the blog post in case you’re curious:
    Have you read the blog by Penelope Trunk? I think she’s by far the most honest blogger out there about her mental issues. Here’s an example:

  6. I’ve been struggling so hard with not wanting to “be sick”….much of my childhood was deeply scarred by mentally ill family members who were incorrectly medicated and I didn’t want to put my babies through that.

    More than the “you speak” part, your graphic with “it’s not all of me” made me sob. I’ll call the doctor in the morning and talk to her about help for depression.

    You’ve saved me twice now…i feel like I should send you a card 🙂

  7. lori: i hold you and your family in my heart.

    lori + jenny: i shared this with a loved one who is living with mental illness and her response was: “holy shit.” thanks for paving the way for all of us to feel a little less alone and a little less shameful about something that so does not require it.

  8. Thank you. I’ve been struggling with depression and anxiety disorder since I was 14 (I’m 36 now), and just last year I scared my family enough my mother took me to the doctor and made me tell him what was going on. This past week has just had me feeling like I’ve been circling a drain or a fucking black hole, and I just wanted to let it suck me in and disappear. I’m sitting here, crying right now, because now I don’t feel so alone. Thank you Jenny, you don’t know how much I needed this tonight.

  9. Thank you.

    I’ve had crippling anxiety since I was 12. When it’s in it’s worst stages, I can’t eat, can’t sleep, can’t do anything. I’ve also gotten the bonus fun of depression and an eating disorder. There are few things as crippling as trying to fight a mental illness on your own. I tried, I almost lost. I’m grateful that my family saw that I needed help and intervened. I wouldn’t be here if they hadn’t.

  10. I think this is absolutely wonderful. People that suffer so much loss, be it from their own mental illness or that of someone close to them, speaking out. I’m only 24 but I’ve battled depression for almost twenty years. It’s difficult to get people to take you seriously when you’re younger and that makes it more difficult to deal with. I was always a bottler. After a violent robbery I was diagnosed with PTSD, which I blogged about… once… much to my reader’s chagrin. It’s gotten better but I now have a much higher respect for anyone with an anxiety disorder. As a group therapy leader said to me once “What’s normal to you isn’t what’s normal to everyone else. You need to be with people like you.” And he was absolutely right.

    I am so proud to live in a day and age where people will stand up and own their disorders instead of hiding them. Not everyone can be that brave but having an online community of people like you, that ARE brave enough to stand up for themselves and for you is doing so much for so many people. It helps us feel and to know that we are not alone in our struggles . A lot of my friends don’t understand, they down play it, and they criticize me a great deal when I’m in one of my “moods”. They’re not there for me at all. I do have a wonderful support system to help me through those times when I’m too terrified to get out of bed, but the greatest love and support I receive is from strangers. Those anonymous people in group therapy… when I bother to go, and those people like you that get it.

    So, thank you, Jenny and Lori, for being our champions.

  11. I suffer from periods of suicidal depression. It is so difficult to fight the urge to end it all at times. But I am still here and I am here for you too. Coming out is something that we, that I, need to do and I will not let this be my secret shame any more. Sure some people will be a little freaked out and thats OK. But others will nod knowingly. There are sooo many of us out there.

    To help change this culture of secrecy I will be adding a “I suffer from depression” tag in my twitter profile. That might seem silly to some but I see this as a beginning for me to be more transparent with my problem. Jenny. You are living proof that we can be accepted as a little broken and still effing awesome.

  12. awesome stuff… I have been medication free for 15 months now, the longest time since I was 17…. telling people about being depressed was so hard…. and I thank my husband and my parents for being there and keeping me alive when it got too hard.

  13. One of my big goals is to be totally honest on my blog this year, and that means talking about my depression. It is easier than I thought and so freeing. Thank you for sharing this post.

  14. I’ve been browsing Lori’s blog the past several minutes and all I can say is wow. It really is true, no matter how bad you think your life is there is someone else out there that is worse off than you. I feel like a shit stain right now for stressing and panicking about finances so much the last few days, when in reality I could have so many more problems.

    I’m so glad there are people like Lori, and you Jenny, who will be real with the world. Who don’t hide behind computer screens and sugarcoat their lives like some big spectacle for the world. We need more REAL people in this very much real world, and people like the two of you are a breath of fresh air. To the ones who suffer from these horrible illnesses, my fullest thoughts & prayers are with you. Someone in the world needs you, you matter, your life is worth living. And if you ever reach your breaking point, please reach out. To anyone. Even if you don’t have a physical body around you, reach out to someone online. Bloggers, people on Twitter, whomever. Someone out there can and will help you and I only ask that you allow them to.

  15. Yes. This.

    I have depression, but it is not who I am. I fight it. Every day. Every time I get out of bed. Every time I allow myself to feel the sun on my skin. I fight.

    But I can’t do it alone. None of us can. Speak. Listen. Reach out. Hold a hand.

  16. I was suicidal for almost a year. I was 14 at the time when it started, and had suffered a very crippling loss. It’s not one that seemed very big to those around me, but to me it was devastating. It’s still something that I don’t tell most people because many will not understand. But in October of 2002, my cat passed away. He was 16 years old, and just died of being old and well worn by the world. It’s nature.

    But to me, who had known this cat my whole lie, who had never lived a day without him, it was devastating. I had just started high school a month before. I had also just moved into a new house, and only knew one person in my school. My life was being turned upside-down in a hundred ways, and that cat, who was like a brother to me, was my only staple of normalcy. And suddenly the one thing grounding me was gone.

    I suffer from depression. I get it from my mother. It had never surfaced until then, but losing the cat did me in. I began neglecting everything. I didn’t talk to anyone, I let all of my grades slip, I did not spend time with my one friend or the few others I was starting to make. My teachers and faculty were of no help. When the problem was explained to them (after ambushing me in a parent/teacher conference) I was, essentially, told that my reason was no good.

    Being told my feelings were invalid drove me toward not wanting to be part of the social system I was in, and the only way out I could think of was to not continue living. I never got as far as attempting, but I did a lot of planning. A lot of figuring out the quietest way to go. I didn’t want a blaze of glory. I didn’t want attention after death. I just wanted to be gone.

    I never sought help for any of it, because I thought if i tried I would be told again that what I was feeling was invalid. I had lost trust in everyone — Family, friends, authority figures. Anyone who I was supposed to turn to for help, I felt would betray me. Six months later, my grandfather passed away very suddenly, and my self-destructive behavior started all over again. I refused to speak about it, I refused to outwardly show any feelings about it after what had happened in the fall.

    And then school let out, and I had time to myself. It took until the end of that summer, and I don’t know how, but a switch in me flipped. Probably the part of me that is spiteful. I realized that I -could not- give in and hurt myself. I had to get up and make something of myself. I wanted to prove that my feelings WERE valid. And in the years that have followed, I’ve realized it’s damn near a miracle that i realized this on my own.

    I still suffer from depression, and the whole ordeal left me with fears of judgement, betrayal, and abandonment that have nearly crippled me socially. But since then I’ve done everything I can to be there for anyone I can. I’ve found purpose, and I’ve used that purpose to fight past the problems I’m saddled with, and to use that to try and help the people I love. I tell them as much of this story as I can bear to, and do whatever i can to let them know that their feelings are valid. No matter what the problem is, their feelings are valid.

    Thank you, Jenny. You continue to be an inspiration, and continue to give those of us who need to a place and a reason to speak up.

  17. for me, this post is unbelievably apt.

    although i’ve battled seriously with depression for as long as i can remember, and have dealt with some anxiety, i had the worst panic attack i’ve ever had three days ago. i ended up checking myself into the ER, crying and hyperventilating, completely beside myself and totally embarrassed by the strange looks i was getting from the other people waiting in the ER. i felt crazy and like they knew i was crazy.

    my supervisor asked me to take the rest of the month off of work, and i’ve felt guilty. i’ve tried to go out with friends to maintain some normalcy, and i felt guilty, because if i’m not working, shouldn’t i be at home? i have been fighting off the anxiety with the meds they gave me and the reassurance that these things are Not A Big Deal, but i have felt it building up and the smallest thing makes me so upset. i don’t know how else to explain it. i haven’t told very many people what has gone on, because i feel like they won’t believe me or won’t want to speak to me or whatever. i don’t want to be ostracized. but i’m going to write about this.

    thank you, jenny, for posting this video and the quote and all of this. i feel less alone.

  18. You’re right, Jenny. Speaking out is so important. It’s why I write about alcoholism. It saves me, and it helps others speak up.

    I’ve been diagnosed with everything from mild depression to paranoid schizophrenia at different times in my life, and if I had not spoken to people about it, and if I had not felt it was safe to talk about it, I can say that, without a doubt, that I would no longer be here.

  19. You have no idea how much I needed to read this right now, tonight. Fortunately at the moment my “coming out” issue isn’t mental illness, but your other lovely medical sidekick, lifelong RA (although in the past some of my medication’s side effects did lead me to need anti-depressants for a couple years). And tomorrow, after 3 1/2 yrs of employment in a job that I spent many, many post-grad years training for and doing a pretty dang good job for 3 yrs of it, I am finally admitting to my company ombudsman that my horrible symptoms/side effects in the past few months have put me in a position where I might need some accommodations, just for a little while. I am going to ask for help, something I hate doing with a passion. But as I keep telling my 3 yr old, sometimes we all need some help, and it’s okay to ask for it. And I need to do this for her, for my family. I’m scared to death. I’m scared I’ll be seen as weak. I’m scared he’ll tell me it’s all my fault and nothing can be done. I’m scared, scared, scared. But there is no possibility of a solution unless I try. Unless I speak. And so, I will.

    Thank you.

  20. I commend you for speaking out. I can’t do it. I want to do it, but I can’t. I can’t be the champion for this cause. It will hurt my friendships. It will hurt my business relationships. I’ve seen what happens to others when they’re labeled “crazy.” I’d rather continue to be fun, eccentric, spontaneous, creative, and a respected, successful business owner. Some of my family members know. My husband knows. Other than that, it’s my secret. If I speak out, I could lose it all. I think “coming out” as having a mental illness is a luxury some of us can’t afford. And it’s a damn shame. If people find out I have bipolar disorder, I won’t be a person with a mental illness that’s been controlled by medication for nearly 10 years. I’ll be “mentally ill.” I’ll be someone to be wary of. “Watch out… she’s bipolar.” That explains everything, doesn’t it.

  21. And as you always do, you put such simplicity and eloquence behind such strong, simple words. Mental illness is such a funny thing- we have physical fitness all throughout school as we’re growing up, but such little “mental fitness”- instead we’re taught in society that no one wants to be crazy, no one wants to hear the words “you’re CRAZY”; and thus an awful stigma is born that seems like it will never die.

    I am like most now, I think – I have a grandmother that was committed at some point and refused to talk about it; my mother only remembers her mom “going away” for some time after her third sibling was born. No one knows why, but my grandmother maintains to this day it was for her gallbladder. We all know it wasn’t.

    I have aunts and uncles and cousins that deal with the confusion of having something that no one in my family wants to discuss – bi-polar, severe life-damaging addictions, depression. No one talks about the solution, but only the problems (divorces, gambling too much, drinking too much and being embarrassing, job loss, going months without hearing from one another). No one ever wants to speak up and find the cure together- since it is still such a stigma, they only keep to themselves feeling (I’m sure) ashamed and alone and flawed. They refuse to discuss it, no matter how much help it’d provide especially to the younger generations. It is so, so sad.

    I think the biggest realization for me is realizing that just because I have these so-called demons (depression and anxiety mostly) doesn’t make me flawed. But it also means that I will never quite be “cured”. It is a disease, like diabetes, that can only be managed. Being able to grasp that has helped me immensely, although it is still a struggle every time I feel myself sliding back down.

    I had my first bout of bad depression in my early 20’s that lasted about 2 years, before I met my husband. I had my second bout in my late 20’s, then married and reeling from both a diagnosis of a life-long disease (which my doctors basically patted me on the head and said, “You have this and it might eventually kill you, toodaloo!”) and right after the loss of a young, close cousin of mine (unexpectedly in an accident.)

    I felt the old familiar feelings come back of sadness and tiredness and can’t-brush-my-hair-ed-ness because that just requires too much energy, just much more energy than I can muster up to expend for, you know – a few weeks. Or a month.

    And then everyone said, “Your cousin wouldn’t want you to be sad.” So then I felt sad AND guilty, and sad for feeling sad and sad for feeling guilty and guilty for being sad and guilty for feeling guilty. Such a vicious cycle depression spins itself in- which is the bad thing about it. Once I start slipping, it’s hard to catch myself from falling all the way down.

    But it will be like this my entire life. I can only manage it, not cure it. And I’ve grown to be okay with allowing myself to give into it from time to time. I took some time last year to grieve and mourn, embarrassed to be off from work for what I was (my boss politely called it “sick leave” and nothing more, bless his heart – and quietly shared with me his son’s struggles with being severely bi-polar) and when my co-workers now ask where I’ve been this past year, I still have to smile painfully and flush in shame and say, “Oh, I wasn’t feeling well. Physical health problems. And I needed to take some time to travel and explore life.” and leave it at that. I had something with my gallbladder, you know- I can hear my grandmother saying as I tell them. That’s why I was away.

    I hope some day I will be able to actually vocalize the truth instead of writing it here, but baby steps is it. Baby steps, indeed. Thank you, Jenny.

  22. Thank you for posting this. I love you for it and it’s so true. As someone who has been diagnosed with a number of things (thankfully all mostly under control without medication, although I definitely have my moments) I agree that it’s not who I am, even though it’s a part of me. My depression, my OCD, my paranoia-inducing generalized anxiety disorder, and my late-night panic attacks and night terrors are all a part of me, but they don’t define me.

    Even now sometimes I need to be reminded. Thank you.

  23. This is very sad, all of it. but for some reason it’s making me so very angry. Speaking up is brave & telling & a lot of things, but what if your family would rather NOT hear it. What if you don’t have the health coverage to get the therapy, the attention. What if the medication works & then doesn’t work. . . it’s very important to know that whoever you are about to tell is someone who will not only hear you but also be willing–& able–to help you. Be very careful who that is. And remember not everyone is going to congratulate you for admiting you are depressed.


  24. As a life-long sufferer of clinical depression (not an exaggeration, I remember feeling depressed when I was 3) I can sympathize with those who have had to deal with it. It’s bad enough that I’m on disability for it. Associated with it are panic and anxiety attacks and social anxiety. It’s also treatment resistant, meaning drugs don’t do anything for it and I’ve tried most of them except MAOIs (which I refuse to take.) A psychiatrist once told me what I really need is somebody to love me. Sadly, there aren’t many women who want or are able to deal with a 50 year old clinically depressed overweight man. Any ladies out there who want a project? 😉

  25. You speak for so many of us that don’t have the words. Anxiety, PTSD, agoraphobia, depression, sometimes they can fill up a whole day and immobilize me. Being strong is not about being silent. Sometimes we drag ourselves through so much guilt, even when we’re not sure what we’re supposed to be feeling bad about. Some of us have been through so much that it’s hard to believe it when love is genuinely given.

    Thank you for sharing the love, and thank you for your ability to speak, and encouraging others to do so as well.

    The best gift I ever gave myself? Allowing myself to listen to the genuine, and letting go of the hurt, even if it’s a little bit at a time.

  26. Depression, anxiety and PTSD, and recovering agoraphobic. I’ve been on anti-depressants for most of the last 14 years, including during two of my pregnancies, which was REALLY hard to deal with but necessary. I’ve never really been in the closet, I guess. I wrote an essay about my illness for my college newspaper years ago, including the fact that I was on anti-psychotics at the time. I don’t see anything to be ashamed of whatsoever, and I hope that people who are embarrassed about their illnesses find some inner strength to come out eventually, even if it isn’t today.

  27. I thought that you had anxiety too from some of your posts but I wasn’t positive. I think that it’s the worst because no one understands. I try to explain it as constant stage fright but people who don’t have stage fright don’t even get that. It’s just depressing (yeah, that too) because what can you do when there is 1 place to go to for this where you live & they treated you terrible. Natural stuff doesn’t work for me. It’s nice that St. John’s Wort & exercise work for some people but I used to do yoga all the day long, didn’t do a thing for this.

  28. My grandfather killed himself in what I would think to be the worst possible way. It’s a hard thing to deal with and I know my mother still aches for her father. Great post.

  29. thanks for posting this. i’m heartbroken for lori and her family, but because of you she can reach out to all of us. we don’t have to be alone in our pain and suffering. even when that’s the only message we are receiving, it’s simply not true. i’m sending love and comfort out to all who suffering, praying for relief from the human condition.

  30. Thanks, Jenny. I’ve never been diagnosed with a mental illness and honestly I don’t think I would ever actually kill myself – the guilt I feel about what it would do to my family stops me – but I do fantasize about it. Lately quite a lot. I hate that I do it and I have a bunch of methods I try to use to switch channels, but last week was particularly horrible and hard to get out of. Reading your post tonight helped more than anything, and like Christine up above, I just want you to know it. Thanks for speaking out and for encouraging me to do the same. I really needed to hear this tonight. Much love to you and to Lori

  31. You’re such a wonderful, beautiful person.

    I stopped by & sent my love to Lori. And other than that, I can only hang my head in silence & pain for her over what’s happened. So much love for Lori, and for you Ms. Bloggess, for being so kindhearted & amazing.

  32. Just had to share what I left on Lori’s blog: “On Easter Sunday, 2003, my 17-month-old daughter and I watched while my beloved husband slid down the kitchen counter and died. Erik was 29 and I was 7 months pregnant with our second daughter. I know where you are. I have been there. It is unimaginable–all of it–and I am so sorry for your loss.

    I now make meaning out of my tragedy by writing, speaking, moderating the Widowed Web community page on FB, and embracing the love I have with my new husband ( and our four children. Please connect with me when you’re ready. My hand is here in friendship. Hyla

    I am @hylamolander on twitter, if you or Lori want to connect there. I’m honored to help in any way.

  33. I’ve been fighting depression for 8 years.
    Right now it is really bad, but I’m lucky to have a really loving and caring family around to take care of me.
    Not to mention great friends, who are able to see the person past the disease.
    I still feel too ashamed to ask for help. But after reading this… I realise I have to get help, not to feel ashamed to ask for it.
    I just get tired of being the-sick-one sometimes.

    My heart goes out to Lori and her family. I’m Brazillian, and a native portuguese speaker. There’s a portuguese word that I thought would be a nice one to share: “saudade”.
    Saudade is how we name the feeling you get when you miss someone so much it is like a hole in your heart. When you miss someone so badly your body feels… stabby.
    Lori, “saudade” can be a good feeling too. I promise you. To feel “saudades”, to miss someone that much, means you had beautiful, precious moments. It means you have beautiful memories, lots and lots of love.
    Sure, it hurts. It hurts A LOT.
    But saudade is also a good feeling: it is there to remind you to cherish this memories, to honor the ones you love – even the ones that aren’t around anymore, to enjoy life, everyday.

    There’s a line in a brazillian song that goes like: a tristeza tem sempre uma esperança de um dia não ser mais triste não.
    It means “sadness always hopes that one day it will no longer be sad”. (here’s the song: I hope you like it)

    It will get better.

    Hold on…
    Hugs from lots of miles away…

  34. Thankyou so much for linking to Lori. It was a shit shit thing to happen and she’s my friend and I want to make it better. But I can’t. So, we speak. When we are broken, now we speak, before we get to the point Tony was at, because the aftermath of suicide is ugly and no family should be left to clean it up.

  35. It’s so important to seek help… but also?

    It’s important to know that improvement won’t always be immediate. It is a long journey, and a hard journey, (for me a seemingly never-ending journey), but the journey is worth it. Abandoning your family and friends is selfish in the end. I know that is tricky with mental illness, but it is still only taking your own suffering into consideration, and not the other people around you who care more than you think.

    Someone would have to find you dead, in your own mess. No romantic ending. No grand exit. Just your last breath and your dead body.

    IF you are considering it, just think for a moment how heartbroken the people around you would be.

    I send my love to Lori. I have been on both sides of the coin and hope that she is surviving as best as she can through this.

  36. Jenny, I hold you in the highest regards. I’m afraid I can’t hold you any higher. However, if I could, today I would. I was diagnosed as Bipolar when I was 19 after being committed for attempting suicide. I have struggled with and fought the great fight against the stigma attached to mental illness for close to 20 years. I have been in and out of hospitals. Been on many a medication cocktail. Built up and demolished many a relationship and friendship. It has been one hell of a ride. And although my life is pretty calm now, I know it is just the lazy twisty part of the log ride just before it plunges over the edge yet again. While I feel fairly confident that I am strong enough to fight against the inner battle within me, I am not so ignorat that I am not aware that outside forces could change that at any time. Lori, you have my deepest empathies! I know that if my husband were to pass, my life would at a crossroads. The only thing keeping me going would be my children. Something tells me even then, the stress and great despair would be my undoing and a hospital stay would yet again be in my future. Strength and Blessings be with with you as you go through thi and may you come out the otherside stronger than you thought you could ever be. May happiness and silly purpleness be yours again.

    I am Tracey and I am a Bipolar w/ Anxiety and OCD Tendencies. It is what I have. Not who I am. I define me.

  37. I came out on my blog almost from the gate in 2002. Major Depressive Disorder, Severe Anxiety Disorder, OCD, ADD and recently NO I AM NOT bipolar, but was medicated for it for years. My heart aches for all of us who suffer and for Lori to lose her spouse to mental illness is crushingly heartbreaking. It reminds me I am not alone in my treatment, suffering or desire to wish I didn’t have to be sick. I wish it didn’t interfere with all aspects of my life as well as my child’s and my husband’s. I mentioned not wanting to be around just today in a blog post. When you are ill it is hard to reconcile that your family would NOT be better off without you. Prayers for Lori and all of us and our families who deal with mental illness.


  38. I have an important exam in 3h and just spent half of the night not trying to study, but trying to convince myself to leave the house at all. Chances are, I’ll never get any kind of academic degree because for the past three semesters I haven’t passed shit, I’m way too busy fighting against my demons.

    I’m 22 and for 10 years I’ve been fighting anorexia nervosa, depression and anxiety. Or, have I been fighting? Sometimes it’s just so much easier to give up. I’ve been suicidal and would have done it, too, if it weren’t for those few people in between who genuinely care. They can’t make everything right, and I wasn’t always thankful for help that has been forced on me, but they kept me alive. It’s good to remember this every now and then.

    I’m looking for a new therapist right now, after years of pretending I didn’t really need one, or that my situation wasn’t bad enough to justify taking up their precious time. As you know, even once you managed to kick your own ass and look for help, it’s insanely hard to jump through all the hoops to eventually find someone who might not even be the right therapist to work with in the end. I’ve been this close to giving up again, so thank you so much for reminding me that I’m not the only one. Sometimes that’s all it takes.

  39. Thank you Jenny. My Twitter profile is now sporting a new twibbon for depression awareness. I will NOT live in shame and silence.

  40. WOW. Im sorry Lori. But what an amazing speech. Just speak. I am going to remember that for quite a while.

    Jenny, I love you. Thank you for sharing!

  41. Thank you times a million for posting this!!

    I’ve been struggling with depression for all of my adult life, mixed with some recently diagnosed bipolar II and a dash of anxiety for good measure. I’ve had no problem talking about the depression and the anxiety (though it’s definitely not habit) but it’s the bipolar that is really tricky; a lot of people seem to think that “bipolar” and “bat-shit insane” are the same thing. My own husband even told me that he wanted me to “be more normal” after one of my rougher days — which is precisely *why* I don’t go out of my way to mention this one aspect of my personality to the people that should really probably know about it. I’m really glad that you published this post, though — there are so many people out there (myself included) that need to know that it’s okay to not fit into the mass definition of “normal;” that being a little fucked isn’t something that you should have to hide from anyone. This is also something that I hope to effectively teach my daughters as they grow up, which is downright terrifying (even though it probably shouldn’t be).

    Again, thank you for this post 🙂
    (Also, it goes without saying that my heart goes out to your friend, Lori. I can’t even begin to imagine what she must be experiencing right now… 🙁 )

  42. Oh f*ck. Jenny, I nearly fell off my chair.

    I freaking love you, you know that? Of course you do. Speak, woman. I am, you are, we all are.

    And out of all this huge mess that has become of my life, this is important. This is the one tiny I can do.



  43. This is an issue that really strikes a chord with me as well. I only wish it were less complicated. I suffer from OCD, and I find being “out” about it to be immensely therapeutic. My one great fear is that by being “out” my future employers (as I am currently unemployed) will choose not to hire me because of my “condition.” I believe this is a reasonable fear, although it would be in violation of the Americans with disabilities act, an act which few people seem to even have a proper understanding of. This is where the vicious cycle begins. People are afraid of those with psychological disabilities. I hope that this campaign is successful… I’m not a blind person applying for a job as a bus driver, I’m a person with OCD looking for reasonable jobs where my difference could even benefit my possible employers, but because people fear psychological conditions I am not treated as such. There is so much judgment and resulting shame that accompanies these conditions, those of us suffering are forced to hide the truth about ourselves. Perhaps by campaigns like this we can begin to take the steps towards acceptance. Not too long ago, homosexuals were under the same circumstances, and today we have outed gay celebrities, politicians, and activists just beginning to receive the support they deserve so that they can feel the warmth of acceptance that all humans deserve to reach their full potentials. I think those suffering from mental illness or psychological differences/disabilities, whatever you would like to call it, need to take the same route of coming out in support of one another. I am so glad that this video/campaign has surfaced!

  44. I follow Lori on Twitter and know all about her story.
    I also blog about my own mental illness.
    I’m ashamed to say my personal account (through which I know Lori) and this account (through which I blog about my mental illness) are not linked. I keep them separate, secret and hidden.
    Why do I feel the need to do this?
    Lori, you are amazing & brave! <3

  45. I’ve commented on Lori’s so this is for you.

    A moving post and a very important one. Speak out! If you need help, then say so! It’s hard to ask for help but so important.

  46. Nine years with anxiety disorder, and I’m still standing. It’s taken a lot of therapy and some strength I didn’t know I had to make it past those never-ending days where all I wanted to do was give up. There are still bad days, but I have a better idea how to cope now.

    Please, anyone reading this, always know that THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH ASKING FOR HELP.

    Also, in case it’s useful to anyone, a really great low-income mental health clinic in the Seattle area:
    They are Christian-based, but take clients of any faith background, and I can attest that they truly are respectful of your wishes.

  47. So so important. I think that is so valuable for people online to say this, as well, rather than pretend that we all live in Fa-la-la land. In fact, I just did on my blog.

  48. I’m so out about my mental illness, people get sick of hearing about it. I do periodic posts about it, and my last was, as someone else had done, in regards to the shooter in Tuscon.
    I’ve suffered from chronic major depression and chronic anxiety disorder for as long I remember, literally. I didn’t get help until after my oldest son was born in 1994. They told me I had PPD. I didn’t, I was just scared to keep going the way I had been since I had a human being depending on me. My worst episodes of depression have happened since I’ve had my children. The kind of episodes that are so black and so long that I seriously consider suicide, but I never act on it because I cannot do that to my children and I know how to get help now. Even though it is motherfucking, god-damned hard to get that help sometimes. Lack of insurance or time or fucked up policies when we did have insurance all were obstacles at times. I’ve been on various drug regimens for almost 17 years, now. Currently I take an SSNRI, an anxiolytic and a mood stabilizer. There is some disagreement between various of my doctors whether I have bipolar II or the chronic major depression *and* chronic anxiety combo platter, but they all agreed that either way, adding a mood stabilizer would help and it has.
    And you wanna talk stigma? In February of 2008 and again in February 2010 I had a round of ECT. Five treatments each time. Feel free to check the tag “ECT” on my blog for an explanation of the process and dispelling popular myths about it. It has been a lifesaver for myself and my family. I decided to do it after a very long depression did not improve, in fact, it got much worse and cycled up more panic attacks as well. I did a lot of research, chose to do the ECT, did it and was *amazed* that someone never mentioned it to me before. I felt wonderful and everyone kept telling how normal I was, which may have been a retroactive insult; I’m not sure… The second round came after a steady two month decline back into the hole and I decided not to let it get nearly as bad as it had been the last time. I did it again and was glad, again. Within weeks of the second round, I started one of the worst years (situationally) of my adult life. An old friend abruptly died; my best friend lost her father to cancer; I lost my grandfather (the man who was my father figure growing up) quite unexpectedly to multiple cancers that apparently had been eating him alive for some time; I put my dog to sleep after raising him from an eight-week-old rescue mutt to a 15-year-old family member alongside my sons while I was a stay-at-home mother; I was laid off from the study for which I had been working; I had flairs galore of my autoimmune illness; I’ve seen my children through some tough times this year; I had some female plumbing issues which I thought would leave me sterile; and I’m sure I’m missing some other things…
    But you know what? I was able to survive it and come out with hope in my eyes because I started out from a point of virtual mental health. So ECT has saved my life twice, now. So I talk about it. A lot. It makes people uncomfortable, sometimes, but I think that’s okay, because we need to chip away at all of the stigmas of mental illness and it’s treatments. I got this tattoo: to commemorate the ECT the first time. And when people ask me what it means, I tell them–even strangers–*ALL* about it.

  49. Thank you so much Jenny for helping spread Lori’s message. She is a dear friend of mine. And our little blogging community here in Australia is utterly devastated for her. No one should ever have to bear such unimaginable pain.

  50. Thanks for sharing this, Jenny. I went and left Lori a little comment love. You know, I could just take your picture and Photoshop my face over and it would apply… I’ve suffered from depression on and off my entire life and had postpartum depression after the birth of my daughter. The thing that’s rough, for me at least, is that I know when I’m in those dark places speaking is the last thing I want to do. But maybe, while I’m in an okay place, speaking is what I should be doing. At least to give those who are in their dark place a little light.

  51. Well said and very moving. If we all just speak up about our deepest troubles. Suicide is horrible – because there is an other way out.

  52. thanks for posting this. 20 years of dealing with mental illness. hospitalizations, therapy, meds. i started “coming out” last year about my anxiety/depression/PTSD.

  53. I think that all of us who have been following Lori for a while have been amazed at the strength that she has shown over the past few weeks. She is an amazing woman, and I’m glad that you’re helping her propagate this message. It’s such a simple message, one that I listened to at my brother-in-laws funeral in December, one that is so often overlooked.


    And if someone is speaking to you, listen.

    If you find that hard, get the help of someone who’s been trained to listen. Help is there if you look for it.

  54. Thank you for posting. I’m glad he included people with PTSD at the end; I was wondering when we’d show up. I was diagnosed in 2008 and it still vacillates between being manageable and wholly crippling. I have a wonderful therapist, a loving boyfriend, and friends who support me, despite the fact that we’re living half a globe away from our families back in the US, and I count myself as extremely lucky for all of that. The hardest part about PTSD is that it’s triggered by outside forces (war, rape, violence, etc.) so we blame ourselves for not “preventing” the trauma — but it’s not our fault and we will live, thrive, and survive to the day when we can help others come out as well.

    “many forms of mental illness (such as depression) have the consequence of making it hard to get yourself the help you need. It’s a bit like how having a broken leg would make it hard to walk to the hospital.”

    Yes, exactly. It took quite a lot of effort on my mom’s part to get me to help the first time — my whole personality had effectively changed, and she was the one to help me wake up and realize it so I could get help. PTSD also rarely comes alone — depression, anxiety, insomnia, nightmares, flashbacks, and eating disorders pop their heads in the door to say hi, sometimes they stay for a good long time, but eventually they do make their way out the door. They’ve come for repeat visits, but they never stay forever. It’s hardest to deal with when so many other people consider it an awkward topic — no one wants to “ruin” a good conversation with the topic of rape or the mental illness that develops as a result. But it’s usually worth it, so people are aware and can be more supportive when I’m too crippled to ask for help and explain myself.

  55. I’m normally one of those disgustly happy people who is the tower of strength for everyone else…but 2010 almost did me in. My much adored father passed away in March. I was able to be there to help care for him during the last several weeks of his life, which was horrible and wonderful. An experience that I wouldn’t give up for the world, but that I also wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

    Then my work situation became almost unbearable beginning in May (I won’t go into the details) and I honestly began thinking about how easy it would be to just drive into a tree and not have to deal with any of this anymore.

    Fortunately, my husband convinced me to see my doctor and get something to help me cope. He has suffered from chronic depression his whole life and knows how debilitating can be. The medicine didn’t improve my situation, but it did make me start feeling more like myself again.

  56. It’s easy to say “Don’t be afraid” but so many people are simply afraid that they will be afraid of one thing, many things or everything for the rest of their lives. When all we should be doing is saying to ourselves “This is okay, to feel this way is okay, it won’t last forever, if I can take one day at a time then I will grow to be okay”

    Taking your life seems so drastic to some of us and yet such a small thing to end such pain to the rest. You’re not alone, you have yourself even when you have nobody else. YOU can get YOU through, sometimes you need some help, professionals or medication, to ease you into teaching yourself that YOU are going to be just fine.

    Maybe not today, and probably not tomorrow but some people feel lighter in a week, or a month, even a year. Feeling like you don’t want to be here, isn’t something to be afraid of, even when your body tells you it is, just because you feel like you want to be gone, doesn’t mean you’ll do it. Have faith in yourself to help yourself and you will be able to laugh and feel love for life again.

    Trust yourself.

  57. If you’ve never experienced mental illness, you probably have no idea just how hopeless it can make you feel. I’ve been diagnosed with ADD & depression … and spent much of last year battling my way through the worst depressive episodes I’ve ever experienced. If it wasn’t for my sense of responsibility to my kids, the help of a really good shrink, and the support of a wife who is a mental-health professional, and the magic of Wellbutrin, I’m pretty sure that, at best, I would not have gotten out of bed for a very, very long time and, at worst, I would not have gotten out of bed ever again.

    If you’ve never spent all day, everyday, feeling like life was a torturous endurance test, experiencing no joy, only inner turmoil and hopelessness, wishing you didn’t exist (which is different than wanting to kill yourself, but not by much) and looking forward to nothing except the end of the day so you could crawl back into bed and embrace the sweet escape of unconsciousness, all against a backdrop of (flawed) certainty that you were going to feel this way day in, day out, for the rest of your life, then you can’t imagine how hard it is to hang in there and dig yourself out of that hole. And if you are experiencing all of that, hear this: get help and DON’T GIVE UP. When I told my shrink that I didn’t think I would ever again feel anything but miserable, he assured me I would. It was nearly impossible for me to believe him at the time, but he was right.

    I am so sorry for Lori and her family. No one should have to experience that kind of tragedy.

  58. Lori, I’m so sorry about your husband. Your words were so powerful that I could hear you speak them through the screen, even though I’ve never heard your voice.

    Jenny, thank you for sharing Lori’s message. The way you communicated it…well, I’m all teary and throat-lumpy.

  59. I think one of the worst things about anxiety and depression is that it makes you feel that you are the only one who feels that way. It’s not until you start talking to people about it that you realize that there are so many of us out there.

    Lori, I’m so sorry. Jenny and Lori, thank you so much for speaking out. As someone who took a long time to speak and even longer to get someone to actually hear me, I know that life is so much better now that I’m not alone.

  60. I’m all over the speaking. I tell anyone I know as more than a passing fellow in the produce aisle that I have mild to moderate depression, that it was tough to admit it, taking my first pill was tougher, and that now that I have spoken, and seen a therapist, and taken that pill, I will never deny being depressed again. I will never not take medication that can make my life brighter. I will never not SPEAK about my depression. Life’s been better since I’ve spoken up.

    Thanks for sharing.

  61. So beautiful, heartbreaking, true and powerful. I have a friend who regularly says, “Depression sucks giant donkey balls.” Yep- I whole heartedly agree. Thank you for sharing.

  62. Hi Jenny,

    I have been willing to share this with you for a while and I think it would be particularly appropriate after this heartbreaking post.

    This is Elude, and it is a serious game that was created to help the relatives of people who are battling depression understand how this desease works. I think it is very poetic, very well conceived, and strangely apeasing.

    I am obviously very sorry for your friend Lori. I hope her loved ones can help her get through this ordeal.

  63. I SPEAK.

    Major Depression, Severe, Recurring, PTSD, anxiety disorder, etc… Psoriatic Arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and a bunch of symptoms no one can pinpoint an effing diagnosis for right now…

    Right now, I will keep going.

    For my son- from whom I have been kept because of another’s fear of Mental Illness.

    For my family, with whom I have been struggling to have a real relationship for decades, and who could not take one more tragedy.

    And for my pets… for whom I am responsible.

  64. I have OCD. I have panic disorder. I have depression. I get help. Three years ago I was agoraphobic, didn’t leave my house, and spent hours and hours every day ritualizing. Now I can live and manage my mental illness.

  65. I have three kids. My last two have a ten year gap. Some asshat thought it’d be funny to throw postpartum depression at me after giving birth the third time. My son is now almost two and I continue to fight the demons every single day, complete with thoughts of how worthless I am and wouldn’t the world be better off without me. I’ve been diagnosed with PPD, PPOCD and PPA. My world has been turned upside down and I’ve been on so many medications I’ve lost count. One in particular put me in a manic state and at the time, it felt like the greatest feeling. I was on the up and up with no bad days. Then I learned that being in a manic state isn’t good for your brain and I was crushed. People with depression or any mental illness need to take the day moment to moment. The people surrounding us get upset when we can’t even look to tomorrow because “What if my illness takes me before then?” Anyhow, I free flow about my mental illnesses on my blog day in and day out. There’s some dark shit in there but for me, it’s worth it to help educate others and to have other women who suffer in silence reach out to simply say thanks or can I help? Thanks Jenny, it’s great to have a fellow blogger open up and grant access to the inside. I’ve also been following Lori’s story and oh my god, I’m so sorry this happened to her.

    Now, where’s my Xanax?

  66. Jenny,

    I don’t believe I’ve ever commented on your site before, but I’ve read it for a long time. But I this post I just felt I should comment. I had been mis-diagnoised as a teenager with depression and I was on medication for it back then. However the medication I was on back then only seemed to make my depression worse. So once I turned 18 and moved out on my own I stopped taking the medication. I told my now husband about it when we first started dating. And he was extremely supportive of me and told me that if I ever needed to talk about it I could. However, I saw it as a weakness of mine and as such I hid it when I was feeling so depressed that I barely had the energy to get out of bed sometimes. But it was affecting our marriage and I wasn’t able to pull myself out of it. And then it all came pouring out of me one day. And he helped me, and he supported me even though I had “hidden” this from him, and I felt horrible about that. I then sought professional help, which was hard on me as my last three “shrinks” that I had when I was a teenager never listened to me, because hey.. I’m a teenager, what do I know. I found out that I am not suffering from depression. At least not just depression. I am in fact bi-polar and that is why the anti-depressants made my depression worse. I needed a mood stablizer. And I am now on them. My quality of life has improved, and so has my marriage. If I hadn’t sought the support of my husband, and the professional help that I am now getting (thankfully my “shrink” listens to me and I really enjoy my visits) I shudder to think of where I would be mentally right now, let alone where my marriage would be.

    So thank you for this post. And I hope it helps others.

  67. I spoke out two weeks ago and admitted that I am depressed and that I need help. Saying the words, as hard as it was, turned into the best thing I could have done for myself. The relief at not having to keep everything inside and hide the pain was immense. My family and friends have rallied to my side, and I’m back in therapy.

    Speaking out was the best gift I gave myself.

  68. As someone with a mild disfigurement, I can tell you about stigma, about reputation, about slander. Should you suffer any of these things as a result of your openness, one reason exists: the dishonesty of others. The prevailing problem with disfigurement or disability is that thieves love to claim that we have “mental problems” so that they can steal from us without fear of legal retribution. A look at the racial climate of America prior to the Civil Rights Movement reveals the same problem–opportunistic theft, utilizing stigma, to escape justice. Even the tendency of blacks to original names is based on the very real problem of whites utilizing identity theft to steal savings and land from African-Americans.
    Openness, as individuals, as groups, is the only cure for injustice. Suicide is an enormous injustice, and any suicide also opens the door for murders disguised as suicides.
    The suicide may not even be the victim’s own idea. A phenomenon seen in the rural South, but little used in cities, involves crooked families with a life insurance policy on someone. They and their friends will walk past the insured and, just under their breath, whisper “suicide” as a subliminal suggestion to try and induce the suicide, once the two-year exclusion is passed. My great-uncle, as mentally healthy a man as ever walked this earth, endured this from members of his wife’s family who coveted both the insurance payoff and the 30 acres he owned.
    I’ve had my bouts of despair, some long-lasting. You have all of my sympathy, and any help I can provide to remove the stigma.

  69. My father in law committed suicide last year – it will be a year ago this coming weekend.

    As someone who has dealt with depression and fought dark, dark feelings myself, I had some sympathy for him. Yes. Absolutely. But I also hold some anger toward him for putting my husband through this. Suicide results in a tricky grief process.

    Thank you, Jenny for putting this out there. Thank you for talking about it. I haven’t mentioned the manner of my father in law’s death on my own site. My husband took off to India immediately after it happened, so that was not appropriate for me to talk about it. Then, he came back and we began dealing with it. Time went on and I still haven’t talked about on my site. I hate that anyone would think that I was ashamed of the way he chose to die. Because I am not. More importantly, my husband is not. We have not kept it a secret by any means. But I just never knew how to talk about it on my own site – I did not know my father in law, so the grief was not mine to talk about.

    Again, thank you for talking about this.

  70. I have type II bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, OCD, and PTSD. I came out of the attic shortly after being diagnosed with bipolar II at age 38. Previously I had been misdiagnosed, given medications that screwed me up worse, and hated myself because I didn’t know why I couldn’t just be normal.

  71. Maybe it’s just me.. But i’m afraid to say anything to my doctor, I’m afraid to admit how I really feel. I’m afraid she will just be like ‘get over it’…

  72. She might. And if she does it’s time to find a new doctor. It took a really long time before I found one who understood and could help me. You can’t “get over” depression alone any more than you can “get over” cancer alone. Talk to your doctor.

  73. In theory,admitting that you have a problem sounds like the easiest thing to do. It’s rational and it makes sense. But, speaking from experience,when you are in the beginning of a diagnosis ( or maybe have not even been diagnosed) its hard to recognize where the disease/disorder begins and you end. I know its a “part” of us but you see the look on people’s faces when you put a name to it and they look at you differently. Even if they try not to, you can see it in their eyes . And the minute anything goes “not perfect” it must be because you are ….(insert name of disease). When I was first diagnosed, I embraced it. I was just happy to find a way to not be broken anymore. I told people. I went to therapy. I took meds. It took a few years but I wrapped my mind around it and realized that it wasn’t who I was but just a part that made me who I am. But regardless of whether I let it run my life, others pigeonholed me as my disease. I got tired of being looked at like a diagnosis. Those very close to me, know me and know I have been diagnosed but see me the person…not a diagnosis. I dont speak as freely about it as I did. I am now gaurded. It is a very personal part of me that I don’t share with many. I don’t understand why some disorders are considered ok and others are looked at like you have the plague or have done something wrong to deserve this. Thanks for sharing. I wish I could get back to that point but I am just not ready to go back to being a diagnosis.

  74. I’m convinced that I have some sort of — I think — anxiety disorder, and while I am not embarrassed at all to talk about it in public, since blogging was created for that sort of thing, I more ashamed of looking at it myself, so I don’t really take any specific actions to deal with it, other than try to think in different ways than I usually do, hoping to trick out my own brain. I am less inspired by your openness with others about your medical issues — since that seems rather easy to you — than your openness you have with yourself, because to me, that is the hard part.

    I’m sorry about the loss of your friend’s husband.

  75. What an amazing post, and once again, you prove what a profoundly good friend you are.

    Last year, I found myself buried under anxiety. BURIED. I finally, after much encouragement, went on a low-dose of Celexa – just to take the edge off. It helped. It’s SO important to get help.

  76. –>A college friend frequently posts on her facebook wall how sad she is from being unable to get pregnant. She shared once that folks going through the trials, medical tests and procedures offer suffer from the same symptoms of depression.
    Speak out ya’ll!

  77. I have mild depression that increased greatly when I was pregnant to the point I was self destructing. I was slowly suffocating and no one knew. They just chalked it up to hormones. I finally told my husband, who has never had to deal with mental illness or really knownanyone who has it, and at first he tried to tell me everything was ok. After listening to me talk, he knew something was seriously wrong and urged me to get the help I needed. Still battling the self destruction but I fight now for my husband and my 3 week old son. I am one damn stubborn redhead and I refuse to just sit back and let this shit win. KEEP FIGHTING! there is help out there, don’t surrender to this illness.

  78. ADD and Depression. I didn’t tell my family or friends for 5 years about the depression. It was a huge burden and even though I was expecting to here “well, just rub some dirt on it and move on already” I was met with more support than I ever could have fathomed. And that has made a huge difference.

  79. I’ll speak. I’m a touch narcissist, perhaps bi-polar to some people (although I supposed I’d have to actually swing down for that to apply) but since, as a narcissist, I find “me” the most fascinating I’ve been aware of my faults and gifts forever. And since mental illness runs throughout my family in such fascinating ways I’ve always kept a watch on my kids.

    I watched my son manifest his Asperger’s. I watched it so closely I almost missed his Anxiety Disorder. He struggled and failed and went into depression for 2 years before I realized this needed to be addressed separately from his Asperger’s. That was a year ago, he’s 13 now, just entering puberty. And he’s never been as normal as the Prozac helps him to be. He found it “disgusting I need a pill to be happy” at first but I convinced him its like a vitamin, making sure your body has what it needs to function. And we don’t treat it like something to be ashamed about. He’ll speak.

    My middle son is quiet, too quiet. The bullies at school introverted my sweet boy into a harsh, closed person. He’s 11 and for the first time in his young life he’s found the courage to stand up to them. And its working. He’s re-building his own self-esteem with each success and learning to problem solve which each failure. He is learning To Speak. I’m so proud.

    My last son is 9 and while he looks like his father, he’s all me inside. Narcissist, honest (brutally so), with a hair-trigger, tantrum temper. He’ll rule the world. Although his brother’s are convinced he’ll become an Evil Genius and need a Super Hero to defeat his evil plans for the world. But I have no worries he won’t Speak. Like me he never shuts up!

    Sorry, Jenny for the long comment, but its not just for us To Speak.. we must try to teach our kids to also Speak out. For their sake and for ours, as we cannot do without them in our lives.

    Heather Barton
    p.s. We love you!

  80. This made me almost cry at work. It really hits home for me, I just told my husband of 3 years how much I hurt inside due to my depression, how much I want to crash my car into a jersey wall just to see how much it hurts, and how much I hate myself, so to read those words really made me feel a little bit better almost as if SOMEONE finally understands.


  81. I feel lucky in the fact that I have had a wonderful support system for the last 10 years. 2 friends that I could tell anything too. I confided in them and they confided in me, reminding me that I am not alone in my feelings. My thoughts are not so obscure. I am alive. I am healthy. And I am very thankful. This runs in my family and now I am pregnant with my first child. I need to continue to be strong for my little one. I need to be alive. I need to be healthy. I am not sure who started talking about our issues first, me or my friends, whomever it was it doesn’t matter. It just matters that we talked about it, got it all out in the open. If you talk, others will listen, others may even speak up as well. Just by that simple act a life can be saved. We are not alone.

  82. Coming from someone who suffers from depression, and also as someone who works at an agency that does mental health counseling…..THANK YOU. I love Lori’s “You Speak.” That says so much. Mental health issues still have such a bad rap, and they shouldn’t!! It’s not like anyone can help how they feel, what they have, anymore than we can control our heart beating. It is a part of who a person is. Those around us should accept us as we are- happy, sad, disfigured, fat, thin- whatever. We are who we are. We can change some things about us, but overall, people need to accept a person for who they are. I am a firm believer in that. And if someone doesn’t like it, then that person does not need to be in my life. If they cannot support me for who I am, help me through tough times, smile and laugh with me during the good, then they do not DESERVE to be in my life.

  83. Just started getting help for depression/anxiety/self injury at a local mental health clinic (no insurance). Literally only saw my therapist 3 times but I know that she is going to help me get through all of this. Hoping for a diagnosis soon so a real plan can be implemented. Starting DBT group soon.
    Knowing I’m not alone makes all the difference.

  84. My children lost their father two years ago to suicide. They were 14, 16, & 17 at the time. If only he had let us know how bad things were, he was proud, and his business was failing, and none of us cared about any of that.
    My youngest daughter is an exchange student in Sweden this year, and wrote this blog entry about her dad:

    For those of you struggling, please speak. You are loved – people you know, and so many who don’t

  85. I know for a fact that I would rather have a crippled Tessa than no Tessa. She’s never been able to walk or dance or even get on the toilet herself since I’ve known her. But we couldn’t manage without her. I don’t think people ever get “disabled” except by choice. Tessa presides over a Board of Directors of a not-for-profit agency with a ten million-dollar annual cash flow. She can’t breathe lying down, but she’s got plenty of work to do in this life.

  86. I’m Diane and I’m a manic depressive. My mother (passed on now) was ashamed of me because I sought treatment.

  87. I am at work and after reading this post I need time to not cry before reading the comments. But I wanted to tell you my appreciation for this. My dad is bipolar and there is a very high chance that I could develop it( I have always showed signs and keep my attention on it). My husband has/is battling with depression and I want children so bad, but sometimes question passing this on. I always try to tell both my husband and father that just because it is not something that can be measured (such as blood sugar) does not mean it is not a “real” illness. I have tears in my eyes because of this and I am absolutely going to spread this around. Thank you again for being awesome.
    And as I said I have not read the comments yet, but I great admire all of those who are honest with themselves and the world aswell as all of those who stick close to the ones who struggle.

  88. Thank you for being as compassionate and honest as you are off-the-wall hilarious. You warm my heart and make my sides ache (from laughter). Your friend, Lori, will be able to get through these difficult times because of friends like you.

  89. Jenny- Thank you for posting this.
    I’m sorry to hear of Lori’s loss. My mother-in-law lost her first husband due to suicide and was the lucky one to find him (even though he hoped it would be his parents). I wish her strength.
    The point I want to make today is this: I want to share this with my sister. I am pretty positive she suffers from one (maybe more) of the many mental illness possibilities that are out there.

    I too, though, am afraid.

    I’m afraid of pissing her off because I have made such an assumption. I’m afraid she isn’t ready to admit it to herself. I’m afraid she isn’t ready to admit it to anyone else (even though we all suspect and talk about our worry when she’s not around). I’m afraid of losing her friendship because I’ve pissed her off. Afraid that the temper we all fear will raise its ugly head and we can’t have a calm conversation about our concern.

    I want a lovely 30 year old woman with a seven year old son to be able to hold a job and not live in her parents’ house. I don’t want to be an enabler like my mother (who I fear also suffers from depression), and stay quiet about such a large issue because of that fear. I want her to not be afraid of help or medication because when she was in high school and diagnosed with ADD, the meds made her “not feel like herself.” I love my sister. I want to love her even with all her insecurities. I want her to feel as normal as possible and not paranoid about small things like driving down the freeway (she didn’t get her driver’s license until she was 21).

    I’m afraid, too, and I’m not the one with the illness. I just want to help the one who does. It’s not easy being on this side of the fence either. Just know that there are those on this side who desperately want to be there for those of you on your side. You guys aren’t alone. We want to help. We may not fully understand how it is for you. Help us understand. Let us know how to help you, what we can do to make life more bearable and enjoyable. We love you!

  90. Thank you for this post. I have been struggling with anxiety since the age of 10, depression since my early teens, and PTSD for the last 5 years or so. It is a hard road, and often one that many of us face alone. I was very lucky to have a strong support system in my family, my friends and my husband. I’ve been in and out of therapy my whole life, and know that I would not be here today if I had not told my loved ones what was going on.

    Thank you, again. <3

  91. I have struggled with anxiety the last several years, but it all started when I was a teenager and SO depressed that my diagnosis actually went from Major Depressive Disorder to PTSD. I was so depressed that they were convinced that I had been traumatized. They sent me to hypno-therapy in hopes that I would “remember what happened to me.” A lot of it was circumstantial, it turned out, and when I moved away from my helicopter parents I got a lot better (after spending my freshman year of college sleeping the whole thing off and losing 60 pounds).

    What I learned from it all was compassion, patience, and the fact that if you can make some changes for the better – therapy, medication, moving, massage, travel, whatever it takes – life can improve. My heart is heavy for the people who didn’t live long enough to experience the “better.”

  92. I’ve never been diagnosed officially as having any mental illness. But I know it’s there. My grandmother, my mother, my brother, and I all struggle with depression and anxiety at different levels and in different forms. The little monsters are insidious, and no one should have to be far away from their mother when she calls to tell you she wants to run her car into a light pole and end it all. Asking for help, in the form of medication and in the form of emotional support, is the best thing I’ve ever done. Having people who understand and can remind me that life’s worth it can bring me back out of The Hole.

    Thank you for sharing all of this. Much warmth and love to Lori and her family. Much to everyone who’s commented here. Much to you. You’re all brave. You’re all worth sharing this life with. <3

  93. Jenny,

    You are a good soul and you do an amazing amount of good for the world at large, in addition to ensuring I get no billable work done. Everyone is slighly cracked in one way or another. I am like a shark – as long as I am moving, the anxieties that hang in the far reaches of my mind are kept at bay. If I stop moving, they come crashing in. My parents relentlessly pushed me to excel and by all external measures, I have. Still, I count tile patterns in the ceilings, I conjugate Latin to calm down and I never ever stop doing something. Can you spell OCD? I have yet to master the art of being perfectly still without looking for patterns in things. Hugs.


  94. I just posted a bit ago about wanting to speak for my sister. My comment showed up as anonymous. I don’t want to be anonymous in this world. I think too many people try to be anonymous.

    My name is Kathy and I want to help my family.

  95. I have battled depression too and recently posted a piece on my blog about it. I hear you and you are not alone

  96. My children lost their father to suicide 3 years ago. He didn’t ask for help, and although we all knew he was struggling, we had no idea it was that serious.

    My daughter writes about it in her blog post: Please speak! There will be many who love you and want to help.

  97. What a tragedy for Lori’s family… Thank you for helping her spread the word and putting your money where your mouth is. It seems hard to believe, with all our medical advancements in society, that mental illness is still thought to be anything less powerful than it is.

  98. I went through a bout of acute depression. Sometimes I can feel it creeping back in. Radomly just giving me’ a feeling if loneliness and hopelessness. I am the sister to a brother with PTSD and another with severe OCD and Tourettes.

  99. Bipolar speaking out here. Because of the nature of my bipolar disorder, I will never be free of it. The most I can do is keep myself stable.

    Every word of that video is true. Every. Word.

    I’ve blogged about coming out. I’ve blogged about the stigma. I’ve blogged about the shame. I have a lot more to blog about, but I’m afraid. Of being kicked out of my profession. Of scaring away my loved ones. Of losing my tenuous grip on recovery.

    One of the reasons of starting my blog was to be open about bipolar disorder. Because I felt alone. And I wanted others to know they were not alone. Bipolar disorder is not the sole subject of my blog. But it is there.

    I want to reiterate – mental illness is a true illness. Please get help. Please help your loved ones get help.

  100. I have depression and anxiety and just a touch of PTSD. I have suffered from the depression and anxiety on and off since I was 14. I know now that I have a severe family history from both sides, including several suicides and attempted suicides. But when I was younger, no one talked about it. To this day, some family members still won’t say the words out loud that they have anxiety and depression.

    A few months ago it got so bad that I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t work, I couldn’t cook, I couldn’t exercise, I just sat there day after day and cried. Finally a friend of mine came into my office and refused to leave until I made an appointment with a therapist. Thank God for good friends who are willing to share their own stories. I ended up taking a few weeks’ leave from my job and getting help. It’s still a struggle some days (Mondays are by far the worst), but it’s controlled (as much as these things can be) and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    It’s not me, but it is part of me, and it will be always. I’m not weak. I’m not less than. I just have a disease, and some times I need to stop and take care of myself. I’m not ashamed any more.

  101. A friend of mine has a child who is bi-polar and a husband who is a pre-op transsexual. Her life is always filled with so much drama. I feel really blessed to have such a simple life by compare.

  102. Jenny, your blog gets me through my early work shifts with all you’re hilarity, but today I got something more. My father was in a mental hospital over Christmas. I am thankful he is still alive and doing better, but that doesn’t mean I don’t fear the worst. My thoughts go out to you and your friend.

  103. I have been struggling with a depression for many years. Accepting it was hard but telling others about it was even harder. I have been close to give up many times but because of the help from my family I didn’t.

    I would wish mental illness was not such a big tabu. I would wish that it was more acceptable to talk about how you really feel instead of keeping all your feelings to yourself.

    It is a tragedy for Lori’s family. No one should ever get so ill that they see death as the only way out.

    We should all help spreading Lori’s words because in that way we could help others before it is too late. I will spread the words.

  104. The first line of Lori’s speech chilled me to the core. That’s me: that’s what I do. It’s easier to wrap myself up in making sure everyone else is taken care of than owning up to what I need because I’m scared I’m too fucked up – beyond help. I don’t know how to ask for it, and that scares me, too.

    I’ve (anonymously) blogged about my dance with depression and my long-standing anxiety issues, self-worth issues, ISSUE-issues However. It took me a lot longer to “come out” to come out to my family and friends… the “real life” people (I hate that term: you’re ALL real people, and if I consider you a friend, you’re no less a friend just because I haven’t met you (yet)). I did mini blog post-type notes on facebook “announcing” my depression. I recently “came out” when a dear friend posted a facebook status update about this very thing.

    It’s scary. It’s not even so much the fear of being judged: I’m used to that fear. I think it’s admitting it to myself that makes me freeze the most.

  105. I have never suffered from depression for real. I felt little licks and tastes of it after my first was born, but it never got bad enough to be considered post partum. But those little tastes I got every few weeks would shatter me for a day. Make me wonder how I was going to make it. And then I’d be pulled up and out of it the next day.

    Those little tastes have helped me find the compassion and love for all those suffering from depression and mental illness. One of my best friends went through hell and back. While I wasn’t there for her when it happened (she lives in a different state and I didn’t know until it was over), she knows that I’m always here – even if it’s just for encouragement, a hug or holding her hand. I hope that everyone suffering has someone who can be there for them in the way they need.

    Thanks for sharing this all with us. Here’s a hug for you.

  106. This was so touching. I have lived the last 9 years of my life with Bipolar Disorder, about 5 years with crippling anxiety, and I have struggled with Asperger syndrome my entire life. It’s difficult and no one talks about it. I cannot tell you how many times a loved one has said to me, “Kait, just stop being sad. Stop ‘freaking out’ about everything. Just try to blend in with people and act normal. You’ll be SO much happier!” And then I’m all, “If it were that simple, I would have one that already, ASSHOLE.” Sometimes, I feel like the reactions of others is just as difficult, if not more so, than the mental illness and the autism themselves. Dangling these “simple solutions” is just cruel and it makes me feel like a loser who will never move on and become one of the shiny, happy people.

    But every now and then, someone like you comes along and reminds me that I am not alone. I am reminded that it really is as difficult as it feels and that it’s okay to stumble. More importantly, I’m reminded that checking out is not now and never will be a smart option. No matter what I believe, someone out there cares enough to be deeply affected should something ever happen to me.

    So thank you, Jenny, for being my reminder. Honestly, it just may help me get through another handful of grey, icy days.

    I came out about my mental illness as a teenager, but I have only recently started talking about my Asperger Syndrome. I don’t believe that AS is a mental illness, but the struggle and the stigma are similar:

  107. Jenny, what an important post-thank you. I can’t imagine what Lori is going through, simply no words. My heart goes out to her and her family.

  108. I respectfully disagree. I have been asking for help for years. It doesn’t come, and no one really understands me.

    I have run the gamut of shrinks since losing my daughter. I have had one tell me I should “get over it – it’s been long enough.” He said I should pull myself up by the bootstraps and get a grip. I had another tell me I should accept Dr. Phil’s invite to be on his show so that I can go on and tell everyone that “Dr. XXXX’s book saved me!”. I had another tell me if I came every week for two years, he could really, really help me. Two months later, he bailed on me.

    The list goes on. I’ve stopped trying.

    I’m on disability for my mental illness. I now have a teenage son who resents the shit out of me for not having a job! I still tell myself I can end it one day….just not yet. Not until he’s an adult and I’ve done my job mothering him through the younger years.

    Maybe it’s because I’m dealing with Medicare type clinics/docs – I don’t know. (Although the one who told me to go on Dr. Phil was not). I don’t doubt there is help out there – if you have the financial means to do it. Which the majority of people I know, including myself, don’t. It is an industry that you get what you pay for! I once drove myself sobbing and hysterical to a psych hospital. Talk about reaching out. I told them I could NOT carry on. I wanted to be admitted and helped! They told me “you don’t determine when and if you are going to be admitted. We do.” And they didn’t. They told me they wouldn’t admit be – because I was not suicidal or homicidal. WTF?

    The moment I heard the words ‘your daughter is going to die’ my life changed. The make up of my brain changed. 42 days later when she did (at the age of 11), it again changed. Nothing will ever again be worthwhile.

    And no….I don’t have any friends or family. I am a recluse. It’s part of what this mental illness does to me. I think the whole “speak out” is fine in theory. In practical application, I find it falls overwhelmingly short.

    *not proofreading, for fear I’ll edit.

  109. Beautiful post Jenny. So sorry for your friend. And I’ve never wished I lived in Texas more than I do after reading this. Pretend I brought you over something yummy, a bottle of vodka and we watched movies all day together.

  110. Anxiety, agoraphobia, depression, migraines, RA and the weight of the world (or so it seems)…
    I suffer. I cry. I surrender so many days to this battle I really would say I’m not winning it. I give in, isolate, confine myself to bed, forgo events – friends – even food due to my condition. I’m 39. Single. I don’t feel lovable, I don’t feel whole, and I’ve developed this dark seed of nihilism that is only growing. It’s a brutal enough world sometimes without being the first one to beat myself up. >Sigh< I do have friends, and family, and healthcare providers and I wish there was a magic pill (with no side-effects!) and I wish all the hard work to be a self-loving person came easier for me but it's the hardest actually. Be nice, be compassionate, live and laugh– that's all I want.

  111. Jenny, you make life so much more bearable for the rest of us who live with mental illness. You’re also one of the reasons I felt courageous enough to start talking about my own mental illness a year ago. And why I felt that humor was a huge part of healing.

  112. This hits home for me more than you can know. I will talk about it one day, but to do it at this point in time will cause tears that may never stop.
    Thank you for your bravery Jenny.

  113. So tragic…prayers for Lori and her family. I just talked to my husband about all this…he’s a “there for everybody” guy with big heart and broad shoulders. I begged him to “talk…” Thanks for the reminder, sorry for the cost.

  114. This struck me so heavily…especially about Lori.

    I, too, tend to put myself first before anyone else. My problems? What are they compared to someone else’s? What are they compared to the world?

    However, I remember seeing Madame Butterfly in the Metropolitan Opera House. I remember staring at the stage, watching the singer/actress realize the man she had a child with has a wife. She goes crazy and blindfolds her toddler son. She walks around with the child (a puppet on stage) and then proceeds to kill herself. I stared at the stage…completely dry-eyed while all the other women around me bawled. I found myself criticizing the fictional character. “How could she do that? Why would she leave her child motherless like that? I simply don’t understand….” I STILL don’t understand now…a couple years later with a baby son.

    No matter what, no matter how much I don’t fit in this world…no matter how much I don’t want to be here…I have a baby. No matter how much I’ll miss my husband when he’s deployed….I’m staying right where I am. My baby needs me and deserves to grow up knowing me. But also, not only does my son need me…my husband needs me. And I need them…I need their blue and hazel eyes looking at me like I’m something incredibly magical.

    I’m working on telling people my problems…and it is hard.

    Seeing as how I can’t figure out why I can’t comment on her blog…Lori…make sure to hold your two kids tight. Make sure they know you love them. Teach them it’s ok to talk about their problems…teach them not to let someone tell them it’s wrong.

    Lori, when I look at my husband in the morning as he sleeps…I think very often about how I might never have met him. I stroke his arm as I think that he tried to commit suicide a few years ago…I think how I might never would have been held by him. As I watch him lie there, his thumb firmly planted in his mouth….I feel how close I was to be without him. I feel how empty my life would be without him……and without the child he gave to me. I…am so thankful.

    I’m babbling now…….aren’t I? I apologize.

  115. It can be worse than suicide. A good friend of mine is on trial right now for killing her youngest son. Apparently in the last few days of his life, she came to believe that the world would end in 2012 and that by killing him she set him free. It’s been nearly 2 years and his older brother still asks for him and wants to play with his brother. I sometimes wish she had killed herself instead.

  116. My sister had mental illness through most of her life and was constantly hospitalized. She had a heart transplant when she was little and I think the medication and the trauma associated with it really fueled a lot of it. She passed away from cancer about 2 years ago. I’m helping my mom edit her book right now. I’m passionate about mental illness because I think it takes away and hinders our basic ability to make healthy choices – which in my opinion is one of our core purposes in life. It’s devastating to deal with, so hard on families, and most people don’t understand it. Loved the video that you linked to.

  117. Nobody likes to admit to themselves (let alone anyone else) that they need help. As someone who has struggled (let’s be honest–is struggling) with mental illness I know the truth of this. It sucks. It’s fucking awful and hard and not fair. Even now I’m sitting at home trying to force myself to do something productive because lately I can’t move much.

    I don’t know what I would do without the people I love and the people that love me. Jenny, thank you so much for speaking out and just for existing.

    For everyone reading this: You deserve a life. You deserve help if you need it. I promise.

  118. It took an overdose and state-forced hospitalization in the mental ward for me to finally be able to come out about my depression. I don’t know if you realize how much you make things better for people, without even trying. You are incredible. And for Lori, no one should ever have to go through that. What a terrible loss. I don’t know if I’d ever be able to recover from something like that.

  119. And one other thing….it’s the cost to “speak out” and get better. I get meds through my family doctor.

    It costs me over a thousand dollars a year just for the meds. Add to that the visits I have to make to his office…on a disability income. When it comes down to groceries, or a sports fee for my son, etc….guess what gives?

    Every day as I swallow that pill, I think “there’s two dollars”.

    This issue needs some serious reform. People need to have an accessible way to speak out and receive help – not just on paper, but in real time.

  120. Sweet Babou and I are both an antidepressants. We were born with a chemical imbalance in our brain that makes us depressed. Our bodies won’t make enough norepinephrine so we get it from an external source. It is an illness, not a moral failing or a weakness, dammit. There are a million cultural messages which suggest that medications are a “cop-out” for those who aren’t “strong enough”. Those messages are utter bullshit.

  121. My heart goes out to all those suffering from depression, or any other mental illness. And to Lori for the pain she is left with.

    I’ve been there, too. Both suicidal, and left feeling the pain of a suicide. My ex-boyfriend killed himself. He talked about it a little for years, but he was so “strong” we always thought he’d be fine. He never did seek help, except by numbing through drinking.

    Love and hugs to you all. <3

  122. Thank You! You are my guru. I admire your guts and aspire to have the courage some day. In the meantime, I’ll take pride in those who have the strength to speak openly about their limits.

  123. Thanks for sharing this. My Dad committed suicide in November. Mental illness has always pervaded my family. I hope more people speak about it openly so we can dampen the stigmas.

    P.S. You’re in my latest post.

  124. I don’t know how lame it seems for me to post that I think you are amazing and an inspiration and you say things that need to be said in such a perfect, simple and meaningful matter — that same comment over and over agan. But it’s true every time I write it, and I mean it from the bottom of my heart.

  125. In March 2010, I attempted to kill myself for the first time and ended up in the Emergency Room. My husband got the call from the E.R. Nurse and was shocked to learn what I had been going through. Since then, I am on anti-anxiety pills and anti-depression pills and currently, I have been seeing the same therapist on a bi-weekly basis for the past 7 months. A good friend of mine referred me to this therapist and I am grateful for having her as my therapist. However – I still struggle with depression because I don’t have any “real” friends other than my husband and there is “no cure” for depression. I have told my family about my long term depression but none of them seem to “get” it. On Christmas Eve, I had a big blowout with my family because I got tired of being disrespected and being treated like a lowest class member of the family. I was supposed to “bottle up my feelings” because it’s the fucking holidays. I blew up, let them have it. The problem is — they only saw my anger but they did not hear my words. My husband and I went home right after that. I was in tears and in a lot of pain. None of them has reached out to me since then, which is very sad and lonely. They blame the problem on my depression but they don’t realize that they are part of the problem. My mother said, “are you on medication? are you going to therapy?” and had the balls to say to my husband, “you will take care of her, won’t you?” Fucking bullshit. I told them – Yes, I am on all of these things but that does not excuse all of you from treating me like shit. I don’t know how m any times and how many different ways I can explain it to them. Even my sister said, “I’m not her problem.” Fuck you! No wonder why I’m depressed. No one wants to get to know me, no one wants to be my friend, no one wants to allow me to be me. Everyone has to take a shot at me and squash me like a little bug. I am not perfect, no one is. I’m sick and tired of trying to walk on eggshells, trying to please everyone. Fuck you, I cannot please you anymore. The only person who truly loves me as I am is my husband and for that — I thank my lucky stars every day. It would be nice to have at least a few other people who feel the same about me other than my husband. Depression sucks and there is no cure. I am doing the best I can every day. There are days when I want to die only because the emotional pain is so great that I just want to end the emotional pain. Other than that, I am fine most of the time. I have not thought about suicide as much anymore because my therapist has educated me and given me the tools on how I can improve myself despite what others think of me. This might be too much but I had to share my 2 cents worth.

  126. lori, i can’t express my heartfelt condolences in any other way than to envision you enveloped in love, peace, light.

    lori and jenny, thank you for speaking up for the rest of the tonys in the world. cancer, diabetes, heart disease – they all have people speaking for them. depression doesn’t – and those of us afflicted with it, need the voice of others more than any one else does.

    thank you. thank you. thank you.

  127. I don’t know why it’s so hard to speak up and ask for help, probably the lies that depression tells you about how alone and unloved you are. The lies about how nobody cares anyway, that they’ll just treat you differently, look at you like you’re crazy and that you don’t really matter. I’m bipolar and these lies are familiar to me…. they come out of nowhere, sometimes slowly creeping up and catching me unaware, but sometimes crushing me all at once. They tell me I can’t trust my friends and family, that nothing I do matters and that I can’t handle life. I have to remind myself constantly that it will pass and that people do love me. I’ve only just begun to tell people outside my immediate family about it – and I was diagnosed over 5 years ago – but I’m realizing that I need to speak up more.
    Thank you Jenny and Lori for you courage. Lori, I am so very sorry for you loss… my prayers are with you.

  128. I’m a man, and I once thought my burdens, being the result of my own mistakes, were mine to bear alone, only I found that burden too much to bear. It ate away at me until, in August 2010, after six days awake on whatever recreational chemicals I could get hold of, I very nearly died alone in my apartment. Realisation of the pain and suffering my death would cause (even though I thought my life to be worthless, and myself to be undeserving of love) made me determined to stay alive, and somehow I got through it.

    It’s a long, painful and incredibly difficult journey, learning to live again, and sometimes I still feel like I can’t make it. The difference now is that when I begin to feel that way, I tell someone, and I have sworn that I will never try to “man it out” again.

    Reading your post here, Jenny, and then seeing Lori’s absolutely heartbreaking blog has made me even more determined than I was before. I will NOT be responsible for causing that kind of pain in a fellow human being. Not ever.

    Thankyou for posting this, Jenny, from the bottom of my heart.

  129. Sometimes people in your own family just can’t grasp it. Sometimes no one you know can grasp it. You know yourself, though, and you know when something isn’t right. Thank you so much for your part in making it ok to ask for help, for making it ok to take a pill if that’s what will make you feel better. I know so many who struggle when they don’t have to because of the “stigma” that can be associated with being depressed or having an anxiety disorder. Just ask for help people. There is so much out there waiting for you.


  130. Jenny,

    As someone who has lived with loved ones affected by chronic depression (my brothers and dad) and has been treated for situational depression (post-partum) I thank you for your post. And I hope you will save this comment for a bad day, and then open it and remember that you are loved, and remind yourself that the world would be a lonlier, and much less funny place without you.


  131. I left a post on on Lori’s blog. I’ve never read her before and I don’t know if I can go back there because reading her pain, so eloquently versed, was heart-breaking. I’m bipolar and I’ve been down the road of deep dark depression many times. I’ve been lucky enough to have the support of an amazing man, and losing him is my greatest fear. My heart goes out to Lori. I hope her message is heard. It really does get better, but it’s so hard to know that when you are looking up from the bottomless pit. I would know.

  132. Thank you so much for doing this. You’ve really made a gigantic difference in making the Come Out campaign possible. So many people listen to you and I’m absolutely blown away by how fast this has spread. I can’t thank you enough.

  133. Looks like you and I run in some of the same circles. The depression and anxiety disorder circles, to be exact. Fun times, right? I don’t like those circles. I’d rather have the totally mentally sane and incredibly fashionable circles myself. But you are right. We keep speaking. We keep trying to move forward. I’ll keep digging myself out of my hole every time. Because it’s not where I belong.

    Thanks Jenny – I visited Lori as well. . .

  134. I do have a question for childless couples.

    I have heard many, many people say, “I live my life for my children. I exercise so I can live longer to see my children and my grandhildren grow up. etc etc” I keep hearing lots of reasons to live – is for their children. What about those who don’t have children? Do we have a reason to live? Just saying….

  135. Your blog makes me laugh, and I love that. But this – this post, and posts like it – are why I keep coming back. Thank you for saying this.

    My heart goes out to Lori and her family.

  136. I know some people would disaggree but I find this post to be NSFW…just because you know crying and snot and stuff.

    Also, really beautiful. (you, not my snot)

  137. thoughts and well-wishes to lori. i can tell you you’re not alone, but i know you feel that way. mental illness is a horrifying thing to have to live through, but can be just as horrifying to watch someone live through – or not live through as the case, sadly, often is.

    i’ve come out all crazy and honest on my blog about my battles with mental illness. some of us have different levels of sickness, different coping mechanisms, what not. but it’s still a disease that doesn’t get enough attention or understanding or recognition.

    recently here in florida i’ve been seeing commercials about mental illness, like what to do if your friend is mentally ill? the same thing you’ve always done. and how speaking out makes it better.

    it does. it doesn’t always work right away or the way you expect it to, but it does. that’s why i blog about it for reals, yo. because it helps me.

    and i’d like to think, maybe it helps some other people as well.

  138. Your words and the words of the people who comment here are always very true to home and inspiring. I’m dealing with an anxiety that deepens daily. I am embarrassed by it and struggling to find compassion for myself, but it is not who I am.

    I just really needed this post today. Thanks to you and Lori.

  139. Postpartum depression.

    You know what could be cool? If bloggers with mental health issues made a photo like yours up there. Our faces with the words on them. Hm …

  140. Jenny & Lori –
    My depression and anxiety disorder is not something I share with many. Sometimes it can even be a struggle for my loved ones to understand me and why I do things, or cannot do things at all.

    But they don’t have to understand, sympathize, or even “fix” me. All they have to do is give me a shoulder to lean on, a hand to hold , or a hug to save me from myself. It really is hard to not feel like I’m broken and that my mental illness defines me.

    Further, I have chronic headaches. It feels the same way – I’m THAT girl with the headaches. Either people don’t believe the chronic pain, or empathize but can’t imagine what it’s really like. Give me a hangover headache any day.

    Jenny – I am really interested to hear more about how you cope with your RA. I know your goal is to not bum your readers out, but it helps so much to hear about and know other people with chronic and invisible illnesses. It astounds me how much you have accomplished, and how you are succeeding in molding your life and career in a way that accommodates those days that just plain suck monkey balls.

    For everyone, a little Emily Dickinson:

    After great pain, a formal feeling comes
    The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs
    The stiff Heart questions was it He, that bore,
    And Yesterday, or Centuries before?

    The Feet, mechanical, go round
    Of Ground, or Air, or Ought
    A Wooden way
    Regardless grown,
    A Quartz contentment, like a stone

    This is the Hour of Lead
    Remembered, if outlived,
    As Freezing persons recollect the Snow
    First-Chill-then Stupor-then the letting go

  141. And it is for this reason that I blog freely about my recovery from alcoholism. If you need help in the area of addiction – please visit my blog and/or send me an email. I can help you get the help you need.

  142. Jenny,

    You are an amazing bloggess and up until today I have admired your self effacing sense of humor for some time now. Now I see there is so much more to you – to this. Of course you are three dimensional and kind and purposeful. Lori is lucky to have you as her friend. I am just heartsick about what she is going through. Thank you for what you do, you’re incredible.

  143. Oh Jenny, you do so much good inbetween your fabulous snarkyness…. I will pray for Lori, what a terrible thing to have to live through….

  144. Panic attacks, OCD, agoraphobia, anxiety distorter and depression. That is what I live with daily. Thank you for speaking up about mental illness.

  145. Thank you for writing this, and hilighting this subject.

    I’ve suffered depression, and I can’t in all hoenstly say I’m “cured”, it’s always there, under the surface, waiting to rear it’s ugly head, BUT it’s my responsibility and my need to keep it away, to keep it from claiming me back.
    My best friend was diagnosed a few years ago with bi-polar disorder. We realise now that she’s had it for years, since her teens, moments of hysteical happiness followed by the lowest of lows. She only sought help when she began to hallucinate.

    Mental Illness is a real issue, but there is lots of help. Thank you for highlighting the issue.

    My heart goes out to Lori and her family.

  146. We live in a schizophrenic culture. On one side, we espouse compassion and concern. The other side tells us to quit whining, pull yourself up by the bootstraps, quit being a victim, you’re not all that special, grow up, buck up, other people have it worse.

    Mostly? It’s the other side that’s the loudest. And that just plain sucks.

  147. My heart goes out to Lori. My husband has bipolar disorder that finally presented itself once he decided to get sober. Fighting the stigma is… on the one hand it feels great to fight. On the other hand it feels like such an uphill battle.

    I struggle with depression and anxiety and attendant bouts of weight loss. It’s… Yeah. Thanks, Jenny. It’s part of us, but it’s not all of us.

  148. Bipolar, ADHD, PTSD, and a nervous breakdown that I’m still not back from. I am not and have never been in the closet about this because my mom showed me that it was okay to ask for help, and that I wasn’t a bad person for being sick.

    She’s right, you guys.


    I was the one who took care of eveyone. Everyone came to me with their problems, and often I could fix them. In my second year of college, the first year of a program that I had been heading to since I was 13. I started forgetting things, loosing track of time in the sense of I knew that time had passed but I felt that I had done nothing, nothing was accomplished and I couldn’t concentrate. Over the space of a week and a half my life collapsed. After a huge project that I forgot about fell down, and I was late to a class after mixing up my days. I went home and went straight to my doctor, terrified. I told him what was going on, he flipped through my file and diagnosed me quicker than the flu. Fibromyalgia. The F bomb. The chronic pain, insomnia, foggy brain and stomach problems. It explained so much, finally after two years of suffering pain and sleeplessness, tummy troubles and more. I was happy, for a while, to what was wrong, to have a course to take. I went back to school with a name, with a plan and I tried to reembark on my journey with aids from the students with disabilities centre. Unfortunately it was too much, I decided that I couldn’t become an interpreter if I had to stop a lecture and ask what was just said because I had forgotten it, and so I withdrew.

    After two weeks or so of being home, I did nothing but lie on the couch. Nothing brought me joy, nothing got me interested. I woke up one morning and realized it. I was depressed. So again, off I went to my doctors and told him my unofficial diagnosis and he agreed. I went home with more medication. But something went, terribly, awfully wrong. Not only was I in a womens shelter because of my brothers escalating abuse which had turned physical and hateful towards my mental illness, but I had become suicidal a week after reaching the full dose of my anti-depressant. Once again the familiar trek was made to my doctors office and he gave me a new medication. This time, two days into it I felt different I felt a little better, I still didn’t do much beside watch tv and occasionally play a game on my computer. It was awful, I felt sore, tired, hopeless and so much more. Occasionally I still struggled with thoughts of suicide. It was a ling hard road getting back up to where I was before, and I”m still not there all the way. Two long, hard years. Through it I lost myself and slowly pieced it back together. I rediscovered God and joy in simple things, like flowers and swimming.

    There were hard truths I had to face about my family, my future and myself. Once that I was so lucky to know throught my depression is that I wasn’t alone, there were other people who suffered. And thats one of the reasons I have always talked about my depression to anyone who was interested, I’ve been open about the highs and the lows. Depression, and mental illness in general is one of our last taboos and it shouldn’t be. It’s not something to be ashamed of, everyone will go through some form of depression, sometimes very small and insignificant, other times it’s large and all consuming, but support is one of the best medicines.

    I went thought a counselor, a therapist (the one that can prescribe medication) and a second one that can’t, that I love! And I know that I am lucky to have only gone through 2 before finding one I trust. And when I was at the lowest of the low? I remembred that if I took my life, it would destroy my family, I couldn’t do that to them.

    Stay strong. Speak out. Speak Loud

  150. Thank you. I needed to read this today. A dear friend sent me the link.

    I have finally become comfortable speaking up about my illness. Bipolar sucks, but at least I know what is wrong with me. For over ten years, I fought the signs and refused help…not anymore. Thus is life, and we all have our problems, but getting a handle on mental illness is easier said than done. Overcoming the shame, guilt, ridicule, embarassment, negativity, and affects of the disease is exhausting. Admitting you have a problem and opening yourself up to others is scary; exposing such personal and raw feelings. I saw asking for help as a weakness, as I was the one person in my family to take care of everyone else. My mentally ill mother depended on me so much it became unhealthy. She drained me and sent me spiraling down, but I allowed her to do so. I finally cut the apron strings and have focused on my own recovery ever since. Once I cut the strings, I realized how much she could do for herself. My co-dependency clouded my vision.

    I do not have problems talking about my illness. For once in my life, I am comfortable with who I am because I know I am not the disease.

    Prayers to all who suffer with mental illness and to all who have lost someone to mental illness.

  151. I’m in my early 20s, I have been battling anxiety and depression since I was about 6 or 7. My parents knew nothing about my issues (or else were simply in denial) until I was 15. But that was only because there was a traumatizing event that occurred that led to making the anxiety and depression worse, and I was also diagnosed with PTSD afterwards. I have joked with close friends that I am a “cocktail of insanity” because of all my mental issues, but the jokes kind of help me cover up the fact that for so long I’ve been ashamed of being a “broken” person.

    Thanks for the post, Jenny. For Lori, for you, I will speak more. No holding back, no shame. No one should feel ashamed for this type of thing. We are all in this together.

    Lori, my heart and thoughts are with you and your family. <3

  152. I cannot quote word for word but I heard something that gave me so much clarity on my illness I want to share with you all……Depression is not a sign of weakness, it is a symptom of being too strong for too long.

  153. This is so painful and heartbreaking.

    I’m glad to say that a [male] co-worker today asked me if I knew a good therapist. I’m glad to say that I could supply him with a couple of names. And I’m glad he was able to ask. I know that that’s nearly impossible for some people. I hope more do.

  154. I told Lori the other day that her story is part of what gets me through. With all the pain and all the being sick I just lose sight of anything but that. At 3am when I’m in so much pain I can’t sit still, but I can’t move either and NOTHING I do will make it just go away, or even lessen enough that vomiting doesn’t ensue, I just can’t imagine continuing to live this way. Exhausted, in pain and without relief. Just yesterday I posted about how I think my fiance should run while he still can. I know he won’t and I don’t want him to, but it just seems like I’m bringing everyone around me down. I’m either lying and saying I’m okay, or I’m telling the truth and it’s just ugly.

    But I think about Lori every day lately. And how much hurt it would be for my family if I just called it quits. My heart just breaks for her.

  155. I commented yesterday, but I just had to thank you again for this. Last night was really, really rough for me, before I had seen this, even after. But then I read this posting and the comments and after reading Lori’s story and leaving her a message I sat and really thought things through. It’s such a small, stupid step, but I decided to start a blog, just for myself, even if no one else ever reads it. Just to have somewhere to put the damn dark voices when I can’t shut them out. I started writing and I even felt a little better. Thank you for saving me last night.

  156. Jenny, thank you for once again, enlightening people to another cause. I’m going to go leave my comment of support on Lori’s page. But thank you!

  157. Thank you for writing this post. It is so so so SO important to bring awareness to mental health issues and especially suicide. My best friend committed suicide when we were 13, almost 13 years ago. I blogged recently about it here….

    Since then I have joined forces with NAMI to speak out about youth suicide prevention.

    I can see by the comments that your post reached many, its awesome that you used this space to send out such a crucial message. Please forward my blog link to your friend along with all the strength, love, peace and support in the universe.

  158. I contemplated not writing this because of my complete denial of my own self-worth, but I decided that today, in this moment, I am worth it. I deserve to talk about myself. I am worthy of writing a comment on a blog.

    I am only 21, but I cannot remember a time in my life when I wasn’t anxious. My family always tells stories about me as an infant, remembering how whenever someone told me no, I would burst into tears. They laugh. I reflect.

    I suffer from anxiety, and recently was told that coupled with this generalized anxiety disorder is PTSD. Somewhere along the line, I fell into a pattern of self-injury and disordered eating. A psychiatrist said to me that he, “wasn’t too worried, it’s not like this could kill me,” and I never went back to him because I knew that the truth was, this could kill me. My own self-hatred and sense of failure and my feelings of guilt were leading me toward death. I was never suicidal, per say, but I was certainly trying to erase myself. I was punishing myself for perceived failures by destroying my body. Every skipped meal, every cut was a means of minimizing the space I took up in this world because I didn’t feel WORTHY of it.

    But I was wrong. I am worth it. I am worth this comment on this blog and so much more. I am worth love and commitment and attention. I am worthy of the space I take up and the food I eat. I am worth the scholarships I’ve earned based on my community service and good grades (yeah, I have a 4.0, AND I AM WORTH EVERY POINT OF IT!). I am worth it.

    And so, I am owning the diseases I have, but I know they do not own me.

  159. When I had my second baby, I spent my day keeping it together, and at 8 p.m. every night I sobbed and fantasized about getting in a car wreck and dying. My husband knew something was wrong but didn’t know what to do. I told my doctor, scared, and she looked me dead in the eye and said, “That is not right. I’m calling in a prescription for Effexor, and here is the name of a therapist. You are getting both today.” I went home and said to my husband “Well I guess if we get divorced you’ll get the kids now, I’m mental” and he looked at me and said, “Thank God you’re talking to me”. That hour in the doctor’s office was the best things I ever did for myself.

    You rock, Lori, that in what must be a terribly painful time for you, you took the moment to tell other people to look within and get help if they need it. That people care. I’m sending prayers and good ju-ju your way.

  160. Delurking just to say – If you don’t have something “wrong” with you… there is something very wrong with you.

    And by you, I mean me.

    My panic attacks are enough to make a metaphorical grown man cry.
    My pre-menstrual delusions of everyone hating me are rather horrid.
    My tendency to count things ALL. THE. TIME. makes people raise their eyebrows.

    The thing is, I am not really ashamed of these… they are, as you say, a part of me… but they are not all of me… and believe it or not. I am trying to embrace them, and learn from them. And learn how to control them, so they don’t control me.

  161. I recently came out about my own mental illness and it was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. Probably as scary as when I came out about being a big ‘ole lesbian. It’s terrifying to be so transparent. But if my doing so can help just one person out there, then it’s worth it. Thank you for making people aware and encouraging us all.

    Oh, the coming out post was here

  162. Thank you very much for this post. I read your blog a lot, and I too have OCD, anxiety and depression. It’s hard for me to get over myself and ask for help, and there have been a few times that I’ve hurt myself because I wouldn’t let anyone help me. But I’ve learned that help is something everyone needs.

  163. Thank you so much for this post. You’ve given me the courage to speak – and hopefully the courage to speak to my loved ones too.

    I suffer from depression, anxiety, OCD and PTSD. But it’s not me I’m worried about. My boyfriend carries the heavy weight of a long term depression as a result of a childhood rife with physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. On his worst days, I fear leaving him alone in our home, knowing that he keeps a hand gun in a back room. I love him as best I can. But anybody who has suffered knows that sometimes even that isn’t enough.

  164. Something I’ve avoid telling ppl about myself is that I tried committing suicide twice in my life. I’m not ashamed of the way I felt, but of the way I had chosen to deal with it. Someone once told me they saw suicide as one of the most selfish things a person could do. And its true. Its just hurting the ones who love you.

  165. I have depression. Writing about it on my blog has helped me claw my way a little further out of the dark hole I was in. Hearing about it in that video was nothing less than illuminating.
    Thanks for sharing.

  166. I have OCD, social anxiety, and occasional bouts with depression. I also think I’m mildly autistic and a hypochondriac. I stutter, especially with the words “the” and “that”, and it gets worse when I’m tired or excited. And I’m gay.

    “Still I think I’m doing fine. Wouldn’t it be a lovely headline – LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL – on the New York Times?” – from “What a World” by Rufus Wainwright

    Reading your stuff is part of why I’m doing fine. Thank you.


  167. My brother recently began to “speak out” and get help for his own depression. For that reason alone, I’ve been given my brother back. The brother who for the last 10 years has been a part of the walking dead — those that breathe and speak and function — but who are a shell of what they once were and can be again.

    In fact, my post today is dedicated to him. How strange that you were saying all the things I wanted to say already. Thank you for that.

  168. Coming out was the most freeing thing I’ve ever done. It was the first step towards healing, and health. I’m not there. Each day is a step. The difference is now I’m walking in the right direction. Thank you Jenny, and Michael.

  169. “It’s part of me, not all of me.” I love that, and it’s so helpful to me at the place I am with my own depression right now. Thanks for speaking.

  170. My blog for the last two months has been me “speaking up” I am not sure that many people are reading it, but I need a place to get it out. I am getting help, but as you know there is no magical make me normal pill. Today was a bad day. Hopefully tomorrow wont be. My thoughts are with your friend and her family.

  171. Thank you for posting this. My thoughts are with your friend. I had a very close friend commit suicide a couple of years ago, and think about her often. It can haunt you.

    I hope that people needing this take heed to what you said. Best wishes.

  172. First time at your lovely site – I have been circling it for a while now, trying to find a place to land – ah-ha! That Sexis button is perfect.

    A serious subject – depression, suicide – but one worth speaking of. I’m all too familiar with the darkness and there is no shame is seeking help. Good for you for shining a bit more light on the matter.

  173. You fuckin’ rock! Seriously.
    It takes balls to come out about mental illness in this….ahem, “modern day” society. I’m sure more Americans than not suffer or have suffered from mental illness, but people with mental illnesses are prejudged more often than not. There is stigma.
    I commend your strength because the only way to break through and clear the muddy waters is to educate and speak up. Increasing awareness to the masses ultimately results in acceptance. I also commend all the other bloggers that continue to raise awareness, you’re all class acts, truly! And even if the education awakens just one person at a time, so be it; it’s progress. And each and every story that is shared has the potential to save lives……

  174. After reading this and mulling it over for 24 hours or so, I decided to join you in Coming Out and Speaking Up.

    Thank you.

  175. Thanks for sharing Jenny. I have also suffered depression and it is such a hard thing to live with. You feel like you must be crazy. There is no physical pain and nothing to see, and so you feel like it isn’t real. People who haven’t experienced this have no idea. But it doesn’t mean they can’t help. My boyfriend has changed my life with his support. 3 years off medication now and better than I have ever been.
    I wish Lori lots of love and strength xo
    And also for you jenny xo

  176. Being a part of the multitude of tweeps and bloggers who watched and cyber-hugged Lori from her first panicked tweet from the hospital, and the subsequent trauma and pain of herself, her family and friends, I feel very grateful to see Lori’s message go out further and further. YOU SPEAK is a fantastic catch-cry. Thank you Jenny for highlighting her story so that others might be helped.

  177. Just want to tell you how much I love and am awed by you. All of you. And please tell Victor that he’s loved too for being there for you.

  178. Jenny, you kept my soul alive during PTSD. (I won’t go into the details; they are HELLA depressing.)

    Laughter is the visible manifestation of courage, literally heart-strength. I think of you, and me, and all these wonderful women and men, curled up in a fetal position and finding the heart-strength to go on in the face of the most amazing darkness… it’s not just because of you. It’s because our strength sees your strength, and stands a little taller, says, yes, I can, and this “alone” and “worthless ” is an illusion. Jenny is a person of great grace and beauty, and if she sometimes feels like this, then fuck it, maybe I have something to give the world after all.

    Jenny is the shiny-side-out tinfoil hat and Wonder Woman bracelets of my life.

    What’s love unless it’s crazy? We love you, Jenny. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

  179. This is also why the U.S needs to get their asses in gear about healthcare. Because people like me, who have depression and mania, that work but have no insurance…well, we’re kinda screwed.
    It’s hard. You spend hours on the phone, the internet searching for a place to help you financially with the cost and it makes you crazier because in the end it’s a big effing scam. Red tape binds us.
    However, fellow bloggers and some friends and family make it better. It helps, it soothes.
    Thank you Jenny. Thank you Lori for speaking.

  180. You make me smile and think so often, Jenny. Thank you.

    I even turned off Dr. Phil to tune in and focus on your post.

    Yes, THAT Dr. Phil.

    He now has blue balls. Please don’t tell Robin.

  181. you make me believe in good. i went to see lori and i will keep going back and loving on her, because she fucking deserves all the love in the world. you are an inspiration. thank you! i came out, too…read it if you have a sec?

  182. Someone once told me that he’d rather have “a broken, bed-ridden Jenny than no Jenny at all” and that kept me alive when I thought the world would be better off without me.

    made me cry. Victor sounds amazing.

  183. I’d only just started following Lori’s thopugh her blog, just before her tragedy. I don’t know how one would cope with something like that; but she is: fighting through the pain. And that speech: fantastic.

    An amazing woman, as are you x

  184. It is hard to ask for help, especially as a man. We’re not taught to discuss these things. Sure, people say that you should but life is busy and it is easy to feel like no one wants to listen or help. It is so very important to ask for help. This is a good reminder.

  185. PTSD.
    My husband’s head was smashed to a pulp in a car accident 11 months ago.
    He died instantly.
    My soul died at the same time, but my body lives on.
    Some days its all I can do to breathe in and out.
    It haunts me that I was unable to see him afterwards.
    Life without him is hard.
    Looking at my kid’s little faces is hard.
    Everything is just so hard.
    and scary.
    …and so I have reached out to Lori, because she will need all the help and love in the world to get herself and her kids through this.
    Thank you for reaching out to her too, and sharing her words with others.

  186. Thank you for posting this, Jenny. You inspired me to share, as did those you referenced. Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could all just remember that we’re loved, in those stupid moments when we “don’t want to bring people down”? What else are loved ones for, if not to multiply our joy and divide our pain?

  187. “Mental illness is no different from any other illness and is just as deadly.” Sadly, one of the things that IS different about mental illness is that it tends to carry negative societal stigmas. Being one of the many reasons people DON’T speak out. Glad that you did 🙂

  188. It was way up there that “d” said this:

    “Speaking up is brave & telling & a lot of things, but what if your family would rather NOT hear it. What if you don’t have the health coverage to get the therapy, the attention. . .And remember not everyone is going to congratulate you for admiting you are depressed.”

    That’s the problem RIGHT THERE. I already have, minimum, $300 to pay in health-related things every month, with no insurance, on a part-time job salary. I was going to a therapist, and was starting to figure stuff out, feel better about life, and then I lost the full-time job I had. Now I don’t have the extra $70 lying around to see her anymore.

    I’ve been depressed since childhood. My OCD has gotten more severe with age. When I was 16 and admitted to my mother I was cutting myself, she just got mad and told me that was a stupid thing to do, and to JUST STOP IT. It wasn’t until college I managed to mostly stop, and it’s been about a year since I’ve actively done it. (The urges are still there.) Now I just pull out hair.

    My point here, I guess, is that yeah, it’s all well and good to be able to admit your problems, but not everyone is going to have ANY kind of support system, and a lot of people just don’t have the money to deal with it.

  189. I hope I don’t sound all idealistic and RAH RAH we can do it. BUT this is why we need to speak up, and we need to speak up by calling the politicians. Your congresspeople. Your senators. Email them. Write them. We need to let them know that cutting medical spending may save them money but it will mean that they are going to lose lives.

    Politicians want votes. And we have the votes. I mean, PEOPLE, WE have the votes. Sweeping change is not possible. But any small change is better than none.

  190. Depression is crippling. The outside self becomes a shell for hopelessness and despair. It’s a dark hole you have to climb out of alone. I pray for peace for Lori and her family.

  191. As a mental health therapist, and someone who just really yearns for this discussion to be more open on a personal level as well, I could not be more in love with this post. Seriously. Such a great way to bust past stereotypes and stigma. I love it. I wish more would be so real.

  192. “won” is dead-on, I’m sad to say. And I’m agreeing from the other side of the couch. There’s a ton of lousy professionals in my line of work and insurance companies et al often make it difficult to impossible to access mental health services, never mind quality mental health services.
    There are some of us out there who are real and perceptive and not too shabby, actually, and we DON’T make barrels of bucks or only work in high end/high profile arenas because that’s not what motivates (translation: does the “calling”) so DON’T GIVE UP SEARCHING FOR HELP NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES YOU TRIED AND BEEN DISAPPOINTED IN THE PAST.

    Jenny, you’ve done another great and good thing here. Even if it sounds stupid, I am proud of you.
    Lori, you have a heart as big as Montana’s big sky.

    You don’t have to “suffer” with a mental illness to understand and be moved.

  193. I skimmed all of this because today my heart can’t take it. (some days sit heavier than others, I know you know.) I just wanted to say, probably again, that what you do to channel your amazing self with your words on the internet is amazing, Jenny, and I just sit in awe of it all the time.

    That’s all. Much love to you.

  194. This post is the kind of coming out that needs to take place. The kind of post that includes the love and the heartache. It… makes it easier to digest, for the masses that don’t live it. I would like to see – and I can imagine it might happen – a ‘coming out’ photo-meme happening because you’ve done it – been brave enough to not joke it all away, and to show that there are real fracturings that take place. And that that’s not all there is.

    Good for you, and thank you for the video link, and I’m going to go do a photo-meme, now.

  195. i’ve recently found your blog and it has made me laugh and cry while i’m stuck here “in the hole” again… trying to find my strength to go back to my doctor and try some more meds.

    thank you

  196. Jenny – Thank you for urging more people to speak out. I have Bipolar I disorder and its hard to talk about it without people thinking I’m going to turn into a homicidal maniac.

  197. This could not have come at a better time for me. I’m sort of trying to get my own shit in order, and being alone in a strange place as a college freshman is tough when you have all sorts of phobias and anxieties and hardcore ADD. But it’s just good to hear the message again that a) I’m not alone, and b) I should call my mom more often, and maybe elaborate when she asks me how I am.

    I think we all have problems that we try and hide (maybe some more than others), and then we assume that we’re somehow defective, when everyone else is just hiding how messed up they are, too. We’ve all gotta help fix each other!

  198. Jenny, I’ve seriously read like everything you’ve ever posted. I’ve seen the stuff that makes me tear up, and the stuff that makes me actually laugh out loud, and the stuff that makes me think, and write a meaningless blog post. I’ve been reading your stuff for over a year now and never commented. I just realized that. I never thought that things that I could say would be worth other people reading them. But you know what? Today I’m commenting. Because I know that silence is fucking deadly. Three years ago, almost to the day, my boyfriend hung himself, much like Tony. He broke down, and no one was there to stop him. I couldn’t be there, I had no idea. It ripped me apart for the longest time. And the pain, it never went away. It never will. Sure, there are days when I forget.But then I see what’s happening to women like Lori, victims of silence.

    I will never be one. Never ever. I will speak until someone kills me for speaking too much. Right now I have to speak because if I don’t I’ll go crazy. It’s so lonely here. So many people just live their lives in fucking silence. I may be fucked up, and I may have Adult ADHD and an anxiety disorder and EXTREME OCD and a predisposition to panic attacks–but you know what? I’m still me.

  199. and this is why i’m going to be a shrink. A doctor of the mind. So that when a brain does as brains often do, people have choices other than suicide. That wonan is incredible.

  200. Dear Friends, – First off, thank you for this blog. “Come Out” by Michael Kimber is such a great campaign and I hope it the start off eliminating the stigma sometimes associated with mental illness.

    Second, I invite you all to check out the community of! We invite you to meet people just like you, who may be struggling and coping with the challenges in their lives.

    It’s is a place, where you can think something new and do something new, where you can get what you need to help yourself and help your friends.

    It’s a place to get unstuck!

    In this community you will find everyday heroes, and celebrities sharing their stories, coping tools to help you handle stress and resources when nothing else seems to work.

    Take a look around, and take the opportunity to tell us how you cope through tough times. Sharing your experiences may inspire someone to change the course of their lives.

    Thanks for joining us and come back again soon.

    From the crew at!

    “… you really helped me out. I always come here when I’m upset or stressed…thanks so much for putting this site together.. it has saved lives, i am living proof of that.”

    – Anne, 16

    mindyourmind is a non-profit mental health engagement program that works with youth, emerging adults and the professionals who serve them to develop reliable and relevant resources and communication platforms. These resources are designed using current evidence and research to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and increase access and use of community support, both professional and peer-based. Through the use of active engagement and technology mindyourmind inspires youth to reach out, get help and give help.

  201. oh, wow. this was not what i expected when i saw a post entitled “coming out”. im not queer persay, but i’ve always identified that way if for no other reason than i always thought i was different too, just for different reasons. my reasons are just the ones you describe for yourself and so many others that suffer everyday, not at the hands of cruel tormentors, outsiders, but from the demons that lurk within, the ones that tell you regularly that you are no good, that you are a disappointment to yourself and others and always will be and because of that why don’t you just stop this charade once and for all? put it to rest. i’ve been there. many times. more than i’m even comfortable admitting to myself, let alone to those who love me, but we HAVE to. if we don’t cry out for help when we need it, theres a damn good chance no one will know we need it. until it’s too late.
    i’m not proud of my illness but i’m not scared to ashamed of it anymore. well, at least not as much as i used to be. one day at a time.

    thanks for sharing this story and your own as well.

  202. Again you have me loving you and your writing just a little bit more today. You can make me laugh and think you are absolutely crazy with the funny stories. But then you can give me a moment I will never forget, like feeling so hopeless and then reading the Red Dress post through my own tears as I cried for my difficult situation and for you having something inspirational to share on that particular day. You moved me with your gift card holiday effort and saw the power of what more I could do as a blogger. And today you move me with your bravery and concern for others.

    You are a truly exceptional woman.

    Please speak…..don’t stop speaking because so many of us are listening.

    Thank you for sharing yourself with all of us.

  203. I have been following Jenny’s blog for quite some time and following Lori’s since her life was turned upside down. I am amazed and humbled at both of you – you are strong, beautiful women who give the rest of us reason to pause, to consider, the opportunity to help others and ourselves. You make us think of the “what if”s and the “why not”s, make us want to be better, to take a stand for ourselves and to see that regardless of what society thinks, we belong here, that people want us here…that we have a voice.

    I have suffered with anxiety and mild depression and have been made to feel like I’m crazy – by reading the comments above, others have been made to feel that way – and when you are supposed to be the strong one because you always have been, you have a job to do, children to raise, a wife to be – you tamp it down and try to deal with it silently, all the while it consumes who you used to be.

    Lori – I can’t even imagine what you are going through and what you have been through. Reading your posts makes my heart ache, literally. There’s no amount of time that determines when you’ll be “ok”, if you ever truly are, but just be for as long as you can until you are ok – be for you and be for your beautiful babies.

    Jenny – your courage about it all, the OCD, depression, anxiety disorder and arthritis, and all the good you do and spread. You are what this world should be and yes, we need you – whole or broken.

  204. I suffer from anxiety.

    I often wonder if there is anyone who doesn’t suffer from a mental illness…of some form…my anxiety isn’t debilitating… but it’s there, and I *do* miss out on things because of it. Including work…so it *is* a problem.

    I announced it on Facebook, and a friend linked me to this horrible looking website. but the BOOK is supposed to be good. I’m going to find it and try to cognite my way out of my anxiety. The book is called “The Feeling Good Handbook” by Dr. David D. Burns. He used Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.

  205. I love that you speak out about this. People listen to you. I’m not afraid to tell my clients I’m on anti-depressants and they’re almost always surprised. So many people feel shame and as if it says something about their character. It’s way, way stronger to speak out than give into the shame. Adore you, Bloggess.

  206. What your friend said to you about wanting any Jenny rather than no Jenny is so powerful and seems to me to be EXACTLY the kind of thing that a depressed or suicidal person needs to hear. As a lifer on anti-depressants (better living through chemistry — really) I know whereof I speak.

  207. I’ve been sobbing uncontrollably since I watched the video, and read this post. I think it broke something open in me that needed to break open and come to the surface. I’ve been struggling with depression and anxiety on and off for years, as well as bouts of insomnia, which I’ve sort of just realized are all probably symptoms of the depression. I tried seeing a counselor a few years ago, but I stopped going, because, as the video said, I didn’t feel like I should be taking up someone’s time, when there are so many people with worse problems or burdens than I, and I had no right to be so sad. So I think that really struck a chord with me. However, the video also made me even sadder in a way, because it showed so many people who have managed to accomplish great things whilst struggling with mental illness, and I’ve never even been able to get a real job, let alone contribute anything to the world. I live in a different country than my family and friends, so I don’t have any real support network besides my boyfriend. But I try to hide what I can from him, because his brother suffers from severe depression, and I didn’t want to be yet another drain on him, but I know I need to do something. Life holds no joy, or purpose for me, but I don’t want to go on that way. I want my life to mean something. So thank you for posting this, because if nothing else, I don’t feel so selfish, or alone for feeling this way, even though I’ve never had anything terrible happen to me to bring this on. I guess sometimes depression doesn’t need a reason.

  208. Something so cool happened. After I posted, I got a lot of click through to my blog, a lot of people actually looked at the ECT tag, *and* a fair amount of those people clicked through to the ECT links I posted.
    If even one person might get the help they need or one person has a less stilted view of ECT, then it makes me immensely happy.

    I wanted to say to the people who have trouble finding help or paying for their meds:
    1) A lot of cities, counties and states have mental health programs where you pay on a sliding scale. Look up MH/MR in the blue pages and see what you can find. They will point you in the right direction.
    2) A lot of drug companies offer coupons for a lot of money off of their drug on their websites. Sometimes for very reduced co-pays. So Google the drug’s site and see if yours has a program for this.
    3) A lot of the big chains have $3 or $4 drugs (generics) and a lot of the mental health drugs are available as generics, now. If your doctor prescribes something which is not in generic, tell them you can’t afford it and ask for another suggestion. If they have no other suggestion, ask for samples, “As many as you can give me.” Chances are, if the doc can’t think of some generic script for you, they are being sold on the latest thing by a drug rep, who will have given them samples.
    4) This—->: and also contact drug companies (Pfizer, et cetera) directly, they all have some money set aside for “altruism programs.”

  209. Thank you for this post Jenny. In many ways, I started blogging because of you. I saw how many people you affected and I thought if I could reach just a fraction of the people you reach, maybe I could help spread understanding and acceptance of mental illness. And so I started Bipolar Musings.

    As you may guess from the title, I have Bipolar Disorder, and there is a horrible stigma attached to this illness. Bipolar Musings serves as a safe place for me to vent, to educate others, and to show the world that just because someone has a mental illness, specifically Bipolar Disorder, it does not mean that they are going to go crazy and shoot up the local mall or school. I post funny stuff, educational things, emotional things, and everything in between. We, the community who deals with mental illness, can be good, productive people too. We can make people smile and we have an enormous amount of compassion for others – a quality not often found in “normal” people. And for this reason, I encourage others who are having problems to get help if they need it too.

    My daily Mantras now:
    I *have* Bipolar Disorder, it is not who I am.
    I have Bipolar Disorder. It does not have me.
    You must take care of yourself first if you expect to take care of anyone else later.

  210. Thank you. Because of this, I finally worked up the guts to call and set up a an appointment with someone to talk about my stress and anxiety issues. I kept putting it off, thinking that it’s not that bad, I can handle this, I don’t want to bother anyone with this, I don’t want to think that it might be something that I can’t handle. But it’s not something I can handle. I’m admitting it. And I’m going to get help.

    Thank you, Jenny.

  211. I’m writing about my current sessions with a psychologist on my little blog, in a bid to show people it’s OK to admit that you’re not OK.

  212. Thank you for this. It is needed.

    I’m out in private life, but, inspired by this, I’ve listed my bipolar disorder on my “About Me” on my site. It doesn’t define me — but anything that specifies and personalizes the disease will help. This — and, perhaps in my small way, my own.

  213. I recently wrote a note on Facebook about my suicide attempt in January 2010. I was working as a cashier at Wal-Mart and met this amazing man as he came through my line. He was older, nearing 70, and funny and crazy. He rambled on about being the walking dead and just silly things. He always signed his credit card slip as Elvis. In December he came through my line and was different, and sad. It was also near the anniversary of the death of my best friend and maybe that helped me feel connected to Elvis in some way? We talked and he said it was the first Christmas without his wife who had died from cancer. He said he wished he were the walking dead, he felt so alone. I told him you are not alone, I have been there too. I lost someone I loved and while it wasn’t a spouse, it was someone who lived in a part of my soul. We hugged and we shared a moment.

    I wrote the note to my family and friends because even after almost a year after the attempt almost no one in my life knew. I wrote it to speak out because if everyone in my life believed I have always been fine, then how many people that we think are fine really aren’t? I wanted people to know to always tell each other they are worthy, that we love them, that they aren’t alone. Be nice, because you never know when one simple act of kindness can make a world of a difference to someone.

    The response was mainly shock. But sadly a lot of people said you shouldn’t talk about this on Facebook. This can be used against you some day. If anyone were to really see this you could lose your children. The state could take them away and say you aren’t stable. I am “stable”, I was sick. I am sick. I am sad. It doesn’t mean I would hurt my children, or someone else. It means there are days I feel like they would be better without a broken Rebecca. I too, always say I am broken.

    I always felt everyone had to know what I was going through. How could you not know the person in front of you just wants to lay in hole and die some days? Well, they don’t know unless we open our mouths and say you know, I am having a really shitty day. You’d be surprised at how many people love you and want to listen.

  214. Hi there. I started off with post partum after my first child. Then 8 years ago my mom suddenly died and it has been so difficult. II have no problems letting the world know that Zoloft is a godsend! I tried to go off it w/o medical counsel and I spiraled. I realize I will be on it forever and I’m cool with it,

    We had a friend just up and kill himself with 2 little babies, a 4 yo and a 8 year old. He was a collegue with my husband. It was so hard on him that he was afraid that if he could snap, was he next! He spoke to someone immediately and now talks things out!


  215. Jenny–
    I am so lost. I am so confused and so lonely that sometimes I forget how to breathe. I get angry for no reason and cry more than I laugh. I am sad and in pain and so frustrated I feel like screaming. I’m caught in a deep dark place that doesn’t want to let go. I’m so consumed that I spend most of my time doing nothing and the rest of my time regretting it. I’m stuck, my life is so circular, and I can’t figure the world out. I keep thinking something will change, something will click, something will happen– but nothing ever does. When good things happen to me, I don’t know how to react. I recently got into my first choice for college. I got wonderful financial aid. Everyone is thrilled for me, congratulating me, happy for me. I’m not. I’m so darkly and horribly concerned with my own nothingness that I have no room left to let myself feel happy. I am in trouble. I need help. I don’t know how to tell the people who love me that I can’t make room to love them because I’m so busy hating myself. I miss being little and being taken care of and feeling okay. I miss me. I miss my family and my friends. I miss enjoying little parts of my day. Jenny, your writing is a support system for me. You don’t make me better, but you sort of get through to me. You know how I feel– you’ve been lost and stuck. I don’t know where else to turn or who else to talk to or how else to talk. I need someone– something– but I don’t know who or what. Please Jenny, please help. I have no one, and I am so sick and tired of having no one. I don’t want to disappear, and I don’t know how to stop the world from erasing me. Help me. Help me. Help me. Please. I’m sorry for burdening you with my issues– I don’t want to, but I have to tell someone, I just have to. I need help. I need to feel alive. I don’t know what I’m asking. I don’t know much of anything. I know I can’t keep living like this. I know I need something… else. I’m so sorry. This page was supposed to be about your friend and the loss she experienced. I feel selfish. I’m sorry. It took me three tries to post this comment, because I’m so terrified of taking away from Lori’s need and courage and strength. I wish I was that strong. I wish I was that brave. I’m not. I need help. I’m speaking now. I’m telling someone what’s wrong. Is that a first step? I can’t really tell. I don’t feel any better yet. But maybe it’s a step, and maybe I’m starting something I should have started years ago. I don’t know.

  216. A-
    You can get through this and you will. Depression lies to you and makes you unable to enjoy life. You need to get help for it and it will get better. Talk to your parents. Tell them how much this is effecting you. Also, if you’re already in college go see the counselor. I saw one in college and it was free and a tremendous help. There are also all sorts of organizations that can help. Start by asking your parents for help. Tell them everything you said here. It might be painful for them to see but it’s so much worse when they find out later that you’ve suffered so long in silence.

    I know you can do this.

  217. I haven’t been able to get this out of my head since I first read it. I have battled depression for many years….my story is long so I wont go there. Many of my friends and family have no idea. I am 36 years old and am too ashamed to tell my story. I have thought about suicide for many years. Never acted on that thought though. I have 3 kids and a husband that need me. I battle in silence. I have gone to many therapists over the years. Have been on anti depressants, but stopped when I got pregnant with my 3rd child 3 years ago. I have reconsidered many times going back on, and recently convinced myself it would be in my best interest to go back on them. Regardless, I Thank you for posting this. I know I’m not alone. I hope one day I can come clean and tell my story.

  218. I’ve never commented before, Jenny, but this is great. I’m sharing it with everyone and it’s too important not to. Nothing is so shameful that anyone should suffer alone or in silence. I agree with your friend’s sentiments, I’d rather have a “broken” friend than none at all.

  219. A close friend of mine committed suicide 10 years ago. He left behind a hole that could never be filled, and a shattered wife and daughter who were home when it happened. They still have not recovered, though they’re trying. Last winter, my younger brother confided in me that he wanted to kill himself. We talked about it that winter and all through spring. He came to see me (to say goodbye) the same night he sent me and all his friends a suicide note via email. I got him to stay with me for the next four days, but after that, he left. He wouldn’t tell me where he was going, or what his plans were. I begged him to call me the next day and let me know he was ok, and he refused, saying that he couldn’t promise me he’d be able to do that. When he left, I called the police. They eventually located him (with a homemade suicide-device in the car), and brought him to a psychiatric ward. When the hospital released him (without even an outpatient support program in place), he told me he would never speak to me again. To date, he hasn’t. He blames me for not letting him end his life on his own terms, and for ensuring that he was placed in psychiatric lockdown — that last part, he finds unforgivable, since I know full well how much he detests doctors.

    I miss my baby brother. I feel more like he died anyway, despite my best efforts. Then again … if he hates me for the rest of his life for trying to keep him alive … at least he has the rest of his life to live.

    Please believe me, folks … if you’re thinking about killing yourself … there are people out there who love you, and whose lives will never be the same if you actually go through with it. No one “gets over it”. Ever. They may learn to cope with it, but they NEVER get over it. Trust me on that.

    Mental illness is exactly that … an ILLNESS. If you needed medication for your heart, your lungs, your eyes, your cholesterol levels, your arthritis, etc. , you’d take it if it meant the difference between being functional and having problems. Mental issues are no different. It means that something isn’t working right for you, and you need to take corrective measures, that’s all. The brain is no different from any other organ in the body that has problems and needs pharmaceutical help to fix it. Why are we so hard on ourselves and each other for that?? I’ve been on anti-anxiety meds, and I’ve been to therapists when I needed them. I find no shame in getting help when I know I need it.

    Be the best you that you can be … and if that means talking about what’s wrong, then TALK. It isn’t always easy, but please find a place to start.

  220. Thank you for this beautiful post. Lori is a dear friend of mine and my heart is breaking for her. But even in her pain she is giving something back to all of us, and so are you. x

  221. Thank you for speaking. Truly. We have to talk about this openly, every day, until people see how common mental illness is, and how it is treatable. I have OCD, and I had postpartum OCD and I’m NOT ASHAMED.

    Also, I hope that any of the gazillions of people who read your blog who may have postpartum depression or anxiety, or antenatal depression or anxiety, will go here — — and look at the faces of more than 100 women who have been in the exact same situation and have recovered fully. You are NOT alone and with help you WILL be well.

  222. AS someone who is bipolar NOS and experienced a psychotic break, I completely sympathize with mental illness. Families effected, spouses, friends and the people with the illness. We are the silent acclimated majority of mental illness. Quietly living day to day and meeting our responsibilities. For the most part, we get it all done with little thanks because it seems normal. But it’s hard. It’s monumental.

    I agree with Lori, and I’m grateful to you for spreading the word.

    To speak.

  223. On reading this blog and learning about Lori’s unimaginable experience and how she is getting through it is what led me to decide to write again. I left my blog after leaving Peace Corps after completing only 4 out of the expected 27 months. I wasn’t homesick or in any way uncomfortable living in a third world was the depression that brought me home. I’ve dealt with depression for years and it was really getting bad to the point where I was only able to enter peace corps by covered it up enough to get my therapist to sign off on me traveling abroad. Out there I hoped to escape it. But you can’t escape yourself. I sure didn’t. So here I am, back in the states, finally on drugs (something I’d resisted for years as well..) and feeling better. At this point, keeping up with your incredible writing and seeing that Lori is finding a bit of healing in continuing her blog, I decided to return to mine. So I just wanted to say thanks. I think you’re awesome, you have great friends/readers and you are an inspiration. I appreciate that.

  224. Are my brothers and sisters not the most interesting people you’re likely to meet? 🙂
    (Temporal Lobe Epilepsy)
    You all rock!

  225. Thank you, Jenny. Every time my partner says he’d rather have a broken me than no me at all, I’m so grateful.

  226. Hell.


    My hope is for the normalizing of mental illness–
    maybe if we treat broken and wounded minds they way we do broken limbs,
    (the ready and open treatment, not, you know, putting a cast on your brain,
    mental illnesses will lose their stigma,
    and those suffering from them will be able to seek and find help immediately.

  227. Thank you for this.

    It has been amazing to me how many people out there deal with these issues. So many of us fight so hard to keep anyone from knowing that we never get the chance to find out that we’re all in the same boat.

    I have been diagnosed with depression. I am trying everything I can to kick it. It is a long, hard road, and I often don’t know where to turn next.

    I appreciate what you are doing here.

  228. You have the unique ability to be crazy funny for all of us to laugh and enjoy, but be able to also write about serious, important topics and we are right there with you. Thank you for the moments you switch writing gears and allow us to experience the serious side of you. We benefit from both.

  229. This is a beautiful post. Thank you for encouraging others to speak.

    That is actually a big part of why I started blogging in the first place. I want to talk about mental illness because I can. I know a lot of people are too frightened or worry that it would put their jobs in jeopordy. I don’t. I am strong. I can speak. I will speak for those who can’t so that they know they are not alone.

  230. I just found your blog today (via the BIG METAL CHICKEN) and I’m captivated. You are hilarious.

    But onto the reason I’m commenting here… I lost my brother to suicide exactly 4 months after you posted this entry. And the message to men “you speak” is great and definitely needs to be made more known. Unfortunately, suicide is a fairly common way to end the suffering for men, but it certainly doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Now that I’ve read books about suicide, I see all of the signs that my brother showed to us and we just didn’t know how to interpret them. So basically, I think there needs to be more awareness that this is an ongoing issue so people know how to help their loved ones, or to see signs of their distress. But also to make it ok for a man to ask for emotional support.

  231. The whole point of my blog is to expand awareness of mental illness and help people understand that it is okay to be broken, damaged, and feel worthless, as long as they know that it goes away. I’m glad I found your blog, because it makes me laugh!! Thanks!

  232. A “friend” of mine on Facebook posted your video with your blog on her page. It inspired me to write this response:

    But why is it haunting you Jenny? Not a criticism… In May I decided to create my Blog “Dead Man Walking; Alive in Mexico”. At the very beginning, when I realized what the endeavor truly signified, I removed all 130 people from my facebook friends list as part of what I imagine was a nervous breakdown. Most of the people on the list today are different from almost 3 months ago. Many old friends don’t reconnect with me, because, yes there is a significant stygma connected with being honest and sharing real experience whether it be “positive” or “negative”… I live in Mexico 8.5 years after living in New York City 7 years after graduating from Hampshire College in Amherst, MA after being at RVCC for at least two years after my first true suicidal attempt in my vacant apartment on Mercer Street in Somerville in 1988… Over the past 5 or 6 years people from Branchburg, Somerville, RVCC or Hamphire College have repeatedly asked me how and why I ended up in Mexico and I repeatedly responded, “I will get back to you later,” since it is a very complex question/response. Over the past year Mexico has become horribly violent and dangerous and so many people asked me “Ross, why don’t you return to the U.S. with Margarita?” Then my RVCC friend James suggested I write a memoirs blog titled something like “Pinche Gringo! Why can’t you just come home!???” after he discovered my 2005 blog, “Pinche Gringo in Xalapa” that focussed on an online interview of me and my gourmet cupcake “business”… I thought that was an interesting idea and I dove into the question. The problem is that there are many reasons why I left the U.S. for Mexico; one very important one was part of my spiritual destiny or journey. I explain that in “The 3 Messengers, Parts 1 through 3” But, I realized that there was the psychological reason too. And that brought up the question of if I could return to the U.S. without suffering again. My leaving the U.S., aside from being a truly wonderful evolutionary change for me, was a metaphorical suicide and I found myself Ross in ways I never knew him in the 33 prior years of my life. For 8.5 years I didn’t feel one ounce of depression and my “phobias” disappeared. After writing “the 3 Messengers” James asked me if I was afraid of writing about my feelings. So I decided to dive into my subconscience a little and he defriended me on Facebook and told me to stop writing… What you may not understand is I can be a superstar in one form or another. But if I am not truly accepted in one of the artistic/political avenues before it is discovered that I have “conflicts”, no one is interested in what I have for sharing with others… If you look up Mental Illness amongst famous or successful people, you will find a very long list of incredible musicians, actors, artists, filmakers, theorists, writers etc. For instance, Howard Hughes or Amy Tan… But they became successful before the world knew of their strangeness. It’s that “illness” that allowed them to perform differently and above the norm… You may ask, “but Ross, why must you be a superstar?” I ask that too. I think the “mentally ill” person must work double in order to make it in the normal world. But why is that person “ill”? I don’t believe much in mental illness as a genetically inherent issue… For many, the issues revolve around childhood experience. In Mexico the Federal Police Investigation Unit publish a report explaining that 60% of children bullied commit suicide later on… Well, I question the validity of that report; how do they locate all the people who were bullied and to what extent? Yes, I was bullied horribly in my childhood. But my father also died when I was 4 years old and I inhereted his illness and my mother pushed me away in order not to become incestuous with me… I’ve always been much more sensitive towards situations than others. I seemingly “read between the lines” and read body language and tones very quickly, so much so that people have asked for my read on people and situations in order to develop trust of newcomers or to write off certain possibilities… For me, suicide is also an existential question. I have 5 years of living in New York City that I haven’t described in my blog. Those are my artist years and the years when I developed my belief in “God”, Astrology, the occult, but through experience, not through blind believing or wishful thinking. I was always too rational and I suffered from that rigidness. Until I began drawing and painting I believed, “If God doesn’t appear infront of me, God doesn’t exist…” Then I start seeing proof around me little by little… And I have written so little about that… The moment one mentions something related to mental illness, all mental constructs, beliefs and actions become invalidated… I believe Freud was addicted to Morphine. I’ve never seen Cocaine nor LSD, although I’ve worked with alcoholics and drug addicts and know much on the subject, although I grew up in Branchburg in the 80s, although my younger sister Beth used it all and she is a shining star… I hardly drink and never hallucinate, although I would love to see things… What is suffering and who and what brings on that suffering? and for what? Must we all live seemingly perfect plastic lives? I killed myself. But I believe we are so much more than our bodies and we continue whether or not the churches want us to believe that…Everyone fears so much and they fear the “mentally ill” person because they are a reflection of the other person’s shadows… Death is inevitable, entropy often preceeds death. Entropy is the aging process. Ernest Hemingway shot himself out of rejection of that process… Van Gogh shot himself in the chest. He was so young… Sylvia Plath too… Maybe they didn’t have faith in life. But they are famous people… Why alcoholic? Why addicted to drugs? Why denial? Why avoidance? I don’t deny. You can confront me on anything and I will respond sincerely as far as my memory permits. And then I will question why is it that I don’t remember certain things…

  233. I’m really behind in stalking you. Anyway, thanks for inspiring/saving us crazies. I’m learning to speak because of you. HUGS

  234. I feel sad with Lori, being s single mom is very difficult and Lori for now is facing very much pain in losing her husband, Lori for now needs someone to lean on I know how hard it is even though I’m not on her position but I really feel it. Hugs for you Lori.

  235. I decided to read your blog from the beginning and I have to be honest, when I read this post, I cried. I am so afraid to tell people when I need help because they depend on me to be the strong one. I don’t even know if anyone will ever see this, but that would be fine. No one needs to. I just needed to say it.

  236. I’m not on the mend so I shouldn’t be posting yet, everything on this page that I read was a thing about getting better or something.
    I’m not getting better, I’m pretending, and hoping, and laughing when I don’t feel like it.
    I’m telling people “I’m Existing” when they ask how am I and they think I’m joking.
    I don’t eat… and when I do eat it’s not enough to make up the calories I should have eaten that day or that week. I sleep all the time but only during the day… I can’t sleep at night cause I see thing that arn’t there in the dark and I loathe it! I’m sick, and it’s not just emotional anymore, because I’m killing my body with starvation. I’m killing myself slowly and I can’t stop it.
    I have garbage piled up in my room with mold in it, but I can’t carry it to the dumpsters because I’ve let myself get too weak to haul it.
    I barely make it to work, and I’m failing all my classes. I don’t know what to do anymore.
    On the bright side I’m still planning for the future. I haven’t just given up and gone home, because that would screw up my financial aid and loans.
    I haven’t thought about ending it in about a month, and that was with years between suicidal thoughts.
    I don’t want to be like this, but no matter how many times my mom tells me to stand up and hold up my chin I can’t. No matter how many times people are encouraging it doesn’t change. I still can’t eat, and when I do it’s NOT ENOUGH. I still can’t make myself get rid of the garbage in my room. I can’t make myself do anything and my friends all are in similair boats so they can’t help me either. I don’t know what to do anymore.

    (First off, I’m sending you such love. Secondly, you can’t do this on your own. You need help. Call a crisis hotline because you once you get to that level of weakness you need help and there are people who have been there who are willing to help. You can do this. I know you can. ~ Jenny)

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