The above graphic is via Hypberbole and a Half, by Allie Brosh
I went through a deep, situational depression for about 20 months. I started coming out of it in January of this year. I woke up one day to find that I felt ok. I didn't feel good, great or any other nice adjective, but I felt ok. I had stopped the horrible loop of depression and wanting to not exist anymore.
Now, that's a thing that needs to be explained further. I wasn't necessarily suicidal - I had thoughts of jumping into the icy ocean or ramming my car into a cement wall. They were passing thoughts and some days I wouldn't even leave the house for fear that those thoughts would take over in a flash and I'd do it because I was feeling so beaten down
However, I love my crazy family too much. My cousin, A, called me and she begged me not to hurt myself. She told me she prayed for me every day and that made me want to stay alive just for her. She doesn't know the power that one little conversation had for me. Just to know that my beautiful cousin cared that much that she prayed for me every day? Wow. It hit me really hard.
So, I went into intensive talk therapy with the BEST therapist in the world named Shelley. An unassuming, soft-spoken, BRILLIANT woman who changed my life. Best thing I ever learned was on a poster on her wall. It said "Everyone's got baggage...it's all about how you carry it."
Yep. Truth. Anyone who says they don't have baggage has been living in a hole or something. And even THAT has its own baggage! Jeez. Get over yourselves.
I also give props to my new friends at the time, N and K and K's daughter E, who also lifted me up, fed me (I lost 25 pounds from not eating), helped me pack my beloved house and sell it, helped me move, helped me by giving me a home and the courage to face my worst demons. Honest, wonderful women that don't feed into the bullshit. I love these women.
Strong women and a few good men... It was my ex's Momma, my ex, Dan, my friends Karen, Liz and Penny, my Momma, my Dad, my Dad's lovely, strong wife, Lorie, Hank, Marylou, my cousins, my amazing Aunt and Uncle...Without these amazing, wonderful people I just don't know what would have become of me.
There are peripheral people with whom I wasn't all that close, but somehow they knew I needed them. Christine, Mickey, Bob, Charlie and his wife, Patty...
So, depression is fucked up. If you've never had it, you can NEVER totally get it. What Robin Williams did is completely understandable to those of us who've been through it. I was a lucky one that had situational depression. That means that so much shit happened all at once, that I basically just shut down. My chemicals were all fucked up and there was no way to straighten them out without dealing with pain and sadness and grief. Anti-depression drugs didn't even help. I tried three different kinds.
Here's another thing. When people are grieving = being depressed, just LET THEM. Don't try to fix it. Don't tell them to do yoga at sunrise or gaze at the ocean or travel or whatever your lame-ass solution is. Just let them grieve and feel sad.
It's okay to feel your feelings. They.Will.Not.Kill.You.
However if you ARE suicidal, please get help. I am not a psychologist or therapist or any of those "ists" - so this is only talking about MY experience. I don't feign to have all the answers. Just suggestions for what helped me.
The only thing you can do when someone is really sad and grieving is give them a hug. Tell them that you love them and that you're so very sorry for the losses they've had to endure. Make them food. Give them their time to grieve. The process is different for every single person.
I spent the evening last night with a really good friend, S. This woman has endured more loss in the last two years than any of you might imagine. Her dear husband, her sister, her father...And there's more I won't divulge. In any case, she's struggling with her losses and such deep terrible grief. I cannot imagine what that feels like to have lost all of these people she loves so deeply. And then her daughter's dog died yesterday while we were having lunch. So a bunch of us at the restaurant just tried to comfort her. I cried, of course, because I'm still grieving the losses I've endured. My puppies, Lady, Koty and Sadie. I loved them so much, it still hurts to think of them not being on this earth.
I don't mean to be preachy or any of that. I want to give insight to those of you lucky folks out there who never have had real depression. Bad days or feeling blue are totally different. Depression takes you over and breaks you down so far that there is not even a pin prick of light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. There's no hope. That's an awful thing.
The last thing I'm gonna touch on here today is the list of people up there that helped me. It's a lotta good women and just a few good men. So, what the eff, boyz? What's all up in your girdle that the most of you have to be such assholes? Most men say they love women. Nope. That ain't love, kids. That's USING women for your own selfish needs. It's fucked up and I have absolutely no time for the asshole men of the world. And, I know. There are a load of asshole women out there, too. I ain't got time for them either.
HEY! All you good guys out there? You need to school your asshole friends. Women are smarter (I think), funnier, wiser and kinder than the majority of men. In Alaska? The women are a sisterhood. It's palpable. It's amazing. I far prefer the company of the young, middle-aged and older women here in Alaska. These are salt of the earth amazing, wise, hilarious and fun ladies. I feel so lucky to have stumbled my way here for my beautiful husband.
Alrighty. I gotta go cook. I'm hosting a party with 12 ladies tonight (my husband is out of town!), so I best be making something good for them to eat!
Here's another post from Allie Brosh that describes depression. Think about Robin Williams and you'll maybe get it:
Hyperbole and a Half