The last week has brought us two celebrity suicides. The world was shocked that Kate and Anthony both suffered in silence with depression. I read a blog
today that eloquently expressed the words I was searching for in my own heart...this woman knew so many things about Kate Spade yet she didn't know she suffered from depression. "Why is it any of my business or yours to know? It doesn't have to be, of course. But I knew when Patrick Swayze was battling pancreatic cancer. I know that Cynthia Nixon is a breast cancer survivor. I know that Selena Gomez has lupus and recently had a kidney donated. I know that Dave Letterman suffers from heart disease. I know that Lance Armstrong is a testicular cancer survivor....somehow society has made it more acceptable to talk about breasts and testicles than about the mind and the chemicals and hormones it releases and controls and the messages it relays." ~Claudia Herrara
I was horrified when Robin Williams
took his own life
died due to complications from his disease, depression. He died because the medications, the counseling, the therapy, the success as an actor, the house, the wife, none of it spoke louder than that part that said, "you're not good enough," or "you're not funny enough," or perhaps it screamed to him "you're a failure." The stigma that runs rampant in our society is that only those who are weak suffer from depression and/or if they really tried they could just "snap" themselves out of it. We run to the doctor with every sniffle, scrape and ache but we want to criticize those who admit or we ourselves deny that we too suffer from depression.
Eleven years ago I was in a bad place mentally. A really bad place that found me in my backyard with a butcher knife pressed against my wrist wishing I had the courage to draw it across and drain the life from my worthless body. I had made some bad decisions and felt trapped like the only way out was death. Fortunately, I have an incredible husband who chooses every day to love me, in spite of my many flaws. Through his anger, he arrived like my knight in shining armor and held me in his arms. Forgiveness and healing came slowly. Medications, therapy and lots of work to cancel out the demons that had seeped into my mind. The brain isn't like the other organs in your body, there is so much the doctors just don't understand. They can identify the areas of our brain responsible for body functions but the *thing* the *spark* that makes us human is still a mystery that belongs to God.
This morning, a dear friend who has overcome unimaginable things in her life shared this:
my gut reaction was horrible guilt. Guilt because I am guilty of putting on a face and pretending like everything is just fine when in reality I'm falling apart inside. Pretending to participate in a conversation when in reality I am so consumed and overwhelmed with my own "stuff" running through my head I can't even think straight let alone follow what the conversation is saying. I am often embarrassed and avoid groups because I don't want them to see exactly how stressed I have become. I pretend to my children, my husband, my parents, my friends....on the outside I have a smile, the cutest Chaco's, an adorable dog and kids who are just about as close to perfect as any kids can come but inside I am a swirling mess of emotions. I doubt myself as a parent and homeschool teacher, I doubt myself as a wife, I doubt myself as a caregiver and as a friend.
There, I've typed it and published it on the internet so it must be true, it IS true. I don't look for your sympathy, or for you to say, "poor Dana, she's got a mental health problem." NO! I want you to say, "look how strong and courageous Dana is, she's got so much shit to deal with in her life and here she is LIVING it! She has depression and she's facing it head on. She has sought out help from her doctor (thanks Lauren) and has learned skills and looked for help to cope with the challenges she faces." Let's start applauding people for LIVING, for opening up about their depression. Let's celebrate the fact that while LIVING is absolutely the hardest things to do most days people with depression are still doing it. Let's give them a party for their strength, courage and conviction to fight their demons, the ones no one else can see but are still oh so real!
I"m going to do better about being an actor. Two things happened in the last two days that almost sent me into a tailspin. Fist, I blog here at Always Crazy Blessed and another at Damn Dementia. Someone laughed at me for blogging then really laughed at the title of my other blog. I very calmly responded with why it's called Damn Dementia while inside the self doubt started...the negative thoughts about what a fool I am to even attempt to share my thoughts and feelings here and really, really foolish on my private blog. The next morning at breakfast I was met with a "how are your parents?" Really? My Dad suffers from vascular dementia & Alzheimer's and my Mom suffers from Alzheimer's...slowly, one memory at a time they are leaving. With each turn of the calendar pages I see changes and lose pieces of them that I'll never see again. The puzzle that is their life will never again be complete. They slip away and we wait...we wait for the inevitable during which we suffer their loss, they become different people and we are strangers to the people who were the heroes of our youth...our teachers, our mentors, our parents who loved us unconditionally and now yell at us, belittle us and treat us like trash. The people speaking to me couldn't have know because I always am a talented actor, I put on my happy face and pretend that everything is okay.
I went to my 70's style room and slept...around 4 hours yesterday and another 1 1/2 today. I blogged on my DD site, went into Little Rock and did some walking around stores then came back feeling incredibly refreshed and capable of living and maybe just maybe I might be up to some socializing and conversation tomorrow!
For many reasons, I will not post this blog publicly. After they are gone, perhaps I will be able to make it public and share...for now, if you've read this message please know YOU are important to me. I value my relationship with you and I'm honored to count you as a strong member of my
family. Thank you for reading this and thank you for always praying for me and for just being you!!!