I know, here I am reblogging two times in a row. But this post contains so much of my truth–of the truth–about a lifetime of dealing with depression and PTSD and the stigma I have faced. I know that by speaking openly about it, and writing about it, I expose myself to nasty, smug, judgemental folk who assume that if I just “pulled myself up by my bootstraps” I could beat the depression.
Depression is a biological illness. And I have fought–am fighting–back. I’m sitting in front of my light box (Seasonal Affective Disorder) at this very moment. I take an antidepressant. I see a therapist and a psychiatrist. And, thanks to the grace of God, lots of caring and supportive family and friends, and the miracle of modern medicine, I am conquering my illness. But I always remember that I am one of the lucky ones. THAT is why I share my story with anyone who will listen, and to hell with the stigma.
Had depression not killed my godmother–my mom’s sister–and had it not made a pretty good attempt at ending my life, I doubt I would admit to anyone that I pack my suitcase full of the old-people container of meds. It’s hard enough to list them all at the doctor’s office with a straight face, much less speak openly online and offline about my ongoing struggles with anxiety and depression.
We all make fun of Tom Cruise for his beliefs that you can cure depression with exercise alone, but my guess—based on the reactions I get and the conversations I have when I throw out the D word—is that most people share his philosophy … that those chronic worriers and criers among us haven’t learned how to cope with life’s blows, give into needless thoughts and feelings, and—with a little yoga and tofu—might toughen up and get off the couch.
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