I couldn’t stand up. I did not want to stand up. I did not want to get dressed or eat or leave the apartment.
I just lay still on the floor as tears rolled down my face. I was paralyzed by something I just did not understand.
I was afraid if I left to go anywhere, I might die.
The car might crash, the night club might blow up, I might get mugged and murdered in the street.
It was irrational. I was 23 years old, living for the month with my very best friend in the world, Kerr,… in France none-the-less. But instead of being happy in the moment, I was sad. And so strangely obsessed with dying.
The thoughts were so confusing. I did not want to die. I was afraid of dying. And yet, there were many times I found myself thinking that everything would just be easier if I was dead. There would be no pain if I was dead.
My friend Kerry had to work every day, so she left by eight or nine in the morning and I was alone in the apartment all day. Often I would not get dressed until about thirty minutes before I knew she would be coming home. I thought I was hiding it, but she knew. She could see right through me, and she did her best to pull me out of my dark place. Because she knew me so well, and because she was such a close and understanding friend, she helped me get past that terrifying moment in my life.
But it was not the last time it happened. And I imagine it will happen again.
Depression is a scary thing. It can hit out of nowhere. It is something I do not talk about regularly on this blog. The depth of my sadness and anxiety is something I have never shared, even with my closest friends. It is not at all the same as grieving, although grief can lead to depression. But I know the difference between them. I have lived them both. Grief is for a time. Depression is a long term battle.
Thankfully, I knew enough to ask for immediate help after Kathryn died. I knew I risked falling back into this black hole of depression, and I immediately asked for help. Drugs made coping easier. They made life easier. The anti depressants made my return from the land of the broken hearted a much easier transition.
My grieving was far different from the depression that I have felt, and luckily pulled myself out of, over the past few years.
Mental health is something worthy of talking about. I want to be a part of the discussion, and to let others know it is okay to talk about it and admit it if you have a problem. It is good to seek ways, even if you do not struggle with depression, to keep yourself balanced and not only your physical health in check, but also taking the time to keep your mental health in a good place. I know I am not alone in this. I have read other bloggers share their stories of depression. Lady Jennie of A Lady in France and Erin Margolin of the Road to My Writer Roots have both greatly touched me with their posts on depression. When I read their struggles, I know that I am not alone in this. In fact, one in every four people suffer from it.
Mental health is an important topic to me, and it should be to all mothers. Not only is our own mental health important, but so is that of our children. Besides the fact that it is so difficult to care for small children in the middle of your own battle.
As luck would have it, I read a post last week on a blog I visit regularly, That Cynking Feeling, and I felt charged to take action. Her post, “Chilling Thought” provided an insight into her own struggles with depression, but also introduced the world to the Blog for Mental Health 2014 Campaign. I knew immediately that I also wanted to take the pledge and participate in the 2014 Blog for Mental Health.
Blog For Mental Health 2014
Here is the pledge, based on the words from the project founder’s initial call to action in 2012:
“I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2014 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.”
If this is a topic of interest to you, I urge you to check out the campaign and participate too.
So, what is the status of your mental health?