On Monday, I told you about the social awareness campaign, #DayofLight that will take place today. But if you missed it, #DayofLight is an initiative organized by my friend Brandi at Mama Knows it All. The purpose of this initiative is to raise awareness about depression.
Depression is a mental illness often associated with sad and/or anxious feelings. Yes, we all have “the blues” sometimes, but these blues tend to linger longer than two-weeks at a time. More so, anyone can suffer from depression. It does not discriminate based upon age, sex, gender, sexuality or socioeconomic status. Most importantly, it can happen to anyone. It happened to me.
There are more than 20 million people in the US who have depression.
My first time dealing with depression was in my teens, over 20 years ago. It was after the death of my paternal grandmother. Initially, I was sad because I didn’t know how sick she was, until she died. Then there were so many other negative events surrounding her death, as if that was enough. For instance, I still remember the pain that my brothers and I felt because our dad didn’t reserve space for us in the family car. We were family, right? But, this was only a glimpse of the way he treated us.
After my grandma’s death, every year in February I would go into this depression. This feeling would last for months. People around me weren’t aware, but I’d just go into this funk. I would get uber-irritable, close myself off to the world and just get super-bitchy. This would last well into adulthood. I am not sure if it was me losing my grandmother at that time or the actions of my dad that sent me into this continual state of depression.
Fast forward to 2003, my brother died. This shook my soul to the core. But, honestly I still cry … I am crying.
In 2011, my mom died. It was about six months after my uncle died and eight months before my grandma died. My life was a whirlwind of, WTF. All I had the strength to do was crawl in bed and cry. I rarely took phone calls and I didn’t want to see anyone. It wasn’t until early 2013, that I started to deal with my depression head on. If I didn’t, I was going to die.
As I look back, my struggle with depression tended to always center around death. I’ve come to the conclusion that I just don’t deal with loss well and that was actually the first step to my healing. Also, it takes me back to the day of my grandma’s funeral all over again…the pain inflicted by my dad still hurts.
There is always a rainbow waiting to shine.
Last year, I went to my doctor’s office and I cried hysterically. The tears would not stop falling. We talked, he prescribed me some meds and suggested counseling. I held off on counseling but I took the meds. They helped. They still help.
Depression gets the best of us. On the outside, I don’t look like “the depressed” girl. I’m always laughing and I always have a laugh to lend. However, I am that girl. My struggle not to fall in too deep is REAL. There have been many times when I’ve contemplated suicide.
More than 90 percent of people who commit suicide have been diagnosed with a mental disorder.
Then these girls happened.
Whenever, I feel like I’m at the end of my rope. You know, that feeling when you think it’s too bad to recover from? I remember these girls, my Sunshine Girls. They remind me that life is precious and I have to keep going. I have to keep going for me. I have to keep going for them. Nothing warms my heart like those random, “Auntie Londa, I love you!” Yes, their love for me and my love for them keeps me going.
If you’re reading this and you’re in a blue phase of your life, I challenge you to acknowledge that there is a problem. Then seek help from your friends and family. If you still need help, see a medical professional. Ain’t nothing wrong with getting help. Last, find the people, place(s) and thing(s) in your life that bring you ultimate joy. For me, it is Ja and Kay. They give me life. Honey, those laughs and giggles are priceless.
If you feel like it is so bad that you can’t wait, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to speak with a trained counselor at 1-800-273-8255 or 1-800-799-4889 TTY. But, if you’re beyond this stage and fear that you will harm yourself or others, please call 911.
How Can You Participate?
- Write a blog post sharing your personal experience of depression and/or share resources to help others. Add the #DayOfLight hashtag in your post title.
- Watch the #DayOfLight Google Hangout on Wednesday, February 5th at 11 AM EST. RSVP here: http://bit.ly/1ilifbP Tweet using #DayofLight to ask questions.
- Participate in the #DayOfLight twitter chat on Wednesday, February 5th at 9 PM EST.
- Turn your social media avatars black and white on Wednesday, February 5th so we can visually represent all of those affected by depression.
- Record a 15 second video & upload to Instagram on Wednesday, February 5th. Add the hashtag #DayOfLight
- Share inspiring tweets, posts, and photos on social media to encourage those who are suffering with depression to let them know that they are not alone. Use the hashtag #DayOfLight.
We’ve compiled a list of resources and research about depression: http://bit.ly/1aUOyOZ
Have you or do you battle with depression? How did you or are you dealing with it? Please share below.