Having already shared my recurrence of depression in my latest blogs and how the irrational thought patterns can spiral out of control in an otherwise rational human being, I feel the need to share the following with you as well.
Last Tuesday, I attended a memorial service for a 33-year-old woman who had committed suicide.
I had only met her once, but know her mother to be one of the most genuinely loving humans I have had the privilege of calling my friend.
Before, during and after the tribute to this young woman’s life, it was apparent how much she had touched the lives of everyone who knew her in the room. The love for her filled the church, while the confusion, sadness, and guilt could be heard in their sobs.
Feeling the depths of their pain, I could also feel the level of pain and desperation she too must have been feeling before her death.
Being trapped in the spiral of darkness that is depression renders one unable to recognize the love and support that is very often right beside us in our journey through this life.
I was fortunate that my more recent experience with the depressed mindset did not spiral into the depths that her did. It well could have, and has in the past before my illness began.
In fact, I first had suicidal thoughts before I ever hit puberty. By the time I hit my teen years, I found the thoughts more disturbing.
I did not want to die and did not understand why I would have such unwanted thoughts.
I did not know about depression when I was diagnosed with it. It honestly was not until graduate school for clinical psychology that I learned that not everyone has suicidal thoughts.
I thought it was normal and was shocked to learn otherwise.
Of course, these are not thoughts that are usually shared in casual conversation or even with your closest friends for most people.
That may be part of the reason these thoughts tend to spiral out of control. I only got so far as to plan it once and immediately sought help to reverse the spiral.
Suicidal thoughts were disturbing to me and I wanted the help to make them stop.
At the memorial service last week, I wished desperately for her friends and family to know what I know about how blind depression can make a person to light.
The darkness does not (and will not ever) make much sense to someone who has not experienced it because there is nothing about the depressive mindset that is rational or sensible.
Please take some time today or this week to check in with your friends and family that may be struggling or even if they do not appear to be.
Let them know you are thinking about them. Create a safe space where they can share what is really going on with them.
If you are the one struggling (and trying to not look like you are), please take that risk to reach out.
Expose these irrational thoughts for what they really are so that you can get the help you need to get out of the darkness. There really is plenty of light for all of us!
**You may not know that sharing some of these things in this and recent blogs is a bit farther out of my comfort zone that I had originally intended when bringing up the subject a few weeks ago. With the loss of my friend’s daughter so close to those blogs, I decided that I had nothing to lose by doing so.