Tuesday, August 12


Today started out nicely. Slept till 3pm, since I'm trying to get back into our 'school schedule' where HoBA works all day while I sleep, then we spend the evening together, have dinner, and I write all night while he sleeps. I wrote 7K words last night, so yay for that. Can't wait for you to meet Tillie, Falcon, and Walker. You're gonna love 'em!

Then my MIL, who's moving in with one of my SILs stopped by with the moving truck to drop off the washer and dryer she's not going to need for awhile. YAY laundry!!!! Since we moved here, we've been going to the laundromat or to my folks' house to do laundry. NOT fun. But now we have a working washer and dryer, so all is well.

But then, I read the news. You probably already know what I'm talking about.

Robin Williams, incredible actor, inspiration to many, comedic genius, amazing humanitarian... gone. Just like that.

What changed the direction of my day was not that he had died, but the comments that started up about his apparent suicide.

I don't know if I've mentioned it before or not, but I suffer from several clinical depression, suicidal ideology, PTSD, binge eating disorder, and bi-polar disorder, plus a few others I don't remember. So yeah... Robin Williams' death is hitting me hard.

People just don't understand depression and the impact it can have on a life. Yes, people get sad. Occasional depression is normal and just a part of life, especially after a traumatic event (good or bad). A few weeks and it usually passes.

Those who suffer from chronic depression cannot get happy.

Let me repeat that: People with actual clinical depression can't just look in the mirror and 'choose to be happy'. We can't. Well, we can say the words, we can look in the mirror. We can paste a smile on our faces and go about life as though nothing's wrong. Sometimes you'd have no clue that there was a problem at all.

But we are depressed.

Depression doesn't always mean sitting against a rainy window-pane, a lone tear trickling down a sad cheek. People with depression can laugh, can smile, can dance and sing and hug and make memories. But in the back of our minds, we're all wondering if people really care about us. If we're just being tolerated. We wonder if the 'gang' would even miss us if we were gone.

Do we say anything about that? Nope. Because we don't want that answer. Do we show ourselves to be lethargic, sad, pensive, or write sad poems? Well, sometimes. We do tend to sleep a lot. You'll almost always find us taking a nap (or needing to) after a stressful situation. We also tend to brush off social engagements when a dark period comes over us. We'll make plans with folks then cancel them at the last minute. The irony is, we WANT to go to those things. We WANT to be social and enjoy the company of friends who love us, whom we love. But for some reason, we can't get up out of our chairs or bed, get ready, and actually make it to the 'out'.

I have learned, over the past 30 years or so (I started suffering depression when I was in my early teens), that I have to have a support system in place. In the past decade, it's become so horrible for me to have any sort of deadline on me that even the mention of something coming up is enough to shut me down.

Like Storms of Ishira. I want to finish it, so much. I want you to see where this story is heading. But a) I have other stories clamoring to be told, so I've been working on those as well and b) every time someone asks about it, I get a block against it.

I hate that. I truly do. There's so much to this story that I want to share, but I get stressed out and I can't write about it. I can write about almost anything else, and I do. But I can't focus on Ishira, even though I dream about it. I daydream about it. I think about it when I'm doing laundry or dishes or taking a shower or stuck on the toilet for a bit. I think about it when I'm playing Bubbles (bubble shooter game) or when I'm knitting and watching TV with HoBA. But when I sit down and actually try to write on it, I get overwhelmed.

Does this mean that there will be no Storms? HELL NO! Don't think that for a minute! I AM still working on it, but it is happening slowly. I've decided to stop promising it... it will happen with it happens. There's more to the story than I know and the characters aren't telling me what's up... yet. ;)

As for the depression, this past year has been fraught with a bunch of stressors, which has caused me to be unable to write except in small bits and pieces. Most notable was the up-in-the-air status of where we were going to be living. We wanted to move back to the mountains, but that didn't happen. The good part of that, though, is that with the knowledge that we'll be in this location for at least another year, I feel secure enough to relax and write once more. :)  Hopefully that will translate into Storms showing up in winter or early spring. We can hope! I refuse to publish quickly... I'd rather take my time and make sure the story is as good as I can make it. I hope you won't mind that!

In the meantime, I have several other projects in the works, hopefully to be published in the near future.

But please... If you know someone that has been diagnosed with depression, PLEASE support them. Don't tell them that they can choose to be happy. Don't tell them that getting right with the Lord will do the trick. Depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain and it should be treated as any other physiological illness... with good doctors, the right medications, and a support system that lets someone feel safe, loved, and most of all... supported. If you dont' know how to do that, please consider taking the time to research how to help someone with depression. I would urge you to use secular sources, rather than religious, simply because the religious ones tend to eschew medical means and imply that as long as your faith is strong, depression can be beaten. This is rarely the truth and only adds to the sense of failure depressed folks already have an abundance of.

Instead, do the research, even so far as to maybe going with a friend to their therapy or doctor's appointments and asking how you can better support them when they need help. If nothing else, ask the person themselves how you can help them. Most of the time, all they need is a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold, and someone to tell them they are loved, needed, and WANTED in other folks' lives. That means more than you can imagine, if you've never experienced true depression.

Sorry so down on this post, but I am a huge advocate of mental health awareness and understanding. NO one should feel too ashamed to ask for help when they feel like they're fighting their own damn brain for the right to be happy. No one.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Bethany, thank you so much for writing about your depression. I too have suffered from depression since about age 13. ( I am 53 now so that means for 40 years I have been depressed!). For a long time, I was the class clown, happy on the outside but miserable on the inside. (I cannot tell you how many times someone has said to me "cheer up, things aren't so bad). It wasn't till I was an adult that I found out that I wasn't a freak- there were actually OTHER people who felt like I did, and there was a way to treat it. I can say now that I take 2 medications that help keep it at bay, though it never is 'gone'. There have been times, especially in the last 10 years, that circumstances around me were so stressful that no amount of drugs could help. So I know what feels like to be under tremendous pressure to just cope. Never apologize for taking your time to write, no matter how long it takes. WE are the ones privileged to read the thoughts you decide to write down and share with others. I think you are so brave! I always have stories I create in my head, but am too insecure to share them. Hold yourself as most important, and if you ever just need a friendly and confidential person to bounce things off of, I am on Facebook. Now you have the best day you can, and I'll do the same. Blessings!