Depression

depressionDepression isn’t something that’s easy to understand, unless you’ve been there. It’s sadness, for sure, but it’s long and drawn out, and so much blacker. You cannot feel love. People can say kind things to you, show their support, and it might help a little, but mostly it just gets sucked into the void of feeling alone and unloved. It’s like a wall turns all their love thoughts into negative arrows, and those stick with you and the love is lost. Everything feels like a chore. You know going out somewhere would be beneficial, but when you try to go you feel sick and too tired. In fact, you’re always too tired. Sleep is your friend – you get a reprieve from the darkness – and you really can’t do much else anyway. Sometimes you believe entirely that the world would be better off without you in it, you can see their smiling faces in this imagined future much clearer than you can see that in a future where you exist. You have no hope. Hopelessness was the strongest feeling I ever had. Some days, I could grasp a bit of hope, or try to freeze out all feelings period, but the days I couldn’t stop crying, those were the hopeless days. The worst days. All the advice columns tell you to read inspiring and uplifting things. I would read my Bible and the things that use to give me encouragement just couldn’t penetrate into my soul. Then you feel more discouraged because nothing helps you feel better. There were other moments when I would just phase out, even at work. I could hold on to my own thoughts long enough to do the job. Other times, my thoughts were so scattered I couldn’t grasp any of them long enough to get anything done. I couldn’t make a decision at all. Circumstances made my choices for me. When I finally got clear of the worst of it, I felt like I had lost more than ten years of my life. I’m writing this now, so maybe, you feel less alone; so maybe someone who loves you will understand your behaviour a little better. This blog is dedicated to my journey to re-gain my life. I hope something you see here is helpful in even the smallest way.

A few statistics from the Canadian Mental Health Association:

  1. Canada’s youth suicide rate is the third highest in the industrialized world.
  2. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death for people from adolescence to middle age.
  3. 20% of Canadians will experience a mental illness at some point in their lives, (that’s 1 in 5 Canadians!)
  4. Women typically have a higher rate of depression than men, but men have a higher rate of death by suicide.
  5. Other useful sites: Mental Health HelplinePublic Health Agency of CanadaDefeat Depression campaign.

If you’re feeling like the sadness is out of control, or you’re contemplating suicide, call 1-866-531-2600 or someone you trust. Don’t do anything until you call. 

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New Year’s Day

Rock Point Provincial Park on New Year’s Day and learning to embrace hope.

This is my year for hope – the ridiculous kind where you hang on to something even when it is literally impossible. It’s time to be lighthearted and silly for a change. You become jaded and discouraged over time. It’s not something you’re born with, no matter how realistic you are as a child.  Experience is your teacher. The problem is, discouragement has never accomplished anything for me. It’s never reached a goal or even brought me the slightest bit of joy. So, at the risk of being called naive and idealistic, I will hope. Here I go.

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Liz, Sarah and I went to Rock Point Provincial Park on New Year’s Day. I haven’t been in months. The water from the lake stung our faces, and the wind was cold, but once we got in the shelter of the trees it was actually pretty warm. I had never done the trail before, but they have lots of times. We weren’t the only ones there, probably because the weather was so mild.