It’s been almost 2 1/2 years since I checked in to 5 East.
What I have learned since then has changed my life in ways I could never have imagined. The morning I went to the ER, I was so tightly up against the wall that I could not see anything except the abyss. At that moment, I was way past circling the drain. And as I have recounted many times, that morning I saw only three choices.
- Take my life, 2. Continue doing the same thing and continue expecting a different outcome, or 3. Seek professional medical advice.
I knew that I was too chicken to commit suicide, and there was no chance that doing the same thing was going to produce a different outcome this time. So I got up, took a shower, and drove to the emergency room. As the day progressed, I found myself almost insisting that I needed to be admitted. I believe the staff, with the best of intentions, didn’t believe I needed to go. Once again, high-functioning depression masked my underlying needs.
Today I am writing my 440th blog post.
And I have made the decision to write my book about my life with depression. The idea has been swirling around in my head for a while. Getting my thoughts out has been important. I have used my blog to work through many, many issues. Trying to understand depression and my relationship to it, I have explored things that were on my mind.
Despite being afraid of the stigma associated with mental illness, I am proud that I have been honest in my writing.
Omitting some details has allowed me to protect the innocent. Or so I tell myself. On some level, I am allowing myself to be found out. Certainly, writing and publishing 440 blog posts on the internet, I am not trying to keep my depression a secret. But I have not gone out of my way to announce my depression. And while I have an entire Pinterest Website, and a private My Concealed Depression Facebook Page, I have not published a single blog post entry on my Facebook page.
Twitter, however, is another story.
Every blog post I write, I share as a link from the author, Depression Is Not My Boss. And my posts appear on Blogarama’s home page. So I am not going out of my way to protect my identity.
But setting out to write a book about my depression, I know that my identity will become known.
My biggest fear is the stigma still attached to mental health and specifically to depression. Yes, I am nervous about being associated with my depression. Yet I am still here to face it, to share what it’s like, and to let others know living with depression is possible.
Inspiration for facing the stigma comes from those I have met in Peer Support. Their stories and the fact that they show up anyway, make them superheroes in my book. And I meet people every day who inspire me to keep going.
So I have written the outline and will update my progress from time to time.
I am excited about this new chapter in my life. As SMART RECOVERY says, ” my goal is to lead a balanced life with depression.”