Monday, March 3, 2014

The Great Depression

On Thursday afternoon of last week, a student at my oldest son's high school committed suicide by jumping out of a moving car her foster parents were driving.  The notice was on my e-mail Friday morning.  "Did you know her?" I asked.  He responded that he did in passing,  but enough to know that she'd had a hard life.  It wasn't until he got to health class that day that he realized they shared a class together.  Her chair empty.  The teacher silent.  As if it was just another day.

I was always a sullen child.  Much too intense and in my head for my own good.  Especially in high school.  I had few friends who knew me.  Even those who did, didn't know how I  retreated into my insecurities and solitude.  I made excuses to be alone to drown in them.  I didn't go to parties because I didn't allow myself to have fun.  It was one of a few times in my life that I should have been on medication.  It was very near tragic.  Closer than you may imagine.

There is a seething simmering depression that I've battled my entire life.  It ebbs and flows, but it never goes away.  It's always right below the surface.  Threatening to consume me whole.  I could disappear without a trace.  And at one time, that enticed me.  Slipping off into darkness would be a release.

It's been over 25 years since I hit my deepest, darkest bout with depression. Even so, I still need to manage it daily.  To actively keep it in check.  Which is my top reason for working out regularly.  And eating right. Spending time alone to recharge, but ensuring I balance that with getting out with friends.  Getting off-line and reducing screen time.  Being outside in nature and cautious not to overindulge in alcohol. And writing.

Depression is biological, psychological and situational.  But, it's also contagious.  Reach out if you know someone is struggling.  And reach back if that person is you.  There is no shame in getting help and receiving treatment.  I wish I knew that long before now.  At least for me, it wasn't too late to learn.

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline


Joy Page Manuel said...

Sorry about the child, another one lost to depression. But it's good to know of success stories like yours and the wisdom you bring. Sometimes it takes only for one person to notice and reach out to make a huge difference.

Donna Nikodem said...

Marie, Thank you for sharing this and for sharing your struggles. Many of us keep our struggles bottled up. I love and admire you for many reasons, and this blog, and your book are two. Love you lots!Donna

troutbirder said...

Indeed it is. Well said. Our eldest son was bi-polar.

Janine said...

There's such an epidemic happening with our youth theses days. Its really disturbing. We've struggled with D's daughter since September 2013 - suicide culture at school and suicidal thoughts. Its dreadful.

And re: the depression, Im right there with you. Every day brings ups and will always be there in the background, and balance is essential.

Ellie Ruth of Fuzzy Flock Farm said...

Thank you for sharing with the world. People react so negatively when people mention depression. They see depression as a sign of weakness or stupidity. Your post made me cry a little inside. I was just like you. The 16 year old me would have never in a million years imagined that others were being eaten from the inside out by an all consuming hollow darkness. Maybe that is why now I can see the humor in just about any situation; I had to. A part of me wanted to survive, despite myself. I fed that part little scraps of funny, like a mutt under the table, hidden from the eyes of my sorrow. I slowly started to shift the focus away from what I feared was irreparably broken inside of me, to tiny little things that instead of making a situation horrible, they actually make it kind of funny. Depression is the worst. It robs a person of their light, and their ability to shine. Depression is the liar that whispers in your ear at night about unworthiness and then screams in your face about how you don't belong when you enter a crowded space. It's about damned time we break this stigma and help each other. So, anyone reading this: If you or someone you know is battling depression and it scares you, or you have been avoiding talking about it because you don't know what to do; call the Metro Crisis Line 1-888-885-1222, they are super staffed and helpful and can point you in the right direction. If you know a man who is struggling and won't/can't get help try he can cyber chat with Dr. Rich Mohogany. Also, you can watch him clean a fish. Also, if things get can call me or message me...I will listen.

The Loerzels said...

@Joy-Sadly my son says the talk of the girl who took her life and the dialouge about suicide has stopped.
@ Donna-Thank you! I love you too!
@Janine-It's all balance and realizing when you're starting to sink before you're in too deep.
@ Haila-I didn't realize this was "you" until I looked at the picture. I wondered who could have writen such an eloquent, thoughtful, beautiful comment. It all makes sense now. Cause we're soul sisters you and I.

Muriel Jacques said...

What a tragedy! And how can you explain this to your son?
Seeking help is the key, isn't it? I admire you for managing your depression so well. You are an inspiration, Marie!


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