When you sign up for these sites they ask you What do you know about? and then you are presented with a list of check boxes. Computers - sure. I know a little about that. My blog is about parenting and self help - so two more checks. And then I got to a check box labeled Depression. And I checked that box.
I know quite a bit about depression. I've suffered from one major, two medium and numerous minor episodes of depression. It's not something I often talk about, and I am very careful who I tell what about this lifelong struggle. Considering that, I'm not sure why I checked that check box. I just did.
The questions started pouring in. They broke my heart. One anonymous question after another. How do I know if I am depressed? Can you get better without medication? What do I do if my child is depressed? How do you convince someone that they are depressed and need help? Can I get married and lead a normal life if I've suffered from depression? What does it feel like to recover from depression? How to I tell my parents I think I'm depressed? Why should I go on living? Is there any hope for a better future?
So many of these questions were from young people still in high school or college, the same age I was when I suffered my worst bouts of depression. I answered question after question to the best of my ability. I tried to spread hope. To let them know that life can and will get better. My optimism was often met with doubt. That's okay, my 20 year old self would not have believed me either.
The questions repeated. I found myself writing the same things over and over again. And like a true engineer, I found this inefficiency unacceptable. And so, even though it is incredibly difficult for me to publicly declare that I struggle with depression, I'm doing it. Furthermore, I'm going to dedicate Wellness Wednesday to the topic for a while.
It's a topic near and dear to my heart, and one that needs to be discussed. A subject that is still somewhat taboo and claims millions of lives a year. This is going to be my small way of trying to eliminate the shame that surrounds the disease and to help anyone who is reading this and relating to those uncomfortable questions that were flooding my inbox.
I end most of my "answers" with a Best Wishes and that is exactly how I want to leave you today. Best Wishes. - Shannon