A couple of days ago, I picked up a follower with a clever name. Alliterative, self-deprecating, suggesting an outsider’s perspective on the world. Her picture looked like the sort of person I’d relate to. Yes, this is a lot to pick up from a username and avatar. So, I checked out her blog.
I’m not going to name her, because it’s not clear to me that she wants or needs the attention, but her story certainly warrants a review.
Her post had a title along the lines of “You just need to cry.” Because I’d already decided that she and I had so much in common, I expected her post to be about the mayhem of Donald Trump. He makes me want to cry every day. But I’ve stopped writing about him because I no longer want to dignify him with real-estate on my blog.
Based on the title, her post might be light-hearted or melancholy, humorous or actually somewhat sad. I was unprepared. Her post started off as an upbeat story about her three little girls; it took an eclectic turn on recounting a dream; and then plunged into a thousand-word scrawl describing a life of profound depression.
I was completely blind-sided.
Last winter, I had a major depressive episode. It terrified me. I was confused, angry, fearful and paralyzed by the weight of the illness pressing down on me. It’s a sickness you can’t describe. Even people who have experienced their own depression don’t know what to say. Here I was, living in a house with my wife and two children, all loving and caring people, but I was all alone.
After reading her post twice, and mulling it over with an uneasy feeling in my stomach, I decided to send her a message through her contact form. “You have depression and PTSD. Please find a psychiatrist and therapist immediately.”
Finding mental illness in WordPress is like finding a blade of grass on a golf course. It’s so prevalent that it often bums me out that I’m just another mental illness blogger. I’ve read countless posts from people in the throes of depression, but in all of those posts, they seemed to have a handle on what they were going through.
This was different. A cry for help from an out-of-the-way corner of the internet. After a day, she wrote me back. She didn’t really need to hear from me. She and her husband had already put together a plan. The doctor appointments were already set up, she was already getting help.
Life is hard. Many of us are struggling to get by everyday with physical, financial, career, and relationship challenges. And then some of us have mental illness compounding the effects of whatever might be wrong in our life.
Please take a minute to inventory your friends and acquaintances. If you think they might be struggling with depression, take the time, make the effort to say something. You can’t solve their problems, but a bit of understanding won’t hurt.