I hope we all know that depression tells us lies, and the lower we feel, the stronger the lies become. Depression will tell us that we are worthless, we are alone, we are ineffective, our lives don’t have purpose, and all kinds of other things that are total and complete bullshit. I believe this 110%, even though it’s harder to feel this belief in the middle of a bout with my own depression.
The Bloggess is the first blogger and author I came across who wrote so frankly, honestly, and often hilariously, about her struggle with the lies her depression and anxiety have told her. She seems to have struck a nerve with an audience across the world who fights similar battles. Her writing has helped millions (not an educated estimate, but probably not too far off) of people feel a connection they might not otherwise have found. There is definitely strength in numbers, especially when fighting to get out of depression’s vise-like grip.
Her recent post about ways to cope with the depression monster went viral like smallpox around Facebook and Twitter, and for good reason. I can name several reasons why. First, she understands the great power of music in soothing and healing mental illnesses and trauma. Second, I’m a huge fan of lists, and having lists of things that are true, like she made in this post, helps give you something solid to hold onto until the dark wave passes. A few of The Bloggess’ examples include:
- Read things that make you realize you’re not alone… [like her blog]
- If you have self-harm issues, snap a rubber band across wherever you usually hurt yourself…
- Have someone you can tell so they can watch over you…
- See a shrink… [the best of us do]
- Call the suicide hotline if you need to… [National Number in the US: 1-800-273-8255]
- Remember that 25-50% of all people will experience mental illness at some point, so you are not alone…
A third noteworthy feature of The Bloggess is the way she encourages people seek out others with similar struggles to eliminate those feelings of isolation that can seem overwhelming in depression. That is what I hope my writing can be to someone else. If you have not read her blog or her book, I highly recommend them both. Any positive connections we can make in our struggle against our own brain chemistry can only help us heal. And she is a very positive connection to have. She writes about a lot of other interesting and humorous things, mostly her cats, sometimes unicorns, other than mental illness too.
Also in the spirit of community, I am excited by all of the new followers and readers of this site lately, and I would love to see the site continue to grow. I will keep writing either way and keep striving to become a better writer with each post. I mean really, there’s no way I could stop if I tried, but it is always great to know that people are reading. A big sappy thank you to those of you who have followed and responded to The Unit posts. As hard as they were to write, it means the world to me knowing that my experiences can help someone not feel so alone.