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December 8, 2015

I Have Depression

Chalk art reads: I have depression.  The words are tangled up by a thorny vine of pink roses and a large yellow and orange sun in the corner shines line art streaks of sunlight through the words and vines.

    I've been seeing BuzzFeed's wonderful videos this week on mental health.  It really helps to hear other people talk about how they're going through things that I myself have to deal with.   For some time  I have wanted to talk about this subject and I've gotten some of it down, but it's a tough topic.   I have depression.  For as long as I can remember I have had depression even if in the beginning I didn't have a name for it.   Even if for a long time I did not have a name for it.  Depression makes everything harder.

    It can make it difficult to concentrate and focus.   It can cause you to deeply doubt and question yourself and your own credibility.   There are many other symptoms and manifestations of depression.  It looks different in different people.   For me one of the most difficult parts to deal with is catatonia.  I am not a medical professional, however finding this word has helped me.   It has empowered me to be able to communicate what one of my problems is.  When I talk about catatonia  I'm talking about  not being able to move; sometimes for hours.   It may take me forever just to stand up.   Then there is the fact that when I do finally manage to stand I might just fall down.   This can be dangerous.   It took me a long time to finally seek help from my doctor with medication.   However I did manage to seek help with counseling much sooner than that and through different exercises,  herbal remedies, and aromatherapy  I was able to make progress.   However, when I finally sought medicine It was because there were many negative things going on in my life that were outside of my control.  My stress level got to a point that it began seriously affecting my life and work.  

    Too many people go on without asking for help.   Too many people are rejected when they finally try to ask for help.   And then they stay quiet again and they don't try again for far too long.  We really need to do something about the stigma and the shame centered around mental health.  

Note sized piece of green card stock reads: Why is it so hard to ask for help? The text is written with black ink from a dip pen which sits dripping in the bottom right hand side of the image.  In the top left side of the image are a folded up pair of black glasses that overlap the corner of the card stock.  The whole image is obscured as though the sun is washing it out.

    I have come a long way from where I began.   I have learned a great number of valuable things.    I want to share what I have learned.   I want to share things I have spent months even years turning over in my head.   But first and foremost I must put it out there and admit that I have depression.   Because I remember the stigma, I remember the attitudes of those surrounding me growing up.   I remember realizing that if I let anyone know the things I thought in my head I might be locked up.  Now as to whether or not that would have actually happened is completely irrelevant.   The society I was surrounded by was not a place that I felt safe admitting things about my own mind.   And even now I am held back sometimes,  many times,  by fear of consequences.  Consequences of admitting that I need help and that I have a mental illness.  Some of those consequences that I fear are loss of job or home  and some of those consequences I fear are trolls.  These fears are not imagined.   You needn't look far to see the things that trolls do.   But there will always be trolls.   And if I'm going to help other people, any other people,  I need to stand.  Because someone has to stand.  Many people have already stood up and admitted they have depression.   I will stand too.  


    If you have depression I understand how hard it is.   You're not alone out there and you can always talk to me.  I want to write more on this subject.  But it is difficult to tackle and it will take time.

 Until later,
 Lillian

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