My Side of Suicide

I can’t help but think that any one of us could have been in Robin Williams’s place, yet we are here and he is gone.  His suicide has left us weepy, reeling, and grief-stricken.  His suicide has made a statement, one of the need to better address and treat those with depression.  While he cannot be here to continue that conversation, we are.  And because I too have suffered from depression, I can use my voice to talk about my experiences, as uncomfortable as that is for me.

I had my first taste of what Andrew Solomon called “the noonday demon” when I became a mother.  The first few weeks and months of my daughter’s life were overwhelming and lonely.  I began to wish that I could escape, even if that meant death.  I talked to my physician about it, and she decided it was “only” the baby blues.

However, I would’ve never made it to my physician without a chance encounter with a neighbor. She came to my house one morning to bring a gift, and when I opened the door and immediately started crying, she stayed with me for a few hours and helped me out.  She continued to make an effort to help me over the next few months.  She encouraged me to get help.  She commiserated with me. She is still one of my favorite people and holds a special place in my heart.

Things seemed to get better, but about a year later, when faced with a small but meaningful change in my life, I couldn’t handle it.  I broke down, and my husband and I realized that I needed counseling.  We realized that I’d spent the entire year dealing with depression. The counseling sessions helped, and I learned ways of coping and thinking that changed my outlook. Obviously, my problem was not clinical, but post-partum, and I did well for several years. I was “cured.”

This is the story most people hear from me.  This is the story I purposefully tell.  It has a nice narrative arc, and it has a happy ending.  I was depressed, I sought help, and then I was better.

That’s not the whole story.

I’ve had bad episodes in the years that have followed.  I’ve spent many times in a locked bathroom contemplating how to end things.  I’ve had dark moments that have been hard to shake.  I still don’t think I have clinical depression, but I do have depressive tendencies.  Many times, I wish I had never been born.  Rather than wanting to die, I want to not exist.  I spend a lot of time hating myself.  Sometimes there are triggers to these feelings, like social rejection, a lack of purpose in my life, a drastic change in my schedule, or conflicts with family or friends.  I’ve been handling it on my own, often hiding it from my husband, although he is aware of my tendencies. I’m pretty sure that nobody knows what I’m revealing now, except for him.

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Earlier this month, when I realized that I had a checkup appointment with my doctor at the end of this month, I had resolved to talk with her about what has been going on.  I’ve noticed more of a propensity to these feelings during certain times of the month, and as a female, there might be ways for me to manage that.  My problem may be hormonal.  It may be genetic.  (I have had a few family members commit suicide, and I know my mother’s behavior growing up was not normal.) It may be that I need another round of counseling and better ways of managing self care.  And we all have down times.  However, when these become debilitating or so regular that they are distracting and life-threatening, it is time to take action.

I think it is time for me to pay more attention to my mental health and to learn healthier ways of coping and reacting to stress and disappointment.  I think it is time to pay attention to the fact that my depressive episodes may not be normal and that they aren’t always triggered by outside factors.

I am not Robin Williams.  I haven’t experienced what he was experiencing, but I do have a taste of it.  I admire his enormous talent and ability to touch us all, and I hope that he’s finally at peace. I mourn and pray for his family.

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95 thoughts on “My Side of Suicide

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  1. In light of Robin William’s death:
    Dear people,
    All of you who suffer….from depression and anxiety….and mental illness….suicide has claimed another of us. To the rest of us who still live, fight for yourself. Be good to yourself. Stay alive. Fight the daily battle with babysteps. Personally, I feel like a suicide survivor. I craved it with the essence of my being, for death to take away this bad wrong inside me that no one else could comprehend. I chose, somehow, to stay alive and pray for God’s will to take me. He did not. So I didn’t either. And now, through many years of every day taking babysteps to further my coping skills, miraculously, I am able to live a happy healthy life. Free to be. You may always carry the diagnosis of mental illness, however, you can be a survivor too. God knew what the future held. I did not then, I was guessing. Then,in the throes of my battle I did not see. But I chose God’s will over my own. I promise, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You may not see it now, but there is. And I want you to have the same chance as I did….to look back and say wow, it was bad, but I survived. Much love, jill

  2. Reblogged this on Big Red Carpet Nursing and commented:
    The more we air our dark secrets that needn’t be secrets, like depression and suicide, the more we dispel their power. Depression is usually quite treatable, yet nearly 40,000 Americans die by suicide annually. It needn’t be this way, but we must end the isolation of it, the secrecy, if we want to save lives.

  3. I like your piece. Every person who steps forward dispels that much more of the shame, the secrecy, the isolation that make depression so much more lethal than it need be. Thanks.
    FYI – I wrote of my own experiences recently. It’s not easy, is it? Gets much easier with practice though…

  4. Thank you so much for your honestly in this post. I think you are doing exactly what needs to be done. We should as a culture, as friends, and as families stop hiding what is such a common problem. I know so many people who feel shame and continue to believe that somehow their mental and emotional problems are their fault, and stem from being weak.

    Our culture needs to embrace these people and their struggles the same way we embrace a person suffering from diabetes, cancer, asthma or any other long term physical problem. Too often I hear people talking about a person or family suffering through additions and mental illness as if bad parenting or weakness of spirit is to blame.

    I too had a wonderful angel dressed as an ordinary woman next door. She helped me every day for a few months while I struggled with “baby blues”. I had so many people who asked me what I had to be depressed about, told me to pull myself together, asked me to pray and the Lord would give me peace. This was many years ago, when depression was talked of even less than today. She walked over to my house each day, made sure I knew she was there and urged me to seek medical help. I only found out later that she was battling depression herself. I hope we can start accepting that depression and addictions need open sunlight and a score of people helping rather than blaming.

    1. What a beautiful woman that checked on you! We need to do this for each other. I love what you are saying about being open and honest. It was hard for me to post this. I almost removed it late last night before it went out, but then I decided just to see what would happen. Thanks for your words of wisdom.

  5. Hi Emily, When the email arrived that you had posted this piece I was very drawn to read it. I am sooo happy that you shared your “thought” history with us and it makes me feel less alone as well when I get those “blue” moods. I have decided that for better or worse that it’s a “thought” challenge and to work on new “thought” managing strategies and finding help when necessary. It really at the end of the day as you so eloquently stated more about “self-care” than not. So thank you for sharing and have a blessed day. Sora

    1. Thank you, Sora. It is about self-care and I learned a lot about thought-stopping in counseling. I can’t imagine how much harder it is for those who suffer more than I do from depression, however. I think they might need more than what I need.

  6. Life can be pretty hard at times… :/
    I’m heading to university in the UK in one month and my parents are making huge sacrifices to fund my studies there.The problem is I’m not super motivated and fear I won’t be able to repay them with extraordinary results.Besides I’ll have to manage on my own in a country where some people are known to be racists…

    This is hard,but I’ve never contemplated suicide. I’m always moving on with in mind the certainty that there is always ”a way out”,that if you let things follow their course,it’ll be revealed to you.It however did occur to me to end my life at times in the past…when,I guess,I was less mature.

    According to Camus,life has no meaning,but if one becomes a sensualist,life’s meaning will show itself to him through books,football,your child’s education,etc; we can live and create ”in the very midst of the desert.”
    I also think that committing suicide while we’re still healthy is a lack of respect to those who’ve died and couldn’t complete what they set themselves to do.When I see Kafka’s unfinished novels,I find them tragic and fascinating,as I’m lost in much speculation; an unfinished work by someone who killed himself,on the other hand,evokes nothing in me – I just think of someone who voluntarily left,as if he wasn’t motivated enough.

    Being only 20,if I commit suicide,I will surely cause a little wave of sadness around me,but surely I won’t spoil the fate of anyone,as my parents have already lived the major part of their lives.But if you put an end to your life,you’re directly putting the lives of your child and your future grandchildren in jeopardy; you’re bound by motherhood.

    I know I have a very queer outlook on life and death (blame it on my youth?),and I regret I cannot be more comforting.I just hope that you’ll be fine and be able to leave all these suicidal thoughts behind you once and for all. 🙂

    1. Thanks for your words. I am in a good place now, and have been for a while, but I did want to acknowledge that nobody is perfect and that many of us have had these dark thoughts in times past and they may come back in the future.

    2. Kainzow, I saw your comment and wanted to wish you well with your studies.

      “Besides I’ll have to manage on my own in a country where some people are known to be racists…” — I’m sorry that you have a perception of the UK as “a country where some people are known to be racists”. Of course, every person’s experience is different and unique, and speaking as a white woman, perhaps I don’t have any right to talk about racial prejudice. But, for what it’s worth, I just wanted to say that I live and study in the UK; I think it is generally a liberal and cosmopolitan country where the majority of people are open-minded and accepting of others (especially in university settings).

      Good luck with your move to the UK and I hope you have an amazing time.

      1. Thank you!
        Being a regular reader of the DailyMail,I often see tints of racial hatred in the comments.That’s why maybe I forget about those people,like you,who are sensible enough to know that those of different skin colours or of different ethnicities are not always alike…

  7. Thank you for sharing, I have my own depressive tendencies, and yes it is a struggle, a move, change, disagreement, can trigger this feeling of doom and helplessness. It is very difficult to explain to people who have not suffered from it, what really goes on. The common suggestion, ‘pull yourself together’ I have been after doing that for 35 years, suddenly I could no longer ‘pull myself together’, from being very active, I went to a life where even getting up in the morning would be a struggle… the cause was Fibromyalgia. After physiotherapy, counselling and treatment, I am better, but I do not feel the same, and I wonder if I ever will. Fight depression is not easy, it is fighting a part of yourself all the time, and that is exhausting. I wish you the very best and if you need someone to listen, I am available

    1. Thank you so much. It is comforting to hear your story, and I am happy that you’ve been able to find help and work through some things. But yeah, it doesn’t ever go away completely.

  8. Thank you for sharing and for being so honest. You are right, so many of us feel a deep sadness over the loss of Robin Williams. I have often wondered if he’d known just how many people care about him if it would have made a difference. I am sorry you’ve had to go through such darkness. I do feel it’s a physiological thing and if yours is hormonal there are surely things you can do that might help, at least a little. I think all we can do is try our best to manage our struggles, whatever they are. Best to you Emily!

  9. Reblogged this on Kerry's Blog and commented:
    Friends,

    Robin Williams’ sudden demise has definitely affected people the world over. I hope that we can carry with us the memories of laughter and other things that make us human.

    I normally do not re-blog posts but I resonated with Emily’s and thought that it is worth sharing.

  10. thanks, emily, for that insightful piece. i have never suffered from depression but some people that i love do. my problem is that i simply cannot understand what u r describing; no wanting to exist. that is something so far from my experience. also, as u say, people hide their feelings so the rest of us don’t know how they’re really feeling. even if they did open up, it’s a hard thing to understand unless u’ve felt it. i never have. here’s my question: what do those of us who love people w/ depression do? what do we do? what can we do? how do we make things better, or, at least, not add to the depression? i feel very helpless when someone i love tells me that they have it simply because i have no idea how to help. does that make any sense?

    1. Yes, it makes sense. I would say Mike is as lost and confused as you are. I don’t have the answers. Maybe you just listen and encourage them to get help. And then follow through on getting them help. I wish I knew!

  11. You are brave and wise to “air” your difficulties. Fortunately, society has moved away from its old, repressive taboos concerning self-revelation and now accepts the human need for discussion, help, and understanding. I wish you all the best!

    1. Thanks, Alan! It is nice to be able to talk about this without too much fear. I think part of my remaining fear and hesitation stems from how taboo this has always been in my own extended family.

  12. Emily, so many thanks for sharing this part of your story. Life is a journey and we have obstacles that crop up along the way. The best comment I heard about mental illness is learning to live with it as it remains an echo, sometime feint, sometimes more pronounced.

    I have a former colleague who is a behaviorial psychologist who helps organizations develop behaviorial health management programs for their employees. She cites the statistic that 1 out of 5 people will have some form of depressive experience in their lifetime. She notes that she can pick up any company’s Rx claim experience and see 10% of the claims being for depression medication. Her concern is people getting the drug without the therapy.

    So, depression and mental health challenges are more prevalent than people care to acknowledge. In her work, she notes you must pair an obesity management program with a depression management program, e.g. as eating excessively is a way to battle depression. Your story is so relevant to many. People need to see stories that this happens to the best of people. And, people do live and flourish with the illness like you have done.

    I recognize that Robin Williams did not shoot himself, but this is one reason I am strongly in favor of tougher gun laws, especially waiting periods. Per the CDC, the most prevalent reason for gun deaths in the US is suicides. The CDC cites that a home with a gun has a 3x the rate of suicide than one without. All it takes is an impulse and someone’s life is over.

    I may have taken your story in a direction you did not intend. But, I wanted to share these statistics with your readers as it is important to note that you are not alone and we need to be mindful of how prevalent depression is in our society.

    Your perspective is of great value to me and many. Thank you for sharing your challenges, as we all benefit from your experience and wisdom. As always, all the best, BTG

    1. Thank you, BTG! You are wonderful, astute, and insightful, as usual. I always benefit from YOUR wisdom, and I really feel like I don’t have much to share or give. I just like to start the conversation. Thanks for joining in and for talking about how prevalent it is. Even if we aren’t clinically depressed, many of us have gone through trying and difficult times that may require help.

  13. I think one thing that stands out to me is that we hope that it will pass on it’s own. My husband suffers from anxiety and depression, but it was years before he was finally convinced to see a doctor about it. He had dealt with it on and off for so long that he just thought it was how he was. Part of his personality. He also didn’t want other people to know. Now, he is much more open about it, and will share his experience with others. The more we talk about it, the better. Thanks for sharing your story!

    1. It does take years to come to terms with it, and to be brave enough to seek help and talk about it. Kudos to your husband. And I’m glad you mentioned anxiety. I sincerely think my problem might be more of that rather than depression.

  14. Goodness, Emily. Not only are you one of the brightest people I know, you’ve got courage too. I love the acknowledgement of the easy narrative arcs we often share and the brave confession that life rarely works like that. Depression is such a real, important issue in our community. Thank you for tackling it. xoxo

  15. I have dealt with depression since middle school. My mom would’ve been a good candidate for antidepressants, but never got them. Every one of her descendants but one is currently – or should be – on antidepressants.

    I understand, and I salute your courage in revealing all this. You are not alone.!

  16. I agree with several of the above commenters that it’s very important to share these stories and lift some of the stigma around mental illness. The Matt Walsh blog (I won’t link to it because I think he’s totally out of line) recently posted that depression is as much a spiritual problem as it is a clinical one. I think it’s a gross oversimplification to say that those who suffer need spiritual help, and also an insult to people who have tried to seek help with spiritual leaders and failed. As medical science progresses, more and more we realize that the mind and the body are so intertwined that we can’t treat one without treating the other.

    Anyway, I’m glad you’re brave enough to share your struggle – hopefully it will inspire others to seek the help they need.

      1. That’s interesting–I have only read Matt Walsh’s blog when others share it on Facebook, but I have always loved it. I have not read the post your are referencing, but I will now. I have often thought that many people–clearly not all–would be helped by acknowledging and embracing a spiritual tradition, acknowledging their spiritual selves and that there is something bigger than ourselves. But, of course, devout believers struggle with depression, so it is clearly not the only solution.
        Thanks for the post–as others have already noted, when we talk about and talk back to something we are afraid of, we greatly lessen its power and our fears.

          1. Well, I read his initial post that upset you all and I read his follow-up post. I thought they were both wonderful. As he points out in his follow-up blog, many people who reacted to viscerally to his initial post hadn’t even read it and were responding to simplified re-posts and tweets about it. While I doubt that’s the case with you, I’d recommend reading his follow-up. His initial post received so many hits, it crashed his website. In our desire to understand the pain that causes suicide, I think we may be inadvertently removing the power we have over ourselves and our thoughts. In the end, that’s really ALL we have, and we need to remember that.

  17. You have bravely helped to “Stop the Stigma,” by bravely writing about your struggles. Depression is very common in women. A referral to a good clinical psychologist from your family doctor may help you to receive appropriate treatment. This is a very treatable condition and nothing to feel ashamed of, as it is an illness needing treatment, just like diabetes. Sending good thoughts your way!

    1. Thank you. Your comment is very helpful, because it has been hard to figure out just exactly how to approach getting help. It is important that we know HOW to go about getting help once we are willing. 🙂

  18. Thank you for sharing. More and more people need to share as many people around us daily suffer from depression. I was diagnosed 15 years ago. I frankly thought that was just the way I was. I was a successful business man, happily married and raising three wonderful girls. I had always been stressed internally about being successful and providing for my family. It came to a head when I had an accident and almost died. I recovered physically, but not mentally. It sent me down a round of panic attacks and other physical ailments. Ironically I hid all of the above from co-workers. My wife was privy to what I was going through and encouraged me to seek medical help. I did and that was the beginning of my realization that I had been living my life in “black and white” and it was to be lived in “color” to pull a comparison from old TV shows. I was on medication for years and when that quit working, I sought acupuncture. I have been doing acupuncture for over 8 years and between my spiritual life of prayer and meditation and acupuncture, I have it under control. It sits there, but I can pray it away where I couldn’t before. I don’t advertise it, but I do share if appropriate. Most people are shocked as I am a very up beat and high energy personality. I can identify with what sends a person to the point of wanting to give up and die, but my faith pulls me back from wondering that path too deep. I have lost friends and family to suicide and the pain it leaves behind is horrific. Really horrific! Seeing the same tendencies surface in a couple of my now adult daughters, we talk openly about it. I know it sounds cheesy, but there is a better tomorrow, I’ve lived it and believe it. I remind myself and my daughters of that whenever they (or I) hit that dark time. I have also been blessed to have the love and support of a wonderful wife who doesn’t have these issues, but respects the fact that many people do. Thanks for letting me share!

    1. Kirt, thank you for sharing! This is probably an all-too-common story, and I’m so happy to see that you’ve found a way to manage it and move beyond it. It sounds like your wife is pretty amazing. I understand your hesitancy to share with anybody and everybody. It is a hard thing to talk about, but I thank you for doing so.

  19. Hi, Emily. I’ve been following your blog for a while now but have never commented. However, this post has resonated so much with me on a personal level that I’m compelled to say something.

    First, thank you for sharing your experience. It’s extremely difficult to expose one’s secrets, especially on the internet. Second, I know exactly how you feel when you say you wish you’d never been born at all. I was depressed for a large chunk of this summer, showed the symptoms of it, and while I vacillated between wanting to be dead vs. wanting never to have been born, I settled on the latter because at least then my family and few friends wouldn’t know what they were missing. It’s still hard for me to pinnpoint all the factors that caused my depression, but I think a lot of it had to do with something you mentioned, a lack of purpose or direction in life. I’m 21, just graduated college in May, and have no idea what to do in life. I felt purposeless and useless, and because my family and I immigrated to the U.S. when I was only 2 months old, my parents had a wildly different life before they knew this country, so their notions and personal experience of how to survive in a new country sort of clash with my idealistic–sometimes to a fault–nature. A lot of the ill feelings on both my and my parents’ parts are probably due to lack of communication. With all the expectations and pressures I feel plus a multitude of other things, I felt (and still feel) so lost in life, which I imagine is quite normal for many college grads, but I still felt alone and down to the extreme. Somehow, though, and I really can’t say how, I went from lying in bed all day with a hollowness in my chest to moving about the house more and I somehow developed a healthier state of mind. I noticed a distinct difference in how stepping outside the house when I was depressed physically felt as opposed to how doing so afterward felt. Getting out of the house helped, though I mostly didn’t want to go anywhere, because I was able to see all the life that went on around me and it reminded me that life goes on and everyone has problems. It’s interesting, isn’t it, to know that every person you pass is going through something, too. The thoughts I’d had scared me because they didn’t seem like…me. l simultaneously saw the beauty in life and the world yet didn’t care. I knew I’d hardly experienced life, yet it wasn’t enough to keep me wanting to stay. I actually envied elderly people because they’d already lived their lives. If I had to go through life, I wanted to just fast forward without actually going through the hard stuff. Sharing (most of) this with a good friend of mine also helped because I wasn’t just keeping it to myself anymore, which had made me feel even lonelier. Just having some support and someone to listen made things easier for me. I’m thankful to largely be out of that really bad period, though I’m still feeling lost.

    Sorry for the terribly long post, but I just wanted to share my experience with you and anyone reading. Thank you for making me feel like I could open up here, even if it was unconsciously on your part and anonymously on mine. 😛 I genuinely hope you find peace of mind and whatever else you’re seeking. And I hope everyone out there who suffers from depression feels that he/she can talk to someone about it because for me, feeling misunderstood and lonely was a large part of it. Thank you for your post, Emily.

    1. Thank you for this wonderful comment. I’m sorry to hear that you have been struggling, and I do know how you feel. I agree that purpose in one’s life can help, especially if that means getting out of the house! I often have to get out of the house just once a day (if I don’t have plans to already) in order to keep myself centered and happy. Your experience will resonate with many, and I applaud you for sharing it. I am glad to know that you have made some progress and are feeling better. Keep taking care of yourself.

  20. Thank you for sharing your story with us, Emily. Being aware of your own depressive tendencies and being open to help to manage those tendencies is certainly a positive step towards a healthier mental and emotional state of mind. I think more people suffer from depressive tendencies than they are willing to admit, perhaps because of the stigma attached or due to different social or cultural expectations. I know I suffer from it, though I’ve never talked about it on my blog. I feel encouraged by honesty like yours to continue my path to well-being.

    1. Ngan, I hope you do continue to take care of yourself. It is so important. I appreciate your thoughts on why so many of us hide these emotions. Certainly, we’ve all at least experienced a little of this, and hopefully not all of us are constantly battling it. But we should be able to understand each other because of the difficulties we all face at one time or another. Thanks for the great comment.

  21. Thank you so much for sharing your story, Emily. I think that I knew of the difficulties you’d had growing up, but not about the depression and suicidal thoughts. Once again we’re so alike here, and I’ve been drafting a post about this. For the past week, though, I just couldn’t read any more news on the internet or work on my blog. I am heartbroken over what happened with Robin Williams and all the attention on depression has been overwhelming.

    But if his death is encouraging open discussions and open disclosures about depression, then that is an amazing thing. How incredible it would be for us to one day talk about depression the way we talk about broken bones or diabetes or heart disease.

    Anyway, I agree that as women we have hormonal impact to consider and that unhealthy ways of coping can severely affect how we feel about ourselves. I am in the middle of unlearning the unproductive and even self-destructive coping skills that had become a part of me since childhood. I don’t think I would’ve done anything about this until I saw myself dragging my baggage into motherhood, and playing it all out in front of my son.

    1. Me too. Being a mother means being more aware of your own behavior. That’s a good thing, but it can be a burden as well. I suspect a large part of my problem (and probably yours as well) is stuff from childhood. How can you escape a dark childhood with parents who act out in harmful ways (and may be depressed themselves) without absorbing some of that thinking and acting? Thanks for sharing your story. I look forward to reading more on your blog. Your other post about anxiety gave me the courage to post this one. I kept thinking, “Everybody reacted with support for Cecilia, so things will be fine if I post this.” 🙂

  22. I hate that some Doctors (usually males) call it the “Baby Blues” or if you have depression without the Bub they say you have the “Blues” or are “feeling down”. I used to feel like saying, “how about you take over my life for awhile and see how ‘blue’ you feel”.
    You feel a little “blue” when you hung out washing and it rains, if you are weighing up the pros and cons of serrated vs. straight edge then you have a serious depressive disorder and need assistance of some kind immediately. I am so glad you have asked for help not just once but numerous times. Depressive diseases can be so sneaky, for instance with me it comes in so, so gradually that it is hard for anyone, even me to notice. I don’t necessarily feel massively different, I am just tired all the time, don’t laugh as much and then I stop enjoying spending time with anyone but my family, then I don’t enjoy spending time with my nieces and nephews, I am exhausted all the time. Eventually I start spending a lot of time in my room reading which basically consists of me going between reading and sleeping and possibly coming out for meals every now and then. But the coming on of it is so gradual (plus I like to read anyways) that usually it is not picked up until I start sleeping 12 hours a day. It’s so hard.

    1. It is hard. I hear you! I love what you are saying about how it sneaks up on you. You think things are fine, and then you realize how gradually they aren’t. I did really well for several years, and then I had a huge conflict with a neighbor over something I didn’t even realize I had done, and I saw how the stress from that gradually led me back into unhealthy ways of thinking.

      1. I think it is a really good sign that we can SEE that about ourselves though. I think that is part of accepting that you do have this ailment, once you have accepted it you are able to identify triggers and have tools in place to try and deal with it. I try and avoid taking “happy pills” as much as I can, but I am able to realise where I am to the point that I need help. With me there is a weird hormone and chemical imbalance that happens, as much as I might want to beat that myself it is sometimes not possible. 🙂

  23. Reblogged this on tefl asia the voice and commented:
    Reading about your experience gave me confidence to talk about my own depression and my constant fight with it.
    You are write we don’t know that kind of problem people are facing, we can’t judge them as we don’t understand why Robin Williams commit suicide.

  24. Reading about your experience gave me confidence to talk about my own depression and my constant fight with it.
    You are right we don’t know that kind of problem people are facing, we can’t judge them as we don’t understand why Robin Williams commited suicide.

  25. Dear Emily, thank you for sharing your feeling. Actually I wrote a comment three times and erased it each time. This morning i get up the nerve again. For me it is quite hard to say my thought.

    I am a breast cancer patient, stage 3. Since 2010 I got through a series of process from operation to anti-cancer pill. In the meantime, not only the treatment but also the eyes of people hurt me a lot. But the most painful thing did not come from the others but from inside of me. The feeling of becoming an useless person(but before the cancer i felt myself a miserable existence) followed wherever i went. So, i could not response to the other’s biased or snobbish saying. How could I? Someone told, “You are cursed by God”.

    Still a lot of problems bother me, the side effect of lymphedema, the pseudocramp of feet and hands, easily getting tired. And my unworthiness still distresses me a lot like always. But there is a tiny difference between old I and present I. It takes a liltte faster to get out of those painful feelings than before(In fact,at that time i even didn’t know how to get out of it). I go out to see the wild plants. And just accept that i am(You know it is a great advance for me). And try to find out the real shape of the feeling.

    If we give a name to some painful feeling it always follows us and doesn’t disappear by itself. It reappears and sneaks into us again and again until we find out the resource of it and accept it. After that, there will be other way. People too easily say God loves you. But that saying never gives me any consolation.

    You already are a brave person.

    1. I am so sorry about your illness. I am grateful that you had the bravery to post about your thoughts and experiences. I am sure that what you are going through is extremely difficult and of course you will feel sadness, despair, loneliness, and depression. It sounds like you have worked through some of this, but keep going. I hope you are able to find peace and that you can continue to fight your cancer. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  26. It’s so Ironic, even though almost No One wants to Really Admit it;
    All of us has some kind of fear.
    To say the least, there are People out there who have a reason to this.

    With life Passing us so fast, there’s almost No way you can stop and Catch your breathe;
    This while Everyone around us believe either they’ve got Nothing to worry about or they just Ignore their own Fears, Uncertainties or Worries.

    What I have seen and Learnt over the years, 39 of them;
    As the saying as well goes,
    When you KNOW what it is that you’ve got problems with, do what you can in dealing with them…
    Which would be so much Easier when THEY saying this can walk a Mile in Your shoes.

    I’ve got real Medical Issues and then my own Fears of life.
    It would be so Easy to say that I’m just Plowing on, but at this Age of mine I’m still Single and Financially not sound enough to take that Plunge.
    What I’ve found in my Reality,
    NEVER to say it will work for the rest,
    As scary as it Really is, Facing your fears will either Kill you or make you stronger.

    I suspect the Real fear, when You do share this Problem with Others and they Judge you on it.
    Who would you turn to,
    Seeing that someone MIGHT see their own Issues in life while You’re taking the Steps in dealing with them.
    Never suspecting how Hard, Painful and Fearsome it really is.

    Finding the right support OR those who would at least Stand By You is as hard as Facing whichever many Problems you’d be staring down.
    Not to say that you’d win…
    But if You did find the ONE or so Persons willing to Help;
    ACCEPTING the help is in itself as HARD to do sometimes…

    When my Brother’s and Sister’s want chat with their Eccentric Uncle
    OR
    I see who small/little children Respond to me while I start playing with them,
    I see the Possibility in Life.
    AS WELL
    I make a Point of it, watching Heartfelt and Emotionally Moving Films.
    Knowing that there ARE people out there, Struggling MORE with Issues and Problems than I am.

    Thus, we’ve all been blessed or raised or learnt something that can HELP you overcome the Mountain standing before you.
    With that help, Yes.
    Just think, as Hard as it may be, If you can do it;
    How many people Might you not Reach, See, Speak to, HELP…
    Scaling their Own Mountain of Fears.

    Never saying that it’s Easy, But then Life isn’t easy in itself.
    We get Bumped every single day…?

    Sorry for getting carried away there.
    :- )

  27. Love this article. I think it’s so important that we openly have these discussions about depression, anxiety and suicide. I always am an open book when it comes to sharing my family’s history of depression and anxiety and how it’s affected me too. The more we talk about it, the more we understand it, and the more we can learn to treat people kindly because, from what I’ve seen, far too many struggle with mental illnesses. We all need to take care of eachother.

  28. Good for you, Emily, for your bravery to be honest about depression. I hate that by its nature depression craves secrecy (through the symptoms of withdrawal/isolation and self-loathing). So many people don’t realize that what they’re going through is TREATABLE and not something to be ashamed of!

    I was there. I’m so glad I was stopped from suicide by my loved ones and eventually led to treatment. But I wish I had known all along what depression was and what I could have done about it!

    Thanks for sharing this with all your readers!!

    1. Thank you for sharing your story with me! I’m so glad too that you were stopped and got the help you need. It has been delightful getting to know you through your blog.

  29. i have another question re depression & i’d welcome any response. as i’ve said, i do not suffer from it, but have a number of loved ones who do. my question: is there any ‘treatment’ other than drugs that is effective? i mean, with all the side effects of the anti-depressants, is it even worth the risk to take them? if not, is there any other treatment? i STRONGLY urge everyone to read MARCIA ANGELL’S article entitled ‘THE CRAZY STATE OF PSYCHIATRY’ & respond to me. this is a serious question & issue.

    1. I don’t know, Alex. Maybe somebody here does? What does Angell’s article say? Perhaps it is an individual decision made with a doctor, and each case is different. What works for one might not work for another? I know counseling really helped me the first time around.

  30. I, too have suffered from depression, and it is debilitating. Please, please seek help and don’t be afraid to try medication. It could be life changing and could even save your life.
    To life a large part of our lives sad, desperate, wishing we were simply not here is such a waste of the precious little time we have on this earth.
    My best to you.

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