A good friend of mine recently proposed running a bit of writing by me. Writing inspired by the series of #StrongerTogether posts that I've written.
Like the above sketch from my friend, Jess, last month -- the text on Wednesday from this other friend was perfectly timed. My anxiety has been skyrocketing of late with lots of different things going on. Like a friend saying "I love you" as I sink into a morass of depression, a friend saying "Your writing has inspired me" makes me feel I'm not voiceless. Throughout this whole thing having friends share their stories, feelings and experiences with me has nailed home the benefits of this Stronger Together space.
I've talked about it before (and I will again), but it's incredibly important that if you're suffering from mental health issues, or going through a tumultuous time you're having a tough time processing, or really any combination thereof, you have to talk about it. It doesn't have to be with strangers or casual friends, or anyone who isn't a part of your inner circle; just find a person you can and do trust to listen to whatever it is that you need to talk about and process.
There's too much going on in the world at large and in our own worlds to bear the weight alone. We shouldn't try to. We can't. If we (well, if I) focus on the global issues of war, famine, drought, hypocrisy, violence, and disease nothing will happen. We'll (I'll) drown in the global misery.
It's been a really hard thing for me over the past 12 years to acknowledge that I can't save the world. Do I want to? Heck yeah. Do I want to have an impact in a way more substantial than giving ten bucks to this that or the other charity or putting an "X" on the ballot? Sure. But until I'm able to focus on me. Until I'm able to get my issues squared away or lessened. Until I'm able to figure out how to fix (or alleviate) my issues, I'm not going to be able to fix any other broader problems in my family, my community, my world.
That's the hardest thing to admit. That I can't help my sisters, I can't help my brothers, my parents, abuse victims, the Near East and North Africa, and/or famine and natural disaster victims until I'm able to stand on a mental ground as firm as the New England bedrock I live on. That's what this space is about. Building a community up and around me that will serve as a bedrock. A community that will remind me that there's thriving making its way towards me.
Have a story about depression that you'd like to share? Email email@example.com, or give us a call at (860) 348-3376, and you can record your story in your own words. Please be sure to include your name and phone number.
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.