Last night was a particularly low one for me, and on top of that I was exhausted (the two go together hand in hand). When I woke up I checked the blog, to try and get a bit of inspiration, and therefore I wanted to focus today on a few of the comments I have received, which have both touched and inspired me. Part of my decision to do this blog was to communicate my thoughts and experiences, and also to bring together people in similar situations, as well as hopefully being a source of help and encouragement. So please do follow this blog to receive updates (link on the right hand side) or send the link to friends or family members who you think it may help.
There are two areas I wanted to concentrate on today, both of which I don’t think people consider that frequently…in fact I didn’t until I read these two comments. The first comment was in response to my blog on loneliness and isolation ‘But Honey I was Lonely On the Road, I was all on my own‘, and it came from Joanne who articulated the following:
“I believe loneliness is a huge factor in the feeling of anxiety and depression. It is not only an outer loneliness but an inner loneliness that can be extreme. I suffered from terrible depression and anxiety, then I met my partner and more importantly I had my children, I never suffered with these feelings again. The inner loneliness was gone and my children filled that horrible emptiness I once felt inside. I was told by professionals that I would always suffer with depression and would be on medication for the rest of my life. I haven’t taken medication for 10 years now. I am happy. I don’t suffer from depression. My children saved my life, literally.”
This is a truly inspiring tale, and contains a concept that I had never previously contemplated: the fact you can better. It also vindicates my notion from my previous blog that friendships and relationships are “the only thing that truly matters.” The fact that Joanne’s relationship with her children and partner could quite literally change her life, and bypass the horrible medication that we are often given, is extraordinary. Of course I’m in no way pronouncing that its as simple as that, and that this would happen to everyone, as that does a disservice to the complexity of mental health. But the fact that it has happened to Joanne, is surely a message of hope and encouragement?
The second comment is from Grooving Time which was made in response to my blog ‘Home Alone: Lost In Your Thoughts’ which focused on living by oneself, and how this can affect depression and anxiety. Grooving Time underlines another issue that is oft overlooked, which is the concept of suffering from depression, and also living with someone who also endures the same illness:
“While thinking about what you said about living alone or with someone and all that thing about how your depression also affects your family/friends, I thought I should share something about my life that you don’t see much out there. I have depression and live with my mother, who also has depression, and we’re not close to our family, so we kind of only have each other. It’s hard sometimes, because when she’s not well, I have to do my best to help her, and the same when it happens to me, but when we both are struggling with it and won’t leave our bedrooms, it can be very suffocating. I’m very young, I’m in high school, and I always try to do my best to help both me and her, even when I don’t feel that well. It’s pretty hard, you know? I don’t think many people live in the same situation I do, and, like you said, living alone can me pretty difficult, but living with someone who suffers from the same thing you do is very complicated. But anyway, your words have been helping a little, so thank you. I made a blog of my own to try to write about the same topic and some other stuff that were the cause of my depression, I just hope I can do it as well as you’re doing. Keep up with the good work.”
Grooving Time here gives prominence to a contrasting type of loneliness and isolation from the variety analysed in a previous blog. This feeling of seclusion and detachment is one which exists despite the presence of another person within the household. I can’t comprehend how challenging it is dealing not only with your own struggles, but that of a loved one. When you are desperately struggling and feeling in turmoil, you are sapped of all energy, and so the emotional strength to care for another person is unquantifiable in its difficulty. She is doing a fantastic and inspiring job, and was very brave telling her story.
Both of these examples again demonstrate how complex and intricate mental health is. There is no black and white answers, only a grey void of misunderstandings and misconceptions, and the only way in which this can change is to educate people as fully as possible about this complicated issue, and by the likes of Joanne and Grooving Time sharing their stories, a big step can be taken. Both of these narratives highlight to me how many people there are out there suffering, or having suffered in the past, with depression and anxiety. If this blog can help advocate gaining a better understanding of the illness, and also provide a sounding board in which sufferers can support and advise one other, then it will make the difficulty of opening up utterly worthwhile.