Titanium is one of my favorite songs to inspire strength when my depression feels overwhelming (which is often these days). I particularly love this acoustic version by Collin McLoughlin.
The past year has been the most difficult of my life. The unexpected, sudden death of my Mom and another trauma in February that left my heart shattered sent me into the darkest depression I’ve experienced. I have mentioned that I had postpartum depression & clinical depression in the past, but never really talk about it- it is A “Bubbly” Life after all 😉 But unfortunately, for the past year or so, my depression is particularly brutal and I am not recovering at a speed I would like (as in instantaneous!) and in an effort to break down stigmas and hopefully encourage others to talk, I think it is time to discuss it.
I often thought of my clinical depression as a weakness. And it certainly is a failure of my brain chemistry and a genetic weakness. However, the longer I live with my depression, I realize the strength of the people who suffer from the illness. The act of surviving under the pain, duress and the lies your depressed brain tells you is no small feat. It is a daily, hourly and at its worst- a minute by minute struggle. Living with that struggle makes you an incredibly strong, resilient person. It also can make you a difficult person to be around. My depression went untreated for a very long time and depression is a very stark contrast to my real personality. Nick & I’s marriage suffered greatly (NOT solely because of my depression, good gawd, have you met Nick? 😉 Nick has his own mental & emotional issues that are for him to share. But, we are determined to love each other and continue to work hard for the wonderful life we created and that is filled with many blessings (special shoutout to our two precious girls). We have seen each other at our absolute worsts. Lost, broken, disheveled, begging for forgiveness and grace. And thankfully, while we work on ourselves (therapy, meds) we are holding each others’ hands and our love is not lost and our hearts grow with compassion and grace as we learn more about our brokenness. (Also this is the real me writing here, but when the depression takes over, I feel hopeless. But, today I am hopeful and leaving this here will bring me hope when darkness appears.)
In my grief & depression journey I have read countless books, listened to podcasts and encountered many people. The most disappointing is meeting people stuck in a bitter stage or the people that use their pain (whether it be depression, loss, abuse, etc) as an excuse to inflict pain on others. I know I do not want to be that person. They feel their pain is so great that hurting others does not matter and a sufferer becomes a perpetrator. I was the recipient of such a person who had a tragedy and used the trauma as a rationalization to inflict terrible pain onto me. I wish that person chose love and not hate, because when you experience pain & loss, you can use it to be more compassionate, loving, caring and empathize with others. Your pain can be an asset in helping others recover, rather than use your pain to hurt people. My grief, my loss, and depression widens my heart and I would never choose these things to befall anyone, but I was handed them and hopefully I can use these to add peace and love to others lives- By sharing my struggle here, opening my heart to others and simply listening to people with compassion and love.
I choose compassion, I will not fall.
Love you guys.
If you suffer from depression and/or have suicidal thoughts, please call or use the Suicide Prevention Lifeline website for helpful resources. 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Second Firsts: Live, Laugh & Love Again– Very, very helpful & gives scientific based advice on how our neural pathways are changed due to trauma & ways to improve.
Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience & Finding Joy Practical advice & inspirational. From Sheryl Sandberg, written after the sudden death of her husband at 47.
The Way of Letting Go- One Woman’s Walk Towards Forgiveness- A memoir on grief & forgiveness. After her daughter’s murder, there is no “closure” and she chose forgiveness. The book brings up what I wrote above- how tragedy can make people stuck and bitter or how you can grow from it positively.
When Breath Becomes Air- an inspiring memoir from Paul Kalanithi who died of cancer at 37. Helps to remember that life and every moment is a cherished gift. (Warning: You WILL CRY.)