I got my first really ugly comment yesterday.
I’ve done well, so far, to brush things off when the not-so-nice comments come through my comment filter. I’m not one to get bent out of shape over things like other people’s comments or opinion. And in truth, the comment that was directed at me really didn’t bother me because it was about me. It bothered me because of who may read it.
Someone commented on my very raw and honest post about my battle with depression. A post that, after mentioning to my husband that I wanted to share, brought much encouragement from him. He told me I should for sure share it. I think he even said, “Why wouldn’t you share it?” That time of my life has made me who I am in so, so many ways. It has molded me, shaped me, tried me, nearly broken me, and in a full circle and round about way led me right back to where I was supposed to be…at the foot of the cross with arms open wide crying out to God: I can’t do this without you.
Life is hard, y’all.
It’s no cake walk.
There’s all kinds of drama that comes flying at us from every single direction: family, friends, television, radio, social media (oh you’ve heard of social media? Apparently it’s here to stay…). It’s no wonder that so many people struggle with anxiety and stress. Everywhere you turn there’s something else either vying for your attention or pumping negativity into your life.
I mean, come on. Have you watched the news lately? I quite honestly watch just enough to know that we aren’t getting blow up and to check the weather (though nine times out of 10 I check the weather from the app on my phone). There’s a reason that we live in a society where everyone seems to be on something or struggling secretly with something.
I chose to share my story because I don’t want to give off a persona that I have it all together.
My life is a mess. I am a mess.
I wake up every day with a to-do list as long as my arm and if I’m lucky (big, big “if” here) I might cross two or three things off of that list. I have notebooks full of these grand ideas and plans and dreams and book ideas and outlines and charities I would like to start. I have dreams that could fill the walls of entire buildings.
And I have life.
And two children who need my attention and love and support.
And a husband with dreams and choices and ambitions of his own.
And friends who are struggling with unimaginable grief and things I can’t fathom.
And sometimes, less often now that in the past, I get depressed and anxious about all of those things that I am not crossing off my “must do list” because when the must do’s aren’t getting scratched off, the I dream of doing list gets left untouched.
I shared my struggles with all of you to say that you are not alone.
And by sharing that, I was told that I needed a mental health evaluation.
When I read that my first thought was, “How rude!” (Did you totally do that in a Stephanie Tanner voice?! No? Just me, then?) Then I had to take a step back. I had to wonder if this woman had ever known anyone with mental health issues. If she had ever known anyone personally who had struggled day in and day out with whether or not they even had the energy to get out of bed. If she had ever known anyone who wondered if there was a point to this life at all and whether anyone would miss them if they weren’t here.
It’s comments like that…
People like that who don’t understand how painful and isolating fighting depression can be…
That send people over the edge.
I promptly deleted that comment. Not because it bothered me. Nor because I deny that I need help from a mental health expert (I go to counseling every other week and quite enjoy it). But because to someone who may be battling depression or suicidal thoughts…that comment might be the shove over the edge that they have been dreading.
Folks, please be careful with what you say and how you say it. There are entire movements working to remove the “r” word from people’s vocabulary because of how hurtful it can be to those with special needs. Let’s be careful of our words. I’ve reached a point of my life where I don’t care if you call me crazy or not. Jimmy Buffett even said that “if we weren’t all crazy we would go insane.”
But not everyone has.
Not everyone wants to be told they are crazy. Or that they need mental help.
Depression is a silent battle. One that most people are fighting in secret because of that exact persona that it brings. Depression doesn’t look like a Cymbalta commercial. It doesn’t always walk around with a dark cloud hovering overhead. I suffered for years and years before anyone knew it.
No one caught it until I openly admitted it. And by that point, I’d been through the worst of it.