Since I’ve started blogging about my depression and anxiety, two things have happened. First, I’ve started to feel more empowered, because secrets that I’ve kept inside for so long are finally being told. Second, I’ve gotten to know and read other bloggers (like many of you) who, with their own candor, never fail to make me feel a little less alone in this world.
Today, I saw Therese Borchard’s blog for the first time. Every word she wrote struck a chord with me. Slowly, my own friends and family are starting reading my blog. Every one of them have told me that it’s quite difficult for them, just like Therese’s friend here. My reaction is the same as Therese’s. I thank my friends and family for their honesty. But I’m unapologetic about the difficult parts.
Therese is bipolar. She writes a lot about her suicidal ideations. She calls them “death thoughts.” No doubt, this is what her friend considered the most uncomfortable to hear about. But, as someone with depression myself, I know that Therese is only sharing something that is absolutely COMMON among people with a mental illness: we often think about suicide.
It’s understandable that this is difficult to take in for people who don’t have a mental illness. But this is one of the “shameful little secrets” that many of us have been forced to keep to ourselves for so long. It’s good that more of us are opening up about this. It gets much-needed dialogue going. And more important, it lets people who have suicidal thoughts know that they are not alone.
This may be hard to believe, but when people with depression (or any mental illness) realize their suicidal ideations, that’s actually a GOOD thing. Like Therese, I’m forced into action when I have these thoughts. They make me realize what I have to do (like calling my therapist, or calling my friends) to keep these thoughts from turning into plans. It’s the PLANS that are dangerous. And so many times, the plans are made because we’ve kept the thoughts to ourselves. (If you, or anyone who know, has suicidal PLANS, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, 1-800-273-8255, or go to any hospital emergency room, immediately.)
So, I am very grateful for people like Therese (and many of you), who don’t shy away from the uncomfortable parts of our illness. The more we “come out,” the more we can be there for one another. If they can understand the difficult parts, that goes for our friends and family, too.
I’ve attached one of Therese’s videos below, but you can read her blog post by clicking here.