Diary of a depression fighter: To tell or not to tell

For many years I clung to my secret. My husband and my mother knew that I did nog always cope, and that was all. And only because it was impossible to keep it from them. I remember trying to explain to my husband. I will forever be thankful for his sincere efforts to understand. Years later he uttered these unforgettable words: “I believe in depression as I believe in God – I cannot see it, but I know it is there.” This shows me a man who really tries to understand. And I know there are many out there who are not even remotely interested in trying. With my dear mother I could never really talk about it. I knew she blamed herself (as parents do) and felt she probably carried it on to me. A little letter she wrote me after I landed in hospital is today one of my most precious possessions. How I wish today she could have had the opportunities for information, theraphy, support, knowledge and growth that I have now. In her days there was no choice – you just had to go on without complaining. Which she did as best she could. In the process she reared seven balanced children and a multitude of happy grandchildren. Salute, dear Mum! OK, then the crisis came and I landed in hospital. And my husband must phone my principal. And he must announce my sudden absence and its reason in the staffroom. Out in the open! Today I can smile about it – nobody really talked to me about it, because nobody knew what to say. But at least the hippo was out from under the table. It took a few years before I fully realized that was the beginning of a new road for me. A road where, among other things, it became increasingly easier to shed my masks and shields and show the world my weaknesses. A road where other people found it increasingly easier to show their weaknesses in front of me. A new road with a new freedom. I still do not talk to everybody about it. These writings I find very easy, but I will not easily just mention my depression in a social situation. And when I fall back (and yes, it still happens now and then) I still sit it out alone. Maybe that is the most difficult part, the darkest moment of depression – that utter loneliness. It pulls your focus so completely in on yourself that you find it impossible to reach out to another human being. I really think depression makes you a very selfish person. It is a selfish illness, wanting you for it itself only. I still do not want to wear the badge of being a depression sufferer. Yes, although it is socially much more acceptable, people still label you and judge you according to that label. And I want to be known as a good person, as mother and writer, not on the grounds of my problems. So for me personally keeping the secret was not a good thing. A problem shared (with the right people!) is simply a problem made lighter. But I do not believe in discussing it with just anybody. And I most definitely don’t believe in hiding behind it. As with everything in live, I believe here it is also important to find out what works for YOU. And probably the middle way is also the best one, as so often happens.

One thought on “Diary of a depression fighter: To tell or not to tell

  1. “Maybe that is the most difficult part, the darkest moment of depression – that utter loneliness.”
    I couldn’t agree more with this sentence. This is exactly what I’m going through at the moment and I can’t seem to find my way out. I too am glad for the advancements that led us to have this online converstaion, because in the midst of all the lonliness it is good to know that there is someone else lost in the mist with you.

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