Saturday, December 20, 2014

Birthday, The Blues & Christmas

So, I’ve reached that bluesy place that falls somewhere between my birthday and Christmas. Not a stranger to me…it seems to make its appearance every year. If you follow my blog you understand that I struggle with chronic depression which always seems to ebb and flow. Toss in a bit of panic-anxiety disorder and it’s a bit to handle. I know it’s not a topic many people care to read about…God forbid, they might connect with something that I say...but I think it’s important to get it out hopes of helping even one person who might want to read on.
There is nothing shameful in admitting or acknowledging that I have mental health/illness of any kind. Would you be ashamed if you had diabetes or heart disease? Well, mental illness is just another physical condition – and certainly nothing to hide or ignore.

Trust me; I wasn’t always this open about my depression. In fact, I didn’t really acknowledge it myself until I was in my early thirties when life seemed to spiral downward and I felt totally out of control and defeated. The good news is that I asked for help. Six years later I had reached the end of a very successful analysis with a psychiatrist who was also a psychoanalyst. (Well, at least I think it was successful -- but those around me might just have a different take on it!) I know…every day for six years is quite a commitment on both of our parts. Certainly not the easiest thing I’ve done in life…in fact, it might have been one of the most difficult things I’ve undertaken to date. But I know all that work brought me to a good place – a place where I am able to accept much of what makes me tick. More importantly, I have the skills to continue to work on the things about me that are taking more time to understand.

I guess what I want to say is that no matter how old we are we are never really done “becoming.” For me, that means dealing with depression and the panic-anxiety disorder that seems to flow more freely this time of year. These feelings are not good…nor are they bad…they just are. I also know when I am equipped to work through them on my own; but most importantly, I know when it's time to ask for help. There is no weakness in that. It’s almost 2015 – haven’t we spent enough time hiding these issues? Honestly, there is no reason to remain in silence or shame.