The first time I told someone I was struggling really, really badly...was in 2001. A friend of mine...He encouraged me to tell my folks. I had just moved back in with my parents after having been in NYC. I was out of my mind and didn't know how to tell them that i needed help and that I was going crazy. He shared with me that he and some of his family members have had depressive episodes and that you get help and you climb out of it. My friend had a sister who had an experience with depression, so I reached out to her. I was thinking, we are both girls and that I might relate to her a bit more since we were both girls...? and was hoping she would talk to me about her experience. She wrote me a letter describing what she had gone through, all that she felt, all that she overcome. It was beautiful and in fact I still have it today.
This letter saved me.
This letter saved me because, I could relate to EVERYTHING that she wrote. Some one else that I knew, knows my pain. Most importantly, this letter saved me becuase I showed it to my parents. You know how sometimes you want to say something but the words can't come out...they just can't, you can't speak. Have you felt that? Well, I just could not open up to my family, I could not speak to them about what was happening and I am not even sure why. But after I received my friend's note, I showed it to my folks. The only words I actually had to get out of my mouth were, "Read this. This is me, this is happening to me."
This started the dialogue between me, and the people who could help me. They helped me get help for myself. They were starting to understand, but most importantly... there for support. All things I needed, all things you can not do alone when you are in such a state.
In 2014, at the tail end of Depressive Episode #2, I asked the yoga studio where I teach if I could give a workshop on Yoga and Depression. They said YES, and I think it was a turning point for me. As I spoke to over 60 people, I think I touched a nerve, because many had tears in their eyes as they were listening. Many wanted to chat after about their experience. I knew after this happened, that I needed to keep talking...I needed to keep sharing...I needed to keep my eyes open for others who are struggling.
The people I am most inspired by, are the people who just let it all out. Let themselves be vulnerable, let themselves be them selves. The good, the bad and their dark selves. This is what I decided on how I was going to be moving forward.
If you are stuck in the dark place, and haven't told anyone yet...you can do it -tell the people most close to you. You will climb halfway to the surface by just getting it off your chest. You will breath easier by just saying it out loud. I KNOW how hard it is, but I also KNOW it can get better by telling people who you love the most. It is the quiet that hurts us, and possibly kills us. If you can not speak the words, write the words down...and let someone in.