Putting my story into the public domain has not always been easy, but I’ve felt it was necessary. There are still too many people suffering in silence. They’re afraid that they will be ostracized, rejected, ignored, or otherwise harmed if they speak the truth about their depression or anxiety. I hope my actions empower someone else to emerge from the darkness and seek help.
When I decided to take the leave of absence from my job late last year, every person in a position of authority I spoke to assured me that I wasn’t alone. At the same time, none of them could point me to someone else in my peer group who was willing to share their experience.
Underlying all of my discussions was an unspoken expectation that I would want to keep everything private. The more I thought about it, the more it didn’t sit right with me. The unconscious implication was that I was (or should be) embarrassed or ashamed. I’m neither of those things, especially when it comes to my mental health.
This time last year, I was in the midst of a major depressive episode that was spiraling out of control. In November, I hit my lowest point. My parents read this blog and so I’ll stop there with the details.
For as bad as this year has been in so many ways for so many people, it is an indescribable improvement for me over last year. I am alive. And, more importantly, I want to keep living.