In a recent blog post Shawn Bearden was brave enough to write and share his deeply personal reflection. Now it’s time for me to step up and say, “me too”.
His first two paragraphs echo almost word for word thoughts I had from ages 10 to ~40. And that feeling of finally being heard, yes; that was the changing point for me as well. Not the bottom, but the start of change.
“Sometime in my early 20s, I thought about my future self. It was a little unsettling that I couldn’t imagine myself after 40-45 years old. It wasn’t that I couldn’t see beyond another 20-ish years. Rather, I didn’t think I’d be alive.
The first time I contemplated suicide, I was probably eight years old. Memories from such an age and so long ago are likely to be inaccurate. So, I can’t say for sure how serious I was then. What I do know is that I’ve battled suicidal ideation ever since then. Ironically, I never put the two together…that I wouldn’t live past 45 because of suicide.”
Recovery from depression is, for me, a daily re-commitment to what I want. Like alcohol, drug, and other addictions, I have to–and WANT to–make a conscious choice every day for what I want and who I want to be, for myself, those around me, and in this world.
I choose gratitude.
I try very hard to always state my affirmations in positive terms. But when describing the internal struggle, it helps to also clarify what I avoid. I choose not to follow the melancholic vortex, that strong pull into a blackhole. Like the Sirens in of Greek mythology, I can feel and hear the call, the dangerous enticement.
In my experience, depression, grief and ideation are hugely misunderstood in our society. Not only have we lost connection with each other and nature, but we’re out of practice when it comes to listening. Or maybe we’ve never learned how to listen, really listen. Perhaps this is changing.
Methods I use to maintain course in the light include engaging myself in loving community, open and intimate sharing and conversation with closest friends, exercise, healthy nutrition, time in nature, and daily meditation.
To close this post I’ll bookend with Shawn’s words,
“I hope that anyone who reads this will take a moment to be grateful for something in their life and to spend some time with someone they care about today. If you find yourself relating to me and keep your own secret, tell someone…now.”
Peace, Plants … Namaste