A social media star recently took his own life after struggling with depression. I call him a star because he was well respected by many in the social media community. In hindsight, many who went through his final hours on Facebook say they could see a man who had already made up his mind that his life was over. But how could we as a community have prevented this?
Depression is something that we have all felt. It is a sinking feeling within our very souls, that we are lacking something we desperately need to give us joy. Sometimes it is a chemical imbalance. Most of the time it is just hormones or a consistent programming of our subconscious mind to believe that we need something to make us happy.
That still leaves us with the question: Are women really more depressed than ever?
Professor David Healey, director of psychological medicine at Cardiff University, thinks this is unlikely. Instead, he says, the leap in prescriptions for antidepressants may be seen as a triumph for drug company sales departments.
Drug companies have been trying really hard to make us believe we are more depressed than we should be, and that it is a medical condition. I went through a depression in the late 90’s, and the doctors tried using drugs to help me. The drugs made me numb to the world. They did not cure my depression. When they tried to switch the drugs on me, I almost had a nervous breakdown, and I actually had suicidal thoughts. The real cause was the way I was handling my relationship, but I did not want to blame myself for a failing relationship. Much better to just take the drugs.
Until I tried to take myself off those drugs. It took over 6 months, and my legs felt like they had electrodes pulsing electricity through them every few minutes. The sensation was terrible, and it took a long time to go away.
I wish I had had an opportunity to attend Celebrate Recovery back then. It wasn’t until I attended CR in 2008 that I actually got over my depression. I had mostly gotten away from it because I had thrown myself into my online work from 2007 onwards, and because I was too busy to think about it, I didn’t suffer from the intense lows that I used to have.
Every once in a while, I would come close, but usually getting in touch with one of my friends online would help me through it. But Celebrate Recovery helped me accept that I am not perfect, and that I can fail and still get up and brush myself off and try again. I never again thought of giving up.
Yesterday I got some bad news. I felt like I had gotten kicked in the stomach. The worst part was it came when I was away from home, I am in Canada to help my parents get packed up and then we are going to drive back home to Florida. But this bad news felt like a sucker punch.
Of course I could have seen it coming. It was all my fault, but when you pretend the problem doesn’t exist, you kind of hope it will go away. Mine didn’t go away in the way that I anticipated. The reason for the problem went away. So now I face the prospect of the drive to Florida to an empty house when I get home. I will survive, but I will definitely have to remember to forgive myself for my failures and dust myself off… because I will most certainly go on!