“You wouldn’t feel ashamed for falling and skinning up your knees. How is this any different?”

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I am thrilled to post another fantastic commentary about mental illness by my friend and fellow sufferer, Bridgette Saunders:

It goes against human nature to desire nonexistence. When we emerged, screaming and pissed at some maker for granting us life, there was an inherent need for continuity of that life. And yet with my depression there was now an affliction that tested this line of need for survival.

In a world that knows everything via a search bar, depression still manages to evade understanding. Where I’m from, mental health is as materialized as Big Foot and depression is a fleeting state of “woe is me”. The reality is I could hide depression with the changing of clothes and the leaving of my house. I could smile and be kind to others and this was an effective camouflage. But it was there, within the simple chores and tasks of daily being; snaking around doing the dishes or showering or leaving the house. It was inside the walls of thought of “offing” myself and how — alive, in that moment, thinking those thoughts — it felt to not exist.

Alan Watts said death is nothing and nothing is not an experience we can appreciate because you cannot fathom nothing. But depression is a kind of living death. You are numb. Nothing is instantly a quantifiable entity because you become the drain in a full bathtub. Depression is not always crying or appearing very obviously melancholy. It is not necessarily complaining about everyone and everything. It is not really negativity and bitterness. Depression is not wanting to move from your bed because this is the most lifeless you can be while simultaneously being alive, and moving or doing or speaking wakes this beast called Depression.

However, what is incredible about the human experience is our perception is solely this moment and the one we experienced before it. We cannot see around those corners or up ahead. Going through my depression felt eternal and yet it has come and gone. It is impermanent and unworthy of even a second consuming your time, let alone snuffing out your entire life and potentialities.

Don’t feel ashamed if you feel you are going through depression. As my husband has told me in the past: “You wouldn’t feel ashamed for falling and skinning up your knees. How is this any different?” Seek counseling or other forms of professional help, and don’t make the assumption it will spontaneously go away. Reaching out for help is the courageous first step to regaining your life.

Online Group Support:

https://turn2me.org/group-supports

International Suicide Hotlines:

Argentina: +5402234930430

Australia: 131114

Austria: 017133374

Belgium: 106

Bosnia & Herzegovina: 080 05 03 05

Botswana: 3911270

Brazil: 212339191

Canada: 5147234000 (Montreal); 18662773553 (outside Montreal)

Croatia: 014833888

Denmark: +4570201201

Egypt: 7621602

Estonia: 3726558088; in Russian 3726555688

Finland: 010 195 202

France: 0145394000

Germany: 08001810771

Holland: 09000767

Hong Kong: +852 2382 0000

Hungary: 116123

India: 8888817666

Ireland: +4408457909090

Italy: 800860022

Japan: +810352869090

Mexico: 5255102550

New Zealand: 045861048

Norway: +4781533300

Philippines: 028969191

Poland: 5270000

Portugal: 21 854 07 40/8 . 96 898 21 50

Russia: 0078202577577

Spain: 914590050

South Africa: 0514445691

Sweden: 46317112400

Switzerland: 143

United Kingdom: 08457909090

USA: 18002738255

Veterans’ Crisis Line: 1 800 273 8255

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