I thought long and hard about the name for this blog. I wanted it to reflect where I'm at, as well as the nature of depression. I wanted it to be catchy. This blog is deeply personal for me, but I'm hopeful that it will also strike a chord with folk who may stumble across it. So it went through a few permutations.
I started simple - Living with Depression. Because that's what my family and I do, we live with depression. But not all the time. It raises it's head, it's dealt with, we move on. So that didn't feel right, it felt kind of hopeless.
Then it became Elephants on Rollercoasters. The elephant being the great unspoken in the middle of the room, the rollercoaster being my emotional and mental state. But the whole point of this blog is to do away with the need for an elephant in the room, I want to bring it out into the open.
Next. What Stigma? There is such huge stigma, even now, around depression as an illness. People are embarrassed to admit to it, afraid to talk about it, they feel flawed. Why?? Would we be so keen to hide diabetes? Asthma? Like these, depression is something that needs to be managed. People with depression are not crazy. We're not dangerous. We have an illness, that's all. Again, in whatever way I can, I want to work to break down that stigma. I struggled in silence for years. If I can reach even one person with this blog, give them the courage to ask for help, for support, then it's worked.
So, my final choice. Sunny spells and scattered showers. Why? Because I honestly can't think of a better way to describe depression. Living in Connemara, I'm used to changeable weather. We can go from wet and windy to calm and sunny and back again in the space of hours. We have weeks on end where the sky seems to be endlessly grey, where it's always damp and miserable out. But then the sun comes out, and when it does, I can honestly say there is nowhere I'd rather be. I'm lucky enough to live in a truly stunning environment, with bogs, lakes and mountains all within minutes of my home. It seems an appropriate analogy for depression. The weather here can change in an instant, and depression can strike without notice. Or it can build gradually, like a cloud bank that threatens from a distance before finally descending. It can be a passing low that will lift after a few days, or it can become a long, dark winter that lingers for months. But when it finally lifts, and like the winter, it always does, the beauty of everyday life is so striking. I can take joy in the little things. Seeing all the things about my husband that made me want to marry him. Laughing with my kids, realising that they truly are wonderful little people, if a tad wilful on occasion! Watching my dogs run across a field. Tea and cake with a friend. Being at ease in my own company. No more than the weather, I know that it can't always be like this. There will be dark days, I will struggle, I will forget about all of these wonderful things. But unlike the weather, I hope that as I grow to accept and understand depression, the sunny spells will last for longer, the clouds won't be as heavy. I hope that I will find it easier to hold on to the little things, and to the knowledge that nothing, good or bad, stays as it is forever.
Labels: mental health, mental illness, stigma