It’s not about living anymore, it’s about surviving. I’m dying on the inside, and it has to stop. My grandmother always used to say “tell the truth and shame the devil.” So I guess it’s time to shame that arcane, evil bastard.

I wish, just for once, I would allow this inferno of a pressure cooker inside me to just explode, gushing out a scalding geyser of everything that’s making life pretty helpless, painful and empty, in a glorious maniacal onslaught. I wish I could tell you what a shitty existence I feel I’ve fallen into, through no fault of my own, and how deeply and unavoidably unhappy I currently am. I wish I didn’t have to hide this disease, often for the preservation of others, often to appear normal and healthy on the outside. I wish I wasn’t so good at applying and wearing undetectable makeup with the only purpose of giving me the appearance of health and glowing vitality. I wish I saw a bright future ahead of me, with exciting adventures to seize with unquestioning, open arms. I wish I didn’t often see potential love – and even the world – casually pass me by. I wish I didn’t crave the love of ‘one’ so intensely. I wish I wasn’t alone. I wish I didn’t daydream about a life with my very own beautiful children, only to shed many a tear over the children I will never have; that’s one of the things that hurts me the most deeply of all.

I wish I could grab a bag and run out of the house at five minutes notice because a friend surprised me with a weekend away or just for a perfectly spontaneous dinner date. I wish I didn’t promise to join friends when I’m invited to do something incredible & life-changing, or just invited do something wonderfully everyday, like going to the shops and laughing at silly things. Or being asked to travel the globe and feel the sand between my toes… because at that very point they asked me to join them, I knew I had already broken my promise before I even said yes; because as naïve as I am, I always believed there was hope, and I might be strong enough/well enough to make it, maybe next week or in a month or two. In reality, that’s rarely the case. Hope now seems more akin to a malevolent entity, or a cruel mistress. Now, joyful excitement feels too much like fear.

There’s more, so much more I could say. However, I can’t; doing so, in my naked and raw truth, and to completely lay oneself bare, is an impossibly. In doing so, I would alienate the few friends I have left, because nobody wants to hear that, and really, no one should. So I censor my self-pitying self and psyche, so not to rock the boat, to keep things nice and neat and sterile and reliable, as its always been. Heaven forbid I might appear a weirdo, a freak, a depressing force that will only drag you down. I can’t post certain ‘arty’ photos I take, because some find them uncomfortable and read too much into them… and then ask me if I feel suicidal, which I do not. If art provokes an emotional response, even if that response makes one uncomfortable, doesn’t that mean the art is doing its job? Anyway, isn’t that a little irrelevant? Think about it.

There’s very little left of me these days – even I miss the old me. I’m dying on the inside, and I’m so desperate to live again. Despite my all the shattered pieces and shards of razor sharp glass strewn at my feet, I still have so much love to give, and to give freely, unconditionally. This existence has to stop. My worry is that there might only be a handful of straws left, and my back might already be too weak…

Fancy sending me some of your handcrafted @afterlight fusion filters? Pleeease? I really would love & adore you forever! 🙂 email is rycariad@gmail.com
Thank you 🙂
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On Depression & Getting Help by Rob Delaney

The passing of Andrew Koenig prompted me to write this, but it’s something that will apply to plenty of people.

I have dealt with suicidal, unipolar depression and I take medication daily to treat it. Over the past seven years, I’ve had two episodes that were severe and during which I thought almost exclusively of suicide. I did not eat much and lost weight during these episodes. I couldn’t sleep at all, didn’t even think about sex, and had constant diarrhea. My mind played one thought over and over, which was “Kill yourself.” It was also accompanied by a constant, thrumming pain that I felt through my whole body. I describe the physical symptoms because it helps to understand that real depression isn’t just a “mood.” These two episodes were the most difficult experiences of my life, by a wide margin, and I did not know if I would make it through them. To illustrate how horrible it was, being in jail in a wheelchair with four broken limbs after the car accident that prompted me to get sober eight years ago was much, much easier and less painful. That isn’t an exxageration and I hope it helps people understand clinical depression better. I’m saying that I would rather be in jail in a wheelchair with a body that doesn’t work than experience a severe episode of depression.To clarify the timeline, I got sober eight years ago and my first episode of depression was seven years ago. I had been in talk-therapy with a psychologist for months and was getting used to life without booze. It’s my understanding that it’s not terribly rare for someone in early sobriety to get depressed. I started to exhibit the symptoms I described above and had no idea what was happening. My psychologist urged me to see a psychiatrist, as did my family, among whom alcoholism and depression are old pals, so to speak. Everyone wanted me to go on medication, except me. I felt that it would be “weak” to do so and that I could soldier through and get a handle on it. But everything got worse and it was terrifying. Most of my thoughts were telling me to kill myself and I began fantasizing constantly about suicide. The images of my head being blown apart by a shotgun blast or me swimming out into the ocean until I got tired and drowned played over and over in my head. My whole body hurt, all the time.
Fortunately, a tiny part of me recognized my thought process as “crazy.” I knew that if anyone other than me was describing these symptoms I would lovingly handcuff them and take them to the hospital and help the shit out of them, whether they liked it or not. So I tried very hard to step out of myself and look at the situation with a modicum of objectivity and “imagine” that I was someone who deserved help.
Quite literally I thought, “I don’t think anyone else would shoot me with a shotgun, so maybe, temporarily, I’ll postpone that and try this Lexapro that everyone who knows me is recommending.” It worked. It wasn’t magical, but it addressed some chemical issues in my brain that allowed me, gradually, to feel better and actually experience my life. I ate again, slept again, got boners when I encounted attractive women, and made normal number twos when I went to the bathroom. I didn’t and don’t feel euphoric all the time or anything. I still get angry, sad, and afraid sometimes. But I also get happy, excited, and horny too. I experience the full range of human emotions, rather than just one horrible one.
Just under eighteen months ago, after a couple of years of both my marriage and my decision to pursue comedy full-time, I experimented with a lower dose of medication and had another episode. It was as bad or worse than the first one, but thankfully I had some idea of how to deal with it. This episode drove home the knowledge that, like alchoholism, depression demands respect and attention. Whether it’s a “good” thing or a “bad” thing, I cannot pretend to know, but it exists and it can kill you dead.
My psychiatrist adjusted my dose and I got feeling better over time. If you know me personally, all this information may surprise you, as I think I generally have a pretty sunny demeanor. For most of my life, I’ve been a happy, optimistic guy. But for whatever reason, I’ve had depression of a serious, life-threatening nature rear its head a couple of times.

The sole reason I’ve written this is so that someone who is depressed or knows someone who is depressed might see it. While great strides have been made in mental health over the years, certain stigmas still exist. I strongly resisted medication at first. But after having been through depression and having had the wonderful good fortune to help a couple of people who’ve been through it, I will say that as hard as it is, IT CAN BE SURVIVED. And after the stabilization process, which can be and often is fucking terrifying, a HAPPY PRODUCTIVE LIFE is possible and statistically likely. Get help. Don’t think. Get help.Reprinted with permission of the author ~ 
© Rob Delaney 2010
http://robdelaney.tumblr.com/mobile/post/414007899

Image © Ryan Price 2010 (self portrait)

Stress Awareness Day by Julie Broadfoot

Posted from: LE2 0JE, UK

It’s Stress Awareness Day. There’s only an hour or so left but I wanted to mention it because Stress is misunderstood. The term ‘stressed out’ is over-used and people need to know more about what it really means so they can help themselves, friends, family and colleagues. I’ve been there and know how hard it was to manage.

I could write pages about this (and one day I will) but here are just a few points: Stress is not the same as pressure (a dangerous misconception, especially in a work environment); Stress can be terribly debilitating – physically and emotionally; it can stop you in your tracks and make everyday tasks difficult; a lack of awareness and understanding (within you/folk around you) makes the problem so much worse. Recognising it is half the battle. That sounds like a cliché but when I picked up a leaflet from the Glasgow Steps team everything made sense. Knowing what Stress does and learning the science behind it is fascinating and liberating. Getting through it and finding your way out the other side feels amazing. And if I hadn’t had so many problems with it I wouldn’t have even considered the path I’ve chosen now. The bad stuff makes the good stuff even better. I talked about this a little on Twitter today and got great feedback – tweets from people who have experienced similar problems, who are still living with Stress, and a ‘thank you’ or two for talking about it publicly. Is mentioning a weakness a good thing? I don’t know but I’m going with my gut instinct on this. I feel it’s an important issue and I wanted to mention it in case it helps someone realise what’s going on in their life. If you want more information, there was an excellent webcast this afternoon which is now archived to watch again, there are some helpful downloads on the NSAD website, and loads of useful stuff on the Glasgow Steps website. Anyway, that’s today’s Public Health Announcement over. If anyone wants to know more or just have a chat about it then please do get in touch.

Article Courtesy of Julie Broadfoot © 2010
Used with permission.

For the original article, see:
http://www.juliebee.co.uk/2010/11/stress-awareness-day/

Follow Julie Broadfoot on Twitter:
www.twitter.com/juliebee

And visit her blog at:
www.juliebee.co.uk