Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 19 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Speaking up

I stood in front of a church sanctuary full of people Sunday morning and opened my folder. In it I had a journal entry I had written 8 years ago followed by 4 pages summarizing my journey with depression. I took a deep breath, and I began. Nine minutes later I returned silently to my seat, and the service continued.

I participated in a service dedicated to educating our congregation about mental illness. Everything in the service was tied to mental illness in one way or another, even the music. Until Sunday I had no idea the composer Robert Schuman struggled with bipolar disorder his entire life and actually died in an insane asylum. Besides me, there were four others who shared their journeys. It was a powerful, somber service.

I'm so glad I shared. I procrastinated preparing for it until the day before. But once I got going, the words flowed. The journal piece I started my presentation with is quite descriptive of the despair which is depression. It seems to make people sit up and take notice. From there, my story is powerful enough, I guess, because the feedback I got after the service was amazing. It was a great experience.

All of the stories were powerful. All were unique but shared common themes of loneliness, despair, stigma, and pain. We all received support and positive feedback afterwards. I was stunned and humbled by the amount of passionate feedback I received. This was one of the most positive speaking experiences I've ever had. I hope some of you find similar opportunities to have your voices heard. I recommend it.


Kinza said...

I admire you for finding the courage. Could you share here what you read in the church?

Kindred Spirit said...

Someday I wish to share also.
I want to do good with the pain.
It is awesome that you did this :)

etta said...

Thanks for your comment, Kinza. I thought about writing out my journal entry in this post, but after my experience last year with plagiarism, I'm a bit hesitant to put something so personal out there. I'd hate to have it stolen. But I'm still considering it.

Depression Treatment Center said...

What a lovely thing--to dedicate an entire service to awareness about mental health. Such awareness goes such a long way toward easing the stigma that still exists. and it takes courage to stand before people and share such personal information. Thank you for the wonderful blog entries!

Anonymous said...

I love so much about this post. I am so glad you are in a church that would even CONSIDER doing something such as this. Beautiful.

Not certain if you are familiar - but there is a Christian comedian ~ Chonda Pierce (SP?) who came out publicly about her depression several years back - she has a powerful testimony and God has used her in a mighty way. In one of her shows she does a serious piece called "Why can't church be more like group (therapy)?"

You are doing SO VERY WELL! So proud of you Etta ~ SO PROUD! Maggie Beth