“Even when the dark comes crashing through. When you need someone to carry you. When you’re broken on the ground. You will be found.” – from “Dear Evan Hansen”
Battling treatment resistant depression for 25 years you’d think I’d be a well seasoned advocate for mental health issues. I don’t think I was one or even am one right now but others tell me different.
I came out about my depression a handful of years after the Prozac phenomena was introduced to the world. I told my mother and eventually my friends, was placed in therapy and on meds. I regained myself – well, better than myself. My doctor said I was “back on track” after a good 3 months and took me off my med. Then, the world went dark and have never achieved such remission ever since.
So, I advocated for myself – even before I knew what advocacy was. I found the doctors, the therapists, researched the meds and methods. Informed my friends and family and tried my best to educate them. I fought off jokes about being “a walking pharmacy,” and others. I stood up for myself even when I barely had the energy to get out of bed. I did try and I still do.
Eventually I got involved with support groups and when those ended I found social media. Facebook. I put it out there that I felt like crap. I put it out there that I was suffering. I put it out there I was isolating, in pain, hurting, lonely. I found somewhere where even through my pain I could teach people – new friends, old friends – what it was like to live with chronic depression. And I was found. I was found by old classmates, new friends, old friends who confided in me about their struggles – their pain.
But the depression tried to ward off any triumphs of advocacy because of course that’s partly what depression does to you: it lies. I currently live in a small town. Not much opportunity to advocate. But I found on social media I could reach people everywhere – and I have and continue to do so. Sure, some left, unfollowed, unfriended – just like before social media. But many more stayed and listened and extended hand here and there. I’m still working on my advocacy and I don’t intend to give up because I need to learn more too – not just about myself but about those who found me so that I can extend a hand when the time comes and pay it forward. Advocate for yourself and for others and you will be found. ADVOCATE FOR YOURSELF AND FOR OTHERS!