I have experienced depression, anxiety, and occasional hypomanic symptoms to varying degrees, from practically non-existent to very severe, for much if not most of my life. My mood disorder (not otherwise specified) has inspired me to reach out to others – for support, to let other people with mood disorders know they are not alone in their experiences, and to give people who do not have a mood disorder an insider’s perspective of what it is like. I hope this blog will inspire honest, mutually-supportive, and informative discussion about illnesses that, sadly, are still stigmatized.
I am very fortunate in that I am engaged in therapy and have loved ones I can rely on. In times when I find it very hard to love myself, my love for my family and friends – and their love for me – is what keeps me alive.
Potential contributing factors for my mood disorder include:
- a family history of mental health issues passed from one generation to the next due biological, social, cultural, and economic factors
- deaths in my family (the earliest when I was about four years old)
- teasing and social isolation in school
- tension at home
- focusing on academic success at the expense of developing other important skills
- significant life transitions
- uncertainty about my career
- difficulty asserting my needs
- weakening of my social support system as old friends develop new, separate lives
- denial of my LGBTQ+ identities (and their stigma & erasure by society)
I do not mean to imply that these experiences are unique to me or that they automatically cause mood disorders or other mental illnesses in everyone who experiences them. I simply want to acknowledge that I have had them (and continue to have some of them), and that they contribute to an illness that interferes with my ability to live a satisfying and productive life.
But I am still here, and each day is a new opportunity. Each day is part of the process of recovery. A day to live. A day to potentially feel joy. And maybe even a day to make a positive difference in someone’s life.
Please join me.
I admire your honesty and openness.
You’re very, very brave. Anyone in a bad situation who has the guts to reach out to somebody else despite their own troubles… I think that’s what heroes are made of. God bless you
Your courage and honesty are refreshing, depression for me has been the difference between living in black and white or living in color.
I wish people had more of an understanding about depression. It isn’t something you can just “snap out of”. but the more we talk about it, the more awareness is raised. Thank you for speaking out 🙂
I love how your blog relates to me. Yup, depression is a sad disease. I suffered for 23 years. I am getting better now and I am excited about life … thanks for this blog. I will keep on reading.
I am reading your blog to better understand my Dearest Neice who confides in me about her depression. I understand but find it so hard to do so.Please all who suffer speak out as family and friends do want to help.
Just gave you a follow. As someone who was hospitalized in June for depression and self-harm, I appreciate those who try to spread awareness and do so in a positive way.
I myself don’t really spread awareness in the most positive way, as that’s just not something I feel capable of doing, so I know how difficult it can be to write without bringing the darkness down on everyone else.
It is my belief that the more we speak out about living with mental illness the sooner we can come to a world without stigma, a world in which we who suffer from mental disorders can walk freely side-by-side with others without the burden of trying to hide our own truths. And that seems to be in alignment with your reasons for creating this blog. I am reaching out to you today because I co-host a mental health awareness blog and would love for you to consider writing a letter to your illness. We are always looking for contributors, and no one gets turned away.
I am providing a link to our About page in the hopes you will check out our site and perhaps even share your experiences with our readers. Thank you.
Letters to the Mind