breaking the silence

I write this because if you had told me 15 years ago, that despite my relentlessly debilitating depression and (on an infinitely lesser scale) the many peculiarties of my OCD, I would one day have a healthy marriage, two beautiful children, and a successful career, I would have thought you were mocking me. When I was a teenager and at rock-bottom, I could not see any direction my future could possibly take that would lead me out of my darkness. That would lead to here.

Darkness. Mental illness. Depression. Suicide.

It all sounds so dramatic. Over-exaggerated. Cliche. Straight out of a really shitty Lifetime movie. An enormous taboo to put out there into the world, so vulnerably and in a forum that is open to anyone to read and criticize and judge. And that is the reason that I feel so strongly that I need to share it.

Because battling depression in our society is so unjustly associated with failure, with weakness, and with shame.

Because as I write this post, I am feeling such discomfort about anyone actually reading this, even so very many years later, that my hands are shaking, making it difficult to type.

Because of mid-nineties me, hanging by a thread and drowning in the tidal-wave of a devastating chemical imbalance.

Mid-nineties me who needed any proof at all that it could possibly get better. That surviving was worth it.

During those years, I felt so undeserving of love. Too broken to ever punish a hypothetical child, years down the road, by becoming her parent. I want the young, the isolated, the empty, and the hopeless to know that it does get better. That it will. I promise it will. I wish I were creative and original enough to not rip-off the message of critical importance that is the lifeline happy and whole gay grown-ups extend to isolated and heartbroken gay youths, but I am not… and adolescents who suffer from mental illness and depression, as I did (and despite the very many blessings in my adult life, occasionally still do), need so urgently to hear this too.

I wish that in 1996, and again in 2002, when I bottomed-out… that I could have had access to stories similar to mine. Stories from utterly and hopelessly flawed – hopelessly flawed, but no longer hopeless – adults who endured the demons of self-hatred and suicide, and later started families, progressed professionally, and most importantly and seemingly impossibly, found joy.

“There is a brokenness out of which comes the unbroken,

A shatteredness out of which blooms the unshatterable.

There is a sorrow beyond all grief which leads to joy and a fragility out of whose depths emerges strength.

There is a hollow space too vast for words through which we pass with each loss, out of whose darkness we are sanctioned into being.

There is a cry deeper than all sound whose serrated edges cut the heart as we break open to the place inside which is unbreakable and whole, while learning to sing.”

~Rashani

It gets better. It is worth it. Life is worth it. You are worth it.

Would that I could reach through this computer screen and grab you by the shoulders and tell you this over and over and over again until you believed it. The way that I wish someone could have done for mid-nineties me.

You are worth it.

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31 thoughts on “breaking the silence

  1. You are amazing and could not have written this any better. How inspirational and wonderful of you to share this. Keep on writing!!!z

  2. Hey Lady….I completely get it. For many, we walk around wearing a mask trying to fake it till we make it and all the while we are dying on the inside. No one knows what we may be going through. I appreciate your courage, sincerity, and encouragement in this post. You really never know who it may help.

    • My dear Sebrina. You have my number and you know exactly where I live. Any hour of the day or night, if you ever need someone to sit with you until the dark recedes and you feel like yourself again, you know I am here.

  3. Love this Kimmie! As a fellow person who has suffered long term clinical depression I feel your pain. You should not be scared or ashamed of the way your disease made you feel or think. I find it so sad that there are people out there who think that depression is just a state of mind, that you can “will yourself happy”. These are the ones that try to put us in a closet and make it very hard for young people to admit that they need help! I was 18 when I started Zoloft and it saved my life. Still to this day, I need it to function normally. Hugs your way.

  4. Dear Kimmie,

    I love you!!! What a kick-ass, magnificent site. When I read your blogs I want to shout YES! This one and the one below on what we’re teaching our girls were perfect. Do you know The Reedster who writes out of Asheville? You are two peas in a pod. She and I met like this, online, but have attended some events since. Her blog is here: http://www.reedsterspeaks.com

    If you’re on FB, find me here, too: http://www.facebook.com/middleschoolrelief

    Thanks for reading my blog and commenting on my middle school experience. Hoping to make it a little nicer for those who follow.

    Seriously, I love your stuff. I sound slightly rabid and weird. Sorry. Just enthusiastic and inarticulate at the moment.

    • I am laughing out loud so very much at ReedsterSpeaks – so glad you pointed me in her direction! Thank you so much for just everything in that lovely comment above. It’s all warm and fuzzy over here

  5. What a wonderful testament to your strength and character now! It takes alot to share personal horror stories and you’re going to reach people. Keep at it!

  6. Writing things like this – things that will be found in desperate Google searches for months and years to come – is what gives me patience with the Internet when it drives me crazy with its silly dramas about who-knows-what. Well done.

    • Thank you for reading and for your feedback – One thing I do not know is how to get this post to thescreens of the individuals out there who may so badly need it, like I once did years ago. I can only hope that google will get them wherever it is that they need to be.

  7. As a mother now with a 19 year old, I can relate to this from the parent side. How absolutely terrifying it is to have your children suffering from a mental disorder. I had friends whose children have attempted suicide. TERRIFYING. So glad things are so much better. This will give people hope. You have a beautiful family.

  8. You, your husband and kids are absolutely gorgeous and I know your words will help someone, somewhere. And then another someone in another place. You were generous to share in spite of shaking hands.

  9. I can relate — very much so. I write weekly updates on my blog about how I’m doing with my mental illness. Some days are great, some not so. I just hope that it reaches anyone so they know they aren’t alone. You are very brave for posting this!

  10. Thanks for sharing this. I know it’s not easy to. I’ve fought hard since childhood, and the battle is never completely over. Sometimes the depression is stronger than me, and I stumble, but I will always win. I will always, ALWAYS win. It does get better eventually.

  11. You are brave to share this. I am happy your desire to help people over came your reluctance to put it out there. I am lucky to have never suffered from depression. What a hopeful story yours is for those that have!

  12. I relate with this so much. As someone who lives with depression, this is familiar territory indeed. Thank you for your message of hope.

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