WARNING: A personal post.
Just over a month ago I came up with a wild idea to do something to raise the awareness of depression and anxiety for Beyond Blue’s ADA month. How easy and simple things sound typing in the isolation of ones own computer!
But before I look forward at what has taken place, let’s look back to my story.
I have suffered on and off from depression for probably the best part of 10 years, however as I learn more about the “black dog” I feel I have had him around me for the better part of half my life.
The black dog took over my life several times in the last 8 years, but at two very clear times. First when I felt trapped in a job I did not enjoy but felt I was unable to leave due to financial committments to my family. Secondly after my marriage breakdown. Sometimes he was there for a day or two but other times for what seemed like weeks on end! Everything was black, and too much.
I am lucky as unlike so many others who have attempted suicide my issues never got to that point, although I will admit that the thought did cross my mind a few times. Unfortunately I have known too many people who have crossed the line.
As I said I was lucky.
But still depression made me not want to get out of bed, reduced my effectiveness in the workplace, become irritated with the ones you love, disconnect from society, I would lose interest in the things that gave me enjoyment. Basically you become a shell of a human being. Not something to wish on anyone.
One of the big issues was pointed out by Cameron Reilly on Twitter a couple of days ago:
the problem is that when you’re in a deep depression your brain ain’t working right, so you CAN’T ask for help
I feel another issue stopping people from asking for help is the perceived stigma attached to depression and anxeity that people are affraid to talk about it openly for fear of the consequences. To this I say BULL SHIT! The best thing you can do is talk about it, even better seek professional help.
Eventually I decided to seek help, and over the last 9 months have been making significant progress in taking control of the “black dog”.
Now forward to Blue Day 2008!
I registered a domain name http://blueday2008.org and over the last few weeks started a fairly low level advertising of the activity. Not really sure what to expect. I mean I felt a few of my close friends would get involved.
Right now when I look across my social network I see a sea of blue.
There are blog posts being written all over the globe, avatars are changing, people are coming together to acknowledge the issues, and the most amazingly people are openly discussing the issues on Twitter. I have received Twitter replies, direct messages, emails and blog links from all over the place showing support.
The Twitter aspect is to me the most interesting as most of these people have public Twitter profiles which mean everything said will be collected by the Googlebot and be available for others to read.
One last comment. If you are suffering, even if you don’t think you have depression but are just down, reach out and talk to someone. If you are in Australia and in need of urgent help contact Beyond Blue, in other countries reach out and contact your local support groups before it is too late.