There aren’t many people who suffer from a chronic illness who haven’t also struggled with some form of depression. Whether it be biochemical, physiological, or situational – Depression is very real and debilitating. When we have a broken spirit and broken will it can leave us in the darkness…. But there is hope! There is a way to let in the light!
I chose “Who turned out the lights?” as the topic for round 2 of our blog carnival for a few reasons. September marks Suicide Prevention Month – and we have the ability to share our experiences, shed light onto this ‘invisible’ illness, and be a vessel of hope for many. I also chose depression as a topic because when you are depressed it is the loneliest place to be…. but we aren’t alone! There is strength in numbers!
We are fortunate enough to be part on an online support network who can both relate to and empathize with our challenges. We don’t have to look too far before seeing someone who is willing to reach out with open arms when we need a friend the most. I hope today’s blog carnival serves as a reminder to all of you that there people who understand, friend who are walking this journey with you, and there IS a way to let in the light……
Wendy at Transform Your Chronic Life is one of the strongest women that I have ever had the honor of calling my friend. She has struggled her whole life with Bipolar Disorder and the severe and blinding depression that goes with it. When I say she has fought hard to get where she is, it might just be the biggest understatement I can make. Not only does she openly share her struggles, she uses them to help others. If there is someone who understands what depression can do to the human spirit, it is Wendy. She has an enormous amount of courage, and I am so proud of her. You can find follow-up post she wrote here. Wendy is a survivor, plain and simple.
Laurie at Hibernation Now feels lucky… and after you read her post you will understand why. As her brave friend loses her battle with cancer, Laurie is reminded of how lucky she truly is to have a chronic, but NOT terminal illness. Not only are we KEEPING Laurie in our group, we are happy to have her!! Her voice is a reminder to me that so many times if I only stop to reflect, I will find that I am ‘lucky’ too. Thanks sweetie for helping me to count my blessings today!!
Jamie, our Chronic Migraine Warrior is ‘new’ to our Graceful Agony group, so I want to start off my WELCOMING her!! We are so glad you are here!! Jamie is a beautiful poet, and her words are sure to resonate with a lot of you. In her post ‘When Depression Hits’ is an honest and raw look into the connection between chronic pain and depression. She also reminds us about the importance of ‘reaching out’…. We are all here for you Jamie!! There is NO shame is knowing when you need help – it only validates how strong you truly are!
Selena over at Oh My Aches and Pains! has contributed this post, ‘It Sucks… And I Deal with it!’. Can I just say how much I LOVE Selena, and how much I LOVE her philosophy!! Selena was diagnosed at the tender age of 22 with Cancer, and she has been battling something or another in her life ever since… Her situation might be complicated, but her philosophy really isn’t… Life often SUCKS… and EMBRACE the SUCK… I LOVE IT! Selena reminds us to feel all those stinking feeling… embrace those feelings… because the only way to rid yourself of the sadness is to feel it until the feeling loses its power.
My friend Kathy wrote a post entitled ‘Smiling through the Rain’, and included a beautiful poem with the same name. She not only can relate to having those ‘down days’ (I think we all can attest to that, whether we have been diagnosed formally with depression or not), she also reminds us of the importance of surrounding yourself with support from people who are dealing with chronic illness and pain as well. It is ‘learning to live with the pain’ and ‘smiling through the rain’ that is collectively our battle cry… I am honored to be in a group of strong women that are doing that every day.
Maryn wrote ‘Whisper Me Softly’ on her blog “A Really Bad Back”, and has beautifully exposed her journey through Depression. Not only does it take courage to do so, but an open heart- and I am proud of her. She writes the words that I have felt so often, but haven’t been eloquent enough to express. Depression can be so seductive in the way it pulls you in, and then evil in the way it leaves you to pick up the pieces. I believe that our spirit is much louder than those whispers will ever be if we only take the time to stop and listen.
Peg’s blog ‘Infinite Daze’ is new to me, and it is definitely worth reading! Her post entitled ‘Long and Winding Road’ leads you through her journey with depression. What bravery she has!! She has gotten to a point in her life that she no longer fears the darkness, but she views it as an opportunity of self-exploration and learning… an adventure if you will! Although she stays cognizant of the warning signs that depression is sinking in, she is living her life. She might have her therapists number on speed dial, but I have a feeling this girl has an arsenal of tool under belt to be able to deal with what comes her way.
Phylor shares her experience living with clinical depression in ‘The Sadness Beneath’. Wow, is all I can say… As someone who has watched clinical depression in my own family, I can completely relate to these hauntingly beautiful words. She has described depression in a way I don’t think I ever could. As she quotes the Indigo Girls, “Always on the outside, looking in on other’s lives” I felt tears well up, and that familiar lump in my throat. Again, I am in awe of the courage that has been displayed in sharing these words. Phylor has written the words that have lived in many hearts.
I am including both my post and Rosemary’s post in the same blurb. Rosemary is such a talented writer, and her words always resonate with me. She wrote a post at the beginning of this month entitled ‘Back Down the Rabbit’s Hole’. The strange thing is before I read her post, I had already written my post for round 2, Empty. We use the same terminology to express our sadness… ‘the rabbit’s hole”. Rosemary has since written a few posts that could perfectly fit in to this category, one of them The Invisible Woman was published on the Invisible Illness Awareness Week website – but I really wanted to share the first one with you.
Tammy’s blog post concludes this round of the blog carnival perfectly. Not only does she share her own battles with depression, she also details signs and symptoms of this illness, and she also voices the truth – Nobody should be ashamed to seek out help when they are depressed. Tammy’s heart is much bigger than her pain, as is her spirit. It isn’t that she has NEVER been depressed, but she refuses to let it take it over!
This round was VERY powerful for me, and I hope it is for you as well. I cannot begin to tell you how much all of your words mean to me. You are a VERY courageous group of women, and I am in awe of all of you! Thank you for sharing so much of yourselves in such a selfless manner. I know your words are going to help SO many people!!
So that concludes ROUND TWO!!! Participants, now that you have taken the time to read through everyone’s posts, please take the time to go back to your blog, write about your experience taking part in this round, and link back to this post so that YOUR readers may follow along as well! And look for a post VERY soon with the link to our VERY OWN Graceful Agony Blog Carnival Badge and directions on how you may add it to your own site!! MANY thanks to Krismom for designing it for us!!
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