So, everyone knows that I am a big proponent of medication. I can’t tell you how many friends that I’ve enouraged to seek medical help for their depression and anxiety. “It’s a chemical imbalance,” I always say. Therefore, it’s a little embarrassing and hypocritical to tell you what I did last month. But, I’m going to tell you, because DEPRESSION IS REAL. You don’t even have to have a, “reason.”
A few weeks ago, I went to my new psycholgist in Atlanta. I loved, loved, loved mine in Nashville, and I was very anxious about starting over. (Did I mention that I loved him?) She and I spent an hour and a half discussing my long history of depression, anxiety, and ADHD. Not even 15 minutes after I’d told her that I was first diagnosed with depression as a freshman in high school, I asked her, “Am I always going to have to take meds?” I haven’t been on medication for that long. Only twice for a couple of years from high school until Molly died. She looked at me and said, “Would you take medicine for diabetes or high blood pressure?” I of course said I was no fool.
“Emily, you have a chemical imbalance, your brain was radiated, you have a genetic predisposition, and you’ve had life full of traumatic events. I think it’s safe to say yes.” My first instinct was to say, “No, your brain was radiated!” Thankfully, my next instinct came before I could open my mouth, and this impulse made my deep, inner, anti-meds self relax. I don’t have to fight the conflict in my mind about it. I can worry about more important things like deciding whether or not to swap that pair of ballet flats for two pairs of sandals.
So, while my inner self struggles with footwear decisions, I’ll let my public self focus on this. It seems like every day there are stories in the news of people that have died who secretly struggled with depression and anxiety. We have created a culture that is not open about the common, daily struggles people face because of chemical imbalances. This is not okay.
A friend recently sent me this article:
The stories of Madison and Molly have so many parallels. Both bright and talented young women, who thought they were alone in their struggles. I can’t say to all young women that I know what it’s like to be a scared, pregnant teen. I can, however, say that I know what it’s like to struggle with a happy exterior and broken interior like Molly and Madison. Luckily, a month before she died I told Molly about my life with depression. We were close and open, but I realized that when my depression started she was so young we didn’t really discuss it with her. By the time she was old enough, I was so accustomed to those feelings, that I forgot to share with her. As she and I stood in her bedroom, after a huge sister fight, the day after Thanksgiving, we had tears streaming down our faces and she said, “Why didn’t you tell me?”
I ask myself that so often now. Perhaps, if I had been more intentionally radical and open about my struggles with the taboo topics of depression and anxiety, she would have been more open with me about her pregnancy. As my dad says, “That’s like slapping your hand over your butt after you’ve crapped yourself.” (Not trying to avoid being open, of course J Wayne doesn’t say, “butt,” or “crapped,” but I’m a lady… Or I just am trying to filter my language on the interweb.) I can’t change what I didn’t tell her soon enough. I can’t go back and over share so that she would stop under sharing. I can, however, encourage you to share your struggles with young people in your life. It might not be depression, it could be addiction, or that you secretly hate The Wheel of Fortune; but, whatever you share, you are opening the door for them to reciprocate. Children put adults on pedestals. Even the adults that have caused heartache for the child are seen through rose-colored glasses. Then, as kids begin the transition from child to adult, they feel like a failure or weird because they are fighting inner demons. Let’s push those inner demons to the surface. Let all the people you love, show you that they love all of you. Our kids need it. We need it. The world needs it.
More than meat loves salt,
EGG and all of my crazy inner demons