traceylukkarila.com

mindfulness, depression, yoga, mental health, finding a way

I launched my blog over a week ago but had not publicized it until today. Even now I am full of doubt about whether I should be doing this, whether I should REALLY go public and let it all hang out with this blog. I’ve been getting tangled up in worry and fear about what my friends, colleagues, and family will think.

 It’s not that people don’t know I struggle with depression. Many people in my life know but very few know the whole story — what depression really means. The scariest part is letting them in on my secret, that suicide thoughts are still present in my life. I understand the concern, my friends and family love me and don’t want me to die.

I’ve had depression at some level constantly since I was 7, but never suicide thoughts. Before these thoughts arrived in June 2014, I thought suicide thoughts were transient, that people had them when they were unwell, and then once they got better the thoughts stopped. I now know that sometimes they don’t go away. I’ve met many people in my latest depression sojourn who are in the same boat as I am. I can even have the thoughts pop into my head when I’m having a perfectly fine day. It’s pretty nuts.

 For me, talking about the suicide thoughts is the hardest part. They are the elephant in the room. I like to think I’m not ashamed of having depression and these thoughts. But really I am. The disease tells me I’m selfish to be so focused on my mental state, that I just need to grow up. I forget that I am strong and start to believe the voices that tell I am weak. I’m ashamed when I have to report to my psychiatrist that I’m STILL having suicide thoughts after so many medication and lifestyle changes. I tell myself these thoughts are not my fault, but often don’t believe it. I feel like a disappointment to everyone who wants me to get better, like somehow I’m not trying hard enough. I have an amazing life, so shame on me. The shame spiral continues.

 My path is to be at ease with my depression and my thoughts, to find the lessons they are teaching me. There are many, and as a writer I document. This blog provides me a place to share what I am learning. My plan is to make this blog a resource for others, and do it in a way that’s personal and relatable. My experience is that a lot of people do not understand what depression feels like, they can’t even imagine what it’s like. I’d like to try and explain. I also plan to write about things that have helped me, like yoga, mindfulness, and medication, and write reviews of the different books I’ve read and mobile apps I’ve used. Who knows what else I’ll come up with to write about along the way?

 My intention for this blog is to reach fellow sufferers and educate non-sufferers, so as to provide a healing outlet for myself and hopefully help others in the process.  So away we go! I’ve publically announced this blog and have many partially written articles in the queue. I’ll breathe deep each day and trust in my honesty and hope it’ll make a difference.

5 thoughts on “Going Public with My Mental Illness – Take 3

  1. Bruce Dillenbeck says:

    I came across your blog on Facebook, where a friend had posted a link to your website. I too, after having been recently hospitalized for depression have come out publicly about my ongoing struggles with depression and anxiety. I too, have been struggling with since I was a child. For the last thirty years, I’ve been tried the universe of medications out there and have worked with a number of therapists but my my depression appears to be treatment resistant. Since my hospitalization, I have moved in with my older brother and his wife and haven’t been working. I’m highly educated (have several degrees) but in the last decade have only found work in the temporary help sector where the pay is low and the job satisfaction even lower. I recognize now that my work situation was adding to my stress and have said the hell with it and am applying for SSDI. But I think it is extremely important to “come out of the closet” about my depression because it only adds to the ignorance about depression and the stigma attached to it. Over the years, I’ve read compulsively about “disease” depression because it is a disease but one of the brain. One book I read recently, which highlighted the biological toll that depression wreaks on the brain is a book by Peter Kramer titled “Against Depression.” As I just moved back to my hometown on Long Island, New York I searching for a new psychiatrist and therapist. Good ones are hard to find. I am also seeking support groups. I’m not sure you can really explain depression to those who haven’t experienced it. However, when someone inquiries I always point them to William Styron’s memoir “Darkness Visible” (1990), which is still the single best memoir I’ve read about depression to date. Hang in there and keep writing. If you want to have a good laugh take a look at the following 30 minute illustrated documentary produced by HBO titled “My Depression: The Up and Down and Up of it.” It is both witty, insightful and informative at the same time.

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    1. Thank you so much for reaching out. I wish you luck on SSDI. I know it can take a long time to get it, but don’t get discouraged. I know all too well how the wrong job can only add to depression. You said you’re looking for support groups, and I wanted to share two links with you. Depression Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) is an organization of sufferers with chapters nationwide. You can search their site for a support group near you. http://www.dbsalliance.org. Another site to look for groups is Psychology Today (the magazine.) They have a large database you can search. https://groups.psychologytoday.com. I love my group and think it’s a big part of my recovery. Take care.

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  2. Peggy says:

    Tracey thank you so much for your bravery!! I look forward to the education I will receive from your blog. God bless you

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  3. Lisa says:

    I knew you have been experiencing problems with depression. I wasn’t aware that you have also had thoughts of suicide. Good heavens! I’m so glad you’re being treated. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help you. I’ve already lost one friend to suicide. I don’t want to lose another! I love you and I’m astounded by your bravery, Tracey! Keep it up!

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  4. Christine says:

    Thank you for sharing your struggle with your illness. It took me years to allow myself to accept that mental illnesses are as valid as physical ones. I have hypothyroidism and take synthroid every morning. There is no emotional attachment; it’s just a fact and a part of my daily routine. However, I have suffered from cyclical depression since puberty with compulsive and agoraphobic tendencies. I spent the entire summer between 8th and 9th grades in the house, with the blinds and curtains shut. I only left the house when my parents forced me to go out. My first attempt at suicide was at age 13. The most recent was 2010. Going back into that dark place is one of my greatest fears.

    I love my life, the people that are a part of my journey, and the shelter cats for whom I am privileged to care. When I am in that dark place, I manage to convince myself that everyone would be better if I exited the world. Logically, I know that is wrong. Emotionally, I know this is wrong and even cruel to those that love me.

    As I stated on Facebook, I will be following this blog and contributing parts of my experience. Thank you for your courage.

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