Trigger Warning: mentions of depression and suicide.
My last post in which I revealed my struggles with depression, came as a shock to some readers. This is a space normally reserved for issues of education, not issues of mental health.
I was nervous about it, but I felt I had to publish.
Public blogging helps me sort through ideas and find clarity. In a private journal, I go in circles, ruminating. It’s unhelpful. Writing for an audience forces me to make sense of things and communicate in a more constructive manner. It brings a responsibility to find a positive or practical outcome. It was when I started to write the more positive part of my last post that I recalled strategies to help me in my own struggle. So at a personal level, public blogging is a helpful process.
But an even more compelling reason was this story, shared in my Twitter feed by George Couros and then on Facebook by Tina Photakis. My heart just broke for this suicide victim, who was trying so hard to maintain an image of normality when inside she was in so much pain. She perceived that the perfect lives everyone else presented on social media was real for them, and only she was faking it. None of us have perfect lives, we all have flaws, we all struggle, but if we only present our best parts to the world, we risk isolating others who struggle, perpetuating the belief that they are alone and not normal. I don’t want to be complicit in that.
Since publishing, I’ve received messages of support from so many of you, I’m thankful for that, and I cannot tell you how much it makes a difference. I’m doing it tough at the moment, but the the messages of support, kind words, the acceptance and validation are helping carry me through.
If you think you are struggling with depression, or if this post has triggered some difficult thoughts and emotions in you and you need help, check out the Beyond Blue website.