Monday, January 18, 2016

Gorilla Wrestling 101

Mental illness is a hot topic right now. In the last few years, our nation has grappled with Robin Williams' suicide, drug overdoses by countless celebs, and the suicide of Rick Warren's son--this is an issue that America has swept under the rug for far too long, and now it's oozing out. While I'm happy we're talking about it, I'm sad it took such pain to bring about the conversation. 

I always sit back and watch social media trends when these events happen, and I can always tell who has dealt with this firsthand vs those who haven't. Those who have post articles with #youarenotalone, #pray4{insert celeb here}, etc. Some who have struggled say things like "my heart is shattered" or "I hurt so much", but a lot of us say nothing at all. 

Because we get it. We get it in a way that we wish we didn't. I'm not saying that people who haven't dealt with wrestling the 600 pound gorilla that is clinical depression aren't trying to get it. I'm just saying that until you've lived it, you can't get it. And that's totally OK! I think I can speak for all of us gorilla wrestlers when I say that we sincerely hope you never have to get it. 

Though #youarenotalone sounds comforting, it is not {at all} a depressed person's reality. Not even a little bit. This year and last has absolutely been rock bottom for me in terms of depression, and I feel like I've dealt with a low hum of it my entire life, and I've had periods of low places. This place I've been in has been lower than low. What's lower than rock bottom? Because that's where I've been. 

I will tell you that I have had so many people sending me sweet encouraging bible verses and blogs, they're texting me little emojis, and I know they want me to feel better. I love them for it, but snapping out of clinical depression isn't that simple. I wish it were.

It's really impossible to describe. There just aren't words to adequately describe the emptiness, hopelessness, and despair that accompany this affliction I deal with every single day. We need to create new words to describe it, because they just don't exist in the English language. The only way to "sort of" describe it is to say that I feel smothered. I feel enveloped by a thick tent of black awfulness that suffocates me. It's airtight. Nothing and no one can penetrate it, so yes, I really am alone in a major depressive episode. #youarenotalone doesn't always exist in my world. Sometimes people are able to reach in, and sometimes I'm able to reach out, but most of the time I'm surrounded by this dark cocoon of yuck. Gorilla wrestlers are often alone--even in a crowded joyous room. Even with an inbox full of cute e-cards from loved ones. Even at the dinner table with people we love so much. Even with a community of people loving on us. We see people around us, but we're still alone. 

Imagine being at a loud, amazing, crazy-cool pool party. Everyone's hanging out, laughing, sipping drinks, eating snacks, and having a grand ole time. PARTAY! And you're drowning in the pool right next to everyone. Now imagine that they're talking about how much they love you and care about you. You can hear the love, everyone is right there with you, but you're still dying alone in misery. That's what deep depression is like. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. Never ever. 

Gorilla wrestlers are alone. So don't just be near them. Be with them. And #pray4gorillawrestlers? That's a nice sounding hashtag too, but don't settle for JUST that. Don't just pray for them. Pray with them. 

[NOTE: I am in no way saying that you are responsible for fixing your loved one's mental health issues. I am just trying to give non-gorilla wrestlers a frame of reference for what this condition is like for people who suffer. Encourage your loved one to meet with a mental health professional as well as the suggestions I gave. The national suicide prevention hotline # is 1-800-273-8255. It is always open.]

Stay tuned for how I figure this crap out. XOXO,

Gorilla Girl

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