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Let’s Talk About Depression – Because Most People Don’t And It’s Killing Us



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TRIGGER WARNING – This article or section, or pages it links to, contains graphic language and information about depression and suicide which may be upsetting to some people.


There is one death by suicide from depression every 12.3 minutes in America.

In other words, depression kills more than 117 people every day.

It almost killed me.

You may have heard my story about me reaching my breaking point many years ago where I thought suicide was the only answer.

What you may not know is that I still battle this disease. Every. Single. Day.

Some days are better than others.

Some are great.

And some feel like someone turned off the light and all that’s left is the cold, ugly dark.

I’m afraid of the dark.

Not the dark that happens once the sun sets each day.

The darkness that lives inside of me. That threatens to take over. That consumes every breath and makes me feel as though I’m suffocating.

The darkness that constricts my heart so tightly that I wonder if it will just stop beating.

The darkness terrifies me.

And even though I am terrified, I refuse to let anyone help me.

In fact, not only do I refuse help, I lash out at those around me who try – saying and doing things that my true Self would never say or do in a million years – just so I can push them away.

I can’t stand the thought of being misunderstood or rejected by them. I can’t handle the pain of them giving up on me during those dark moments.

So, I turn away from everyone and turn back to me. I go inside of me. Inside of my heart.

I wrestle with the dark. I punch. I kick. I scream and cry. And for the longest time, the darkness wins.

And then, there’s something. A glimmer of hope. A ray of light. A touch.

A loved one that says, “I don’t fucking care what you say or do… I love you and I will not leave you. I’m not going anywhere.”

And it’s that one sliver of light in the midst of toxic darkness that helps me fight back.

That gives me a reason to continue my Earth journey.

That helps me live to fight that darkness another day.

Depression and suicide could not be more misunderstood.

No one brags that they beat suicide like they do when they beat cancer.

No one goes in to have their depression removed and fully heals in a few weeks.

Fifty percent of all Americans suffer from major depression and never seek help for it.

And those are just the people we know about.

In fact, no one talks about it at all.

And that’s the problem.

Because when you are on the floor with the darkness caving in, swallowing your body, mind, and heart, you feel as if you are the only one in the world who feels this way.

You feel so alone.

And that only makes it harder.

“Why not go ahead and kill myself? No one understands what I go through anyway”, I say.

I think no one could possibly understand what it’s like to have your mind try to murder you. Over. And over. And over again.

But I have a feeling that I am not alone.

That it’s not just me that has to struggle, fight, kicking and screaming sometimes, for just one more day on this planet.

I also know the shame that comes with admitting this. I know what it’s like to suffer in silence. To put on a smile so no one sees your pain.

And once you do come out of it, once you survive and beat the darkness again, your ordeal still isn’t over.

You then have to turn around and see the destruction you left in your path. The loved ones you hurt when you were just trying to survive.

But try telling someone that you were “just trying to survive” after you’ve broken their heart because the darkness pushed you to the limit and it was either you or them.

I’m tired of feeling shame around this monster called depression.

I’m tired of seeing the darkness win and loved ones around me take their own life.

I’m tired of not speaking up. Speaking out.

I hope you are too.

People like me need to hear your voice.

I need to know I’m not in this alone.

I need to know that it’s possible to survive and not feel shame because of something I can’t always control.

And if you’re not ok speaking up right now, maybe those people who are will inspire you.

Until then, keep fighting the good fight. Know you’re not alone. And no matter what, if you have fought the dark demon and you’re reading this, you’ve won.

Here’s to winning.

Final Thoughts

This is not a “how to” blog post. I don’t have this figured out. However, I will share some things that have helped and continue to help me in the coming weeks and months. I hope you do the same.

For now, just starting the conversation is enough. In fact, it’s everything. Will you join me?

And if you know someone that this blog post could help? Will you share it with them? So we can all have a voice? So we don’t have to feel alone anymore?

Talk to me in the comments below.

So much love to Jenny Lawson whose book Furiously Happy and blog gave me the courage to speak up. I don’t know this beautiful being but she gives me strength and makes me laugh daily.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1 (800) 273-8255

Dedicated to Davyd Whaley, my dearest friend for whom the darkness was just too dark.

And to my beloved Zak, the one suffering in the darkness with me, refusing to leave, helping me to find the light. 

Read the Comments +

  1. Ginger Street says:

    I’m with you Cynthia! I have suffered from clinical depression for 30 years. I fear the darkness too. It is truly a scary place to be. I fight every day in hopes that one day I’ll wake up to the lights and now some days I actually do. I always am hopeful that it won’t come back but the darkness continuously consumes me. I feel like I’m in a deep, dark whole with no way out but you know what? Every once in a while I do find my way out and every time I do it is different, better. So now I live for those times of lights even when I am in that darkness. I always tell myself it will be better in the morning. I just have to get though the night.

    • “I do find my way out and every time I do it is different, better.” – Wow. Thank you for sharing that, Ginger! Every day is a struggle, but it helps to know that there are people in the world that are fighting the same fight.

      • Kasey Thurman says:


        I have and do continue to go through depressions throughout my life at times, so I can relate… I’ve learned to embrace depression, lean on my faith, and trust that EVERYTHING happens for a reason. With that I’ve learned to be aware that I’m going through a depression, relax into and accept it, then see what it is that I’m supposed to learn that I’m just not getting in this busy life we live in.. I think it’s one of the ways that our body and mind FORCES US TO SLOW DOWN (hence the word DEPRESS-ion)… I think it’s life’s way of depressing us (pressing us down), so that we have time to reflect on OUR TRUE PURPOSE, which I always feel is TO SERVE OTHERS (as you are :). A friend once shared something that was shared with them, and they said “Depression happens when your spirit is being depressed, because it’s ready to move on to a new level, but your feeble human body and mind is holding your spirit back from it’s true purpose”. Depression IS OK, as long as we understand that it’s part of the experience, there’s ALWAYS A LIGHT AT THE END and something to be learned. Something that you’re just not getting when you’re not depressed, so it becomes a tool (even if an undesirable one) to get you to your purest self. I see it as a cleansing of sorts… A detox for your life.

        The problem arises when one feels alone, they’re simply not aware that they’re going trough a depression, and they don’t feel they can relate or relay it to others. I’m SOOOO happy that you’ve started this conversation and shared your story, because there’s someone out there that needs to know that they’re not alone. YOU ARE NEVER ALONE ;).

        May God bless the spirits of those that continue to struggle and those that couldn’t figure it out while here.

        • Mo says:

          Kasey thanks so much for sharing this. You have just helped me re-frame my current struggle as a way to slow down, to reconnect with my spirit, to stop, sit still and listen deeply to my heart to unearth my purpose. I can feel my depression creeping every closer and I desperately don’t want it to overwhelm me again. I’m usually an energetic, optimistic, outgoing person and yet when the ‘Black Dog’, as Winston Churchill called his depression, shows up, my whole body hurts, exhaustion takes over and yet as tired as I feel, I can’t sleep. Thinking of this depression as a type of hibernation, a whole-body meditation that can help me reconnect with spirit helps me want to accept this is just where I am now, to have faith it will pass and that I will learn from it. Bless you Kasey.

  2. Connie says:

    Thank you for talking about this. I too have suffered and still suffer, and I totally get the fear of falling back into the black hole. The isolation can be so paralyzing. Reaching out and getting help- whether it’s me doing the reaching or someone else who cares. Nobody should suffer alone. We are all broken or none of us are broken. We all have our stuff. We all have our struggles. Thank you for your courage to break the silence. To break the stigma. I wish you health, peace, and healing more and more every day.

    • You’re not alone Connie. I know that isolation can be paralyzing and yet you’re right, no one should suffer alone. The reason I felt it was time to “come clean” is that I too am tired of suffering alone. Of suffering in silence. Thank YOU for having the courage to share your story so that others know they aren’t alone. Sometimes, that alone is enough. Sending you so much love and healing!

  3. Cathy says:

    Thank you for sharing your story and not being embarrassed to share it. I have battled with depression for years and some days it just sneaks back into your world without notice and you have to say “Hell No!”. It isn’t easy because sometimes you just can’t figure out where the feeling come from. I don’t think I will ever figure out why my depression takes over my mostly happy life. Someone is reading your blog today and will get the courage to get help. Thank you again for sharing.

    • Cathy, I wish I could say I was courageous but it has taken me years to finally talk about this. I was so ashamed because I thought people would think I was weak. That I couldn’t handle what life was throwing at me. So I put on my “strong face” and went out into the world. AND… thank you for your beautiful, kind, supportive words. They mean everything to me.

      Keep saying “Hell No!”. If you need someone to back you up, give me a call. 🙂

  4. Bernadine says:

    What a great article Cynthia Pasquella, I struggled 6 years ago with depression, and I still do. I also go to that dark alone place sometimes. I don’t like going there. I have this habit to meditate in the morning and fill my mind and thoughts with faith, hope, courage and expectancy. heart emoticon

    • You’re such a special being Bernadine. Thank you so much for your comment. I am also grateful for the tool you shared – meditation. It’s so important to quiet our minds when suffering from depression. If we don’t, they start their own conversations and that goes nowhere fast.

  5. Barbara says:

    Thank you for sharing this Cynthia! I was in a terribly dark place for the last 9 months and at times it felt like too much, like my heart could not handle the pain anymore . I would mentally torture myself and blame myself for the loss i incurred. But I’ve been here before, consumed by the darkness in the black hole and I know if I hold on just a little bit longer things will get better, they have to. The light will shine through again and my heart will be softer yet more resilient. I can already feel the shift going on inside from this pain and darkness, then I’ll go on and make something beautiful and amazing with it. For now I guess I hope that anyone suffering can recognize that life is full of cycles and battles but it’s worth staying in the game just to see the light when it finally does shine through because it’s breathtaking…

    • This is so beautiful Barbara. Thank you for sharing your voice and your story! I love this from your post… “I know if I hold on just a little bit longer things will get better.”

      But THIS…. brought me to my knees… “it’s worth staying in the game just to see the light when it finally does shine through because it’s breathtaking…”

      You are loved Barbara. And you’re not alone. I can’t wait to see what you create with this shift!

  6. David Ruff says:

    Hi Cynthia,

    I am no one special. I went through the darkest period of my life these past 15+ years after being blindsided by a divorce I didn’t see coming. We were married 27 years, had one beautiful boy child who is now ( I can’t believe it) 37. Upon reading your post I sat down and cried, for I had never heard anyone express their feelings about depression so closely to my own, especially those feelings coming from one of the opposite sex. After the divorce I had given up believing there were actually women who cared because I knew of so many guys who had gone through the same or similar things.

    I have had utterly no support from anyone. Most of my immediate family is gone or too far away to care. I have no contact with my former wife or anyone in my wife’s family and the divorce caused an alienation of my only son. I literally lost everything when depression overtook me. I say overtook because it has been hiding in there for some time; it just never took over until the breakup of my marriage. My health declined to the point where I could not participate in sports or anything pleasurable for that matter. And, I no longer have any desire to participate or the motivation to do anything I could do. I am stuck “in a prison” because my life in the past has been erased and I have no immediate prospects for the future.

    I was on the fence about communicating with you until I read the above. I thought you were just one more person trying to make a buck off of someone’s unfortunate desperate circumstances. But after reading your expressions I find myself more open to listening to you because, lord knows, I need someone who knows what its like be in my position.

    I invented a saying, “The only people who understand depressed people are other depressed people.” If you ever watched the motion picture, “Helen,” you will understand what I mean. Ashley Judd played a professional woman, Helen, who was overtaken by depression. The only one who seemed to understand her was a student in her class. The student seemed to know immediately what was going on with her. As it turned out it was the student who saw her through her darkest hours; not her husband or medical doctors. And just as she began to realize that she was going to be all right, her student was found dead. She had committed suicide by jumping off the terrace of her building. Ironically, as her student was portrayed in the story you would never have guessed that about her since she seemed pretty well adjusted. “Helen” was beside herself with grief, of course, and the movie ended there.

    After watching that movie, I have maintained to others that I have talked too that you really never know what’s going on in a person’s mind or that something you might say or do, even innocently, might trigger a negative response. Perhaps the best support for someone with depression is just to hug them and let them know they are not alone. That and to exercise care about the things you say and do. But most people think its a joke when you tell them you have depression. They say, “Oh, I know what that’s about. I had depression once.” They don’t understand that it is a condition you live with and continue to live with, possibly to the end of your life, suicide or not.

    So, thanks for your expressions, Cynthia. They do help.

    • David,
      I am in awe of your spirit and your courage. Thank you from the depths of my soul for sharing your story.

      You spoke your truth in such a way that you will encourage so many more to do the same. I don’t feel that you are “nobody”. I KNOW you are a precious soul who these things have happened FOR not TO. I know, oh God do I know, how that can sound when you feel absolutely hopeless but I please hear me… your life stands for something. Otherwise, why are you here? You are worthy. You are enough.

      And yes, you’re right… people do laugh it off and talk about how they were depressed “once”. I love your quote, “The only people who understand depressed people are other depressed people.” Oh my dear friend. Truer words have never been spoken.

      You have a community here David and you are welcome anytime. There’s no trying to “make a buck”. No program to buy to “heal your depression in 3 easy steps”. Just an honest community, human being to human being, just showing up for each other.

      Continue to fight my brother in arms. Continue to love. Connect with people here. With me. Know that you are loved and that you will find love. You only have to open you heart and ask it to come in. Don’t believe me? You opened your heart when you posted this comment and I dove in head first! I love you David. And I see you. And you … you are amazing!

  7. Lavina says:

    Hi Cynthia, Are you a Christian? I know sometimes people got relief when they fully trusted Jesus as He is light then no darkness can survive. Let me know your thoughts are on that. I find your honesty very refreshing. Thank-you!

    • Thank you for reaching out Lavina. I grew up Christian. I have also come to realize that there are so many tools that I can use – regardless of my religious belief – and I am grateful for them. And yes, you’re right… the love that Jesus represents burns so bright that no darkness can survive and yet… there are struggles that we have all chosen (or they have been chosen for us) to go through so that we can see that light and come out on the other side stronger. I don’t believe that you can know the light without having touched the darkness. And for that, I am grateful.

  8. Kim says:

    I too struggle w/ depression. I just had a recent issue that sent me spiraling into a very dark place. This sounds crazy but the only thing that prevents me from suicide are my pets as they depend on me. Every single day is a struggle right now, I have isolated myself. I just signed up to see a therapist. I go through pinterest everyday to find positive quotes & inspirational stories. It’s hard to talk to people who don’t understand. Thank you everyone for sharing. I don’t feel as alone.

    • Oh Kim… that doesn’t sound crazy at all! My daughter has sometimes been the only thing holding me on this planet so I understand completely. I love you Kim and I know your life has meaning. I know there is a reason you are being challenged like this. And maybe it’s just to show you that you are strong enough to come out on the other side and be an example to others. And as you can see, you are NOT alone. WE are not alone. You can do this. Just keep holding on – white knuckles and all. You’ve got this!

  9. cj says:

    Currently fighting not to get back in that black hole. I feel like no one understands. It is a tough fight, an everyday fight. My last deepest day was in 2011. But life has hit me hard lately. I’m wondering why I am still here. my head knows all the right things to say, but I have a hard time convincing myself I should still be here.

    • I understand CJ. And I know what it feels like to feel alone and like no one could possibly understand your situation. So you keep it bottled up and you fight the tough fight. And yes, sometimes life hits you hard but you hit back harder. I know you can. I know you wouldn’t be given more than you can handle. The world needs you. The world needs your gifts. Your wisdom. Your talents. People need to hear your laughter. There are people you inspire just walking down the street and you will never know them. There are people who are have inspired to keep fighting after they read your post here (2011 since your deepest day? – you should have a medal!!!). You are so loved and so wonderful. Stay with us CJ.

      • cj says:

        That is my struggle. Why am I still here? I don’t want to be. I know Heaven is much better than this life. I just survived a heart attack on March 12. I wish I had died. My life fell apart. People turned away and hurt me after that. I saw clearly who really cared and it wasn’t many. I lost my job as well. I don’t know why I am still here but am earnestly looking for that answer.

        • If you’re here CJ and you’re looking for that answer, then that means there is one. Don’t give up. This is happening FOR you not TO you. How can you help others in your situation? I know your voice has already helped so many!

  10. Kristina says:

    Aah yes I too have found myself in the deepest recesses of the mind, swallowed by the darkness. The dark nights of the soul are long, lonely, and feel like no one could possibly understand. I certainly don’t sometimes. And yet I always somehow find a way. I think the worst part is almost when I start to feel really content, because I know that demon called depression could strike again! I applaud your bravery in coming forward and talking about this taboo topic, that affects so many people silently. Thank you.

    • Thank you for sharing Kristina. Those dark nights of the soul are sooooo very dark. And soooo very endless. I’m so proud of you for sharing your experience so others don’t feel so alone. You are so very courageous!

  11. Kathy says:

    Thank you Cynthia! I have such deep gratitude for your vulnerability and honesty to write and share your experience on the cold, ugly, scary, dark side of depression. It is so important that we can talk about this openly. I carry such shame of my depression and am so, so cautious with whom I share my struggle of depression and I would like to change this and you have inspired me to do so. My experience of the judgement and further isolation created from others who just don’t understand is so painful. And on the flip side, I am ashamed and embarrassed by the hurt my depression has inflicted on others. My depression goes back a long way and I have always hoped it would miraculously heal and be gone forever but here I am at 51 and it is still with me… as you said, some days more than others. Awareness, acceptance and with openly and honestly talking about it is the only way to create healing of the shame. Thank you for this space where you have shared your experience and provided a safe space for us to share ours in order to help and support one another to know we are not alone. Also, it gives me hope that those who might not suffer with it will begin to open their hearts and minds about the affliction of depression and see that sufferers are good wonderful people with a life purpose who just happen to have an extra hurdle to fight through to show up sometimes. All my best to you Cynthia and every sufferer of depression who lives on this earth and a very special blessing to those who are no longer with us because the darkness just hurt too, too deeply.

    • Oh Kathy… what a beautiful comment. I could feel the power and the energy coming from your heart around this topic. I even tweeted parts of what you said. 🙂 This… “sufferers are good wonderful people with a life purpose who just happen to have an extra hurdle to fight through to show up sometimes. ” is so very beautiful. I’m so honored you’re embracing the shame and fighting the good fight. I too used to think my depression would just “go away” as I got older and now I realize that it’s not going anywhere. Full acceptance of that – which came as I wrote the blog post – changed everything for me. Now I am aware of the darkness and that I have the power to get ahead of it and that is making all the difference!

  12. Diane says:

    I so appreciate your bringing up this discussion. I can’t remember a time when I have not been depressed! An angry depression. Constantly made fun of day and day out in school with no relief no matter what I tried or what my folks suggested. I remember when I was only six taking my dad’s hunting knife out and thinking about stabbing myself with it. I figured I would survive and that would hurt so I didn’t do it. Believe it or not, I have that knife today and it is rather small compared to some of the kitchen knives I have! I did take a bunch of pills one time when there was a plane crash on campus grounds and I thought my therapist was on it , but that wasn’t what I really wanted to do so I got rid of them. Still had my stomach pumped out. (It isn’t as bad as some make it out to be.) Turned out my therapist wasn’t on the plane.
    I have fought all my life, it seems, for the right to be here and be who I am, whatever that is. On of the things that angers me the most is those who have pat answers for depression or say that just by thinking you can change the brain chemistry. Worse than that, there are those self-righteous ones who lay guilt trips on those with depression by telling them it is a sin to be depressed. I have strong words for that, but I won’t say them. I believe in God and Jesus as my Savior. Don’t tell me that God considers depression a sin! He does not. Neither should we. It is a battle, to be sure, but one that can be fought.
    We can look at it somewhat like being on a train and along the way, there are the tunnels. We have to get out of the domes for safety. It is still dark until the train comes out in the light again. We know the train will come out in the light and then we can see the beauty that is around us again. The fear is that the light will no longer shine. If we hold on long enough, it will. I hope what I have said helps someone out there. You are not alone.

    • Thank you for being so brave Diane and sharing your story. I have so much love and respect for you. I love whey you said, “I have fought all my life, it seems, for the right to be here and be who I am, whatever that is. ” That “fighting” is just so real for people who suffer but you were right when you said that if we hold on long enough, the light will shine again. Thank you for geing such an inspiration and holding on. #holdon

  13. jamie renninger says:

    My mom has been fatigued and no energy for 3 years, we have taken her to many many Dr.s and natural Dr.s she even got on the paleo diet. She has lost her mom, sister ,Husband, brother in law, nephue and son over the years to death. she is a devout christian and gives to allot of charities. we pray every day for her energy to come back.

  14. Daria says:

    Dear Cynthia,
    Your words, “I have come to terms with the fact that I am broken,” break my heart! I know firsthand the incredible pain of deep depression. I don’t think there is any pain any worse than that.

    I suffered with painful depression for many years which intensified enormously after the birth of my daughter. I thought about suicide often. In fact it was only because I didn’t want to abandon my baby girl that I never attempted it. I never went to a medical doctor for meds. Instead I sought out natural doctors who prescribed B12 shots and a no-sugar diet among other things. I stuck with the regimen and eventually began to feel much better.

    Depression does “run in my family.” My dad and sister suffered with it for years. But now with my improved living situation and a greatly improved diet, I’m usually on a fairly even keel. However, when I recently lost my son, my old friend depression returned for awhile. Not with the vengeance I had experienced in the past, though…. As I’m sure you well know, a good diet helps a lot.

    I wonder if you’ve read Dr. Lissa Rankin’s book MIND OVER MEDICINE and/or Dr. Kelly Brogan’s new book A MIND OF YOUR OWN. Both explore different avenues of approaching our physical and psychological challenges that I have found very helpful.

    Please know, dear Cynthia, that you are definitely not alone! I so appreciate your honesty and willingness to shed light on this difficult subject. You have an amazing way of connecting with people, and I happen to be one of your lucky students.

    I love you.

    • Thank you Daria for your kind words and beautiful support! I do know those books and have enjoyed reading them. I also love the work of Hyla Cass. I’m so honored you’re a student at ITN and that you are getting your message out there. I’m so proud of you for being courageous and shining the light on your own struggle and story so that we all benefit. xoxo

  15. Arianna says:

    I love you, Cynthia! Thank you for putting this out there so raw and open! I am right there with you sister. The darkness is so very scary. Each day I have feelings of bliss and freedom, it just makes me worry about falling into my deep fears and darkness. Facing the darknesss, has in the past and still to this day is helping me rise above and find peace in this lifetime. I have plunged into the darkness most recently because of my strong desire to be a healthier mom/wife (mentally and emotionally), so that my son and whole family may have a healthier and brighter future. And I too, am thankful for those loved ones who have loved me even in my darkest moments and have supported me finding the light even when it tested their strength. Working with you, helped me find those loved ones, so I am truly grateful! I love you and always will!

    • Arianna, you know I love you beyond measure. Thank you for being so beautifully open and sharing your journey. I think we can all relate when it comes to wanting to be better for our children and I KNOW we can relate to those loved ones around us that have had their strength and love for us tested time and time again because of this destructive force. Know that you are always in my heart and keep fighting the good fight. You are so worth it!

  16. Brenda Jimenez says:

    Thank you for sharing. My depression moments do not last very long, somehow I manage to get out of them but I do see a lot of my daughter in me and I see her battle depression constantly. The hardest part about it is being around people who think that such thing does not exist.

    • I know Brenda. And that breaks my heart. And at the same time, I’m grateful that they don’t know how real depression is. How dark it gets. How difficult it is to get out of it. And how sometimes it wins. Thank you for helping us all see (especially your daughter) that we’re not alone.

  17. Tammy says:

    I cried when I read your post. It’s as though you put into words what my heart has been shouting. I’m one of your former students and I can’t express how much you sharing your truth means to me for so many reasons. Depression makes me feel like a failure and makes me feel like I will never accomplish the passion and dreams in my heart because it can literally paralyze me and just getting thru the day is an accomplisment on some days. You’ve given me hope. I too fear the dark and sometimes fear the dark will win. Depression has isolated me and makes me feel ashamed and weak. It has taken so much from me. Depression makes me feel feel lonely and I remember even as a child saying that I was born lonely because I didn’t understand the sadness that I felt. The lies of depression exist in the dark. I thank you for bringing it into the light and for helping me know that I’m not alone.

    • You are not alone, Tammy and I’m so glad you feel that now. Maybe you’ve felt it in the past too but I know how easy it is to forget. The weakness and shame is so powerful and it has made me feel so low at times. I now know that that’s a lie. I know that it’s our strength and our power that allows us to keep fighting. And winning. Sending you so much love and honored you were/are part of our ITN community.

  18. B. says:

    Bravo. Writing this post must have taken quite a bit of courage, and I applaud you–and thank you deeply–for doing so. I’ve suffered with severe major depressive disorder with intermittent BPII hypomania for 25 years. I was 15 when I had my first major depressive episode. I remember sitting on the cold, hard floor of our spacious, never-used dining room for stretches of 4 or 5 hours at a time, rocking rocking rocking back and forth, crying, alone. I couldn’t understand why I felt so bad when I wasn’t lacking for anything material, was so lucky on the surface. My mother held me one night and said something to me that I still find solace in remembering. She was holding me close to her as I sobbed–the pain was so new and so unbearable that it felt like it would break me in half–and I kept asking her, so confused, “WHY is this happening to me, mom? Why do I feel this way when I have everything and then some?” She just stroked my hair and said, “Honey, you never need a reason. Because often there just isn’t one.” It was a great comfort, hearing her say those words. It took some of the guilt away I guess. Yes, this disease is so voracious, so monstrous, yet also so familiar that I can’t imagine what my life would be without it (not that I wouldn’t like to know!). What gets me through the dark places are 1: knowing there will be a sliver or glimmer of light around a corner if I can just keep moving through, and 2: My kids. Honestly, when I had my daughter and realized that suicide was officially off the table, I felt…angry? Scared? Trapped? Bewildered? All of the above, recognizing that my antidote, my secret, singular escape route, had suddenly and completely vanished without a sound at the same moment that my child took her first lungful of air. Now I look upon their beautiful faces and revel in their precious, vivacious appreciation for, and complete presence in, each moment, and am grateful that taking my life is simply not an option any more. Of course when I am, on certain of those blackest of occassions, immobilized and frozen by grief and fear and sadness and…nothingness…that old, familiar (and sneaky!) thought will sometimes push through to the center of my awareness–you know the one… “I just think everyone around me would be better off IF…” But I am still here, sucking air. Today. And today isn’t so bad. I feel so grateful that I had the good fortune to read the words of everyone who posted. And, foremost, for you, Cynthia. Splaying open your soul so we might all take a peek in the hopes of recognizing a piece of ourselves, and, maybe, connecting–even if removed–to another person who understands the experience of what is essentially a state of utter alone-ness, was such a gracious and selfless act. And it worked. Thank you.

    • Your words touched my heart so deeply B. You will never know the power of them but I am so very grateful for you. The words your mom spoke, “you never need a reason. Because often there just isn’t one.” hit home in such a big way. I too have questioned so many times, “why???!!!” and the answer never came. I do know there is a bigger purpose in my struggle and suffering. I know it’s happening FOR me and I’m honored to start conversations like this with people like you who add so much insight, wisdom, and strength to the discusssion.

      I also hear you when you talk about the option of suicide being taken away when you have children. I have felt that so many times. I’ve felt the same anger you described as well as the confusion. I also feel the beauty and love radiating through her soul and that gives me strength. It’s her that has pulled me back from the edge so many times.

      Keep fighting the good fight. We need your words and your strength in this beautiful world we live in. 🙂

  19. JS says:

    Hi Cynthia,
    This could not come at a more perfect time. I am too in the same boat, however, I am very scared to talk to anyone and I have no idea where to turn. I’m too afraid to go see a doctor so I just suffer. The sad truth is that I’ve heard too many stories where when people stated that they were suicidal instead of getting help, they were committed to a mental institute for observation or something, so anyone that may be suicidal, may be afraid to say anything, which is so very wrong. Plus the fact that the job that I do everyday, 8 plus hours a day, 7 days a week, I literally get yelled at and belittled by people which doesn’t help at all, I work in customer service, people are giants and invincible on the phones. I am so glad you are strong enough to bring this up and I am so glad that you are putting it out there for everyone so we can talk about it. You are truly an angel. Thank you.

    • I hear you JS. Just know I hear you. It’s so scary and for years I didn’t talk about it because I felt like I would be put away or locked up somewhere. The truth of the matter is that there are some amazing coaches, doctors, and therapists who can help support you during this time. I also believe that getting out of the toxic work environment you are in is so very crucial. I know it’s your job. Your livelihood. I also know that you are powerful beyond measure and can create any career or job opportunity you want if you just take on that challenge and believe in yourself. I believe in you. And I’m here to support and love you through this difficult time.

  20. Meshaelle says:

    I just want to offer encouragement to everyone fighting depression. There is always a reason to fight. It may not seem like it in the middle of the darkness but there is a reason. My brother lost his battle with depression 11 years ago. He started self-medicating as a teenager with drugs and alcohol. That lead to a life of addiction. He suffered. But he had so many that loved him no matter what. I loved my big brother and wish I had been able to help him more. When he died, my dreams also died. I dreamed of the day my big brother would return from the land of addiction and depression. I dreamed of family trips with him and his daughter and my family. His daughter had dreams for him also. The reason to fight is outside your head. The depression wants you to feel isolated but you aren’t. There are people who love you and care how you feel. Depression wants to isolate you and make you feel alone. That is the point to depression. It wants you to feel hopeless but that is so wrong. There is always hope! To family members of those fighting depression, keep fighting for them. It is not easy and you will have scars but it’s okay to be hurt when you still get to hug your loved one. Stand in the gap between depression and isolation. Thank you, Cynthia, for sharing this and I hope you and everyone else know there is always a reason to fight. Just look at the faces that you see each day. And know they are the reason to fight. Even if they don’t understand what you are going through they are there. I didn’t understand all my brother felt and battled but I would have stood by him had I known.

    • Thank you for being so beautifully vulnerable Meshaelle. I’m so very sorry for your loss and the pain you still struggle with. This, “To family members of those fighting depression, keep fighting for them. It is not easy and you will have scars but it’s okay to be hurt when you still get to hug your loved one. Stand in the gap between depression and isolation.” broke my heart because it’s the pain I inflict on others that hurts the worst. I can handle the pain in my own heart but it’s the destruction my darkness inflicts on others that is almost unbearable. It’s not just the people who suffer from depression that need the support. It’s their supporters as well. The ones with the scars. They deserve a standing ovation for their strength. Because without them, some of us wouldn’t be here.

      • Meshaelle says:

        Oh no! You don’t cause others pain. The pain comes from watching those we love suffer! That is the pain. Our loved one brings us joy. YOU don’t cause the pain. Depression causes the pain. The person suffering is worth the fight because they are the joy of our lives. I see depression almost as a being that haunts our loved one. I have seen this and it’s not the loved one that hurts us, it’s that other being that wants to inflict pain. Cynthia, YOU don’t cause the pain. So saying that the “pain I inflict on others that hurts the worst” is saying you are depression and you aren’t!! You bring joy to those around you!

  21. Chaya Dina says:

    Cynthia –
    You wrote a beautiful post. Thank you. You are a courageous woman.
    I understand shame so well. I am presently nearing the end of a long (four months so far) hospitalization in a psychiatric ward. Talk about stigma! I have been depressed and suicidal, but I am currently here for an eating disorder. However, there are many people here because they are depressed and/or have tried to kill themselves. They are not crazy, and they are such special souls! But they are struggling with such emotional pain.
    Cynthia, I have only responded to a blog post 6 or 7 times in my life, and I don’t really have any pearls of wisdom to offer anyone, but I am with you. You have touched me deeply. You should have only good.

    • Chaya Dina, I am sending you so much healing love and light in this moment. I’m so very proud of you for getting the help you need when you need it. That takes so much strength and courage! I love that you said, “They are not crazy, and they are such special souls! But they are struggling with such emotional pain.” This is SOOO very true! Some of us feel so much deeper than others and sometimes it’s just too much. As for not offering any perals of wisdom, I respectfully disagree. You being vulnerable enough to share your story and let people see your light will inspire so many. You will touch people that you will never meet or never know anything about – because you used the power of your voice. THAT is everything. I am in awe of you and will be supporting your journey from afar.

  22. Kristi says:

    I finished the ITN course last year, I started my second blog ready to make a commitment to it and share my journey and build my structure for my business. My life had fallen apart for the umpteenth time around July and I was struggling, hard. I’ve not been able to write for months, after reading this I got my blog out within 20 minutes. I was going to write about grief… But this is what underlies it all, what has been the background theme for my life since I was 12. I almost didn’t make it through last year, I was so close to pulling the blog. Thank you for your bravery in sharing this. I hope it’s OK that I referenced it in my own humble blog:

    • YES Kris! I’m so very proud of you! Your blog post is amazing and so transparent and I love that you shared it with us. You have a message to share. There is a reason you’ve been called to do this work. Please keep doing it. The world needs you and your courage.

  23. Kristi says:

    I finished the ITN course last year, I started my second blog ready to make a commitment to it and share my journey and build my structure for my business. My life had fallen apart for the umpteenth time around July and I was struggling, hard. I’ve not been able to write for months, after reading this I got my blog out within 20 minutes. I was going to write about grief… But this is what underlies it all, what has been the background theme for my life since I was 12. I almost didn’t make it through last year, I was so close to pulling the plug. Thank you for your bravery in sharing this. I hope it’s OK that I referenced it in my own humble blog:

  24. Sara says:

    Oh Cynthia! Thank you a million times for speaking out so truthfully and in a way that echoes my own feelings. I’m a 23 year “survivor”. I’ve had depression, since I was 13 – and put on Prozac. I’m holistic in my treatment now, and that wasn’t (isn’t) an easy transition. It’s still the same beast, just better treatment. But like you, my loved ones are still hurt by my hurt, when it’s too much to bear alone. When it shows up, I just cling to my “tools” of survival … To just Breathe, to not believe everything I think, to allow space for the dark clouds to BE. Sometimes bringing a lesson or new perspective, and then to finally.. pass. I’ve learned to get by, well-enough, until it’s over. I’ve learned acceptance. Sometimes it goes on alllll winter with only a few cracks of light. (Yes I amp the vit d and have a full spectrum light) But spring always comes. It will always come. Even after two failed attempts. Even after a horrible divorce. Even after being bullied. That hope and will to keep going, always comes. It really is harder for us depressives to not fall prey to the storms of life. An ignorant, but well-meaning person once said about my hopelessness while in a depressed state: “I’ve had bad things happen to me too, but I don’t allow them to control my life.” There are those who just won’t get it. It’s so common, so misunderstood, and yet…. 117 people a day we lose. So when we are so depressed and vulnerable, but met with feeling misunderstood or met with judgement – it can send us spiraling backward. And I know its so hard not to judge another… I still grasp with the words or know-how to just BE there for another who suffers. But it gets easier, just as my depression gets easier as I practice acceptance for it. I am broken too. And that’s OK. I respect you so much for the amazing work you’re doing everyday. And to all who commented, it really helps to read your comments. Love, hope and well wishes!

    • Thank you for your beautiful contribution to this powerful conversation Sara. And thank you for this reminder… “When it shows up, I just cling to my “tools” of survival … To just Breathe, to not believe everything I think, to allow space for the dark clouds to BE. Sometimes bringing a lesson or new perspective, and then to finally.. pass.” If we can just stay with it… just let it be, as you said, we can always overcome it.

      There are so many who don’t understand but it’s those of us speaking out like this that will change all of that. Sending you so much love and strength!

  25. Pam says:

    Cynthia…thanks for this beautiful share. This really resonated with me, especially regarding shame…this is where I too found that I was believing I was broken. One thing that has truly helped me was realizing that as heart centered beings it isn’t that we are ‘broken’, it’s that we (our hearts) become blocked and that’s where our healing lies, in uncovering and removing the blocks (toxic beliefs, toxic habits, toxic thoughts) that prevent us from seeing, feeling and experiencing our true nature and also helps release the pain of shame that so often comes with believing we’re broken. It does take great courage to stay present to the painful, dark places and times in our psyche and I so appreciate your willingness to do so day in and day out and share your journey with us! <3

  26. Teresa says:

    My Dearest, Beautiful Cynthia…You are truly a ray of light.

    I am a little late to the party, but I just read your blog post today.

    Wow! I do not even know what to say! I usually do not comment on posts, but I felt compelled to comment here.

    Thank you for sharing your story. I know that you are a private person and that you have a hard time baring your soul, and that makes your words that much more impactful. I appreciate your bravery and raw honesty.

    I hear you, and I get it! It is difficult to reach out to those that have not been there because they do not get it. They let you down. You just want someone to listen, and all they do is say things, like, “Just get over it.” or “Oh, you’ll be fine.” (My Mom once said to me, “Do I have to put you in an institution?”) As a result, you learn to just push people away and hold the pain inside.

    For as long as I can remember, I have struggled with depression, many times accompanied with suicidial thoughts. I often felt lonely even in a large group of people. No one understood the complete and utter emptiness inside. Sometimes, it felt like my heart was being squeezed out of existence. I know the feeling of holding the knife in my hand but not making the cut because I was thinking, “Well, I can’t do anything else right. I’ll probably screw this up, too.”

    Added to the depression is that life has been an uphill battle for me. As a child, I had an alcoholic father and was bullied at home and at school. As an adult, I survived a divorce, the death of my soul kitty, several job losses (due to businesses being closed), financial disaster, and the loss of my home.

    I am no longer suicidal, but those bouts of depression still come fast and hard. Despite that, I keep “getting back on the horse” because I know now that life is cyclical and that it will eventually pass. When the “broken” feeling comes, it is in sharing, caring, loving, and letting go of that which no longer serves (or never has served) me that I remember things happen FOR me and not TO me, and these things have made me the person I am today. I am beginning to see my purpose, and that is something you played a BIG part in.

    You have changed my life, and I am SO grateful to have you as one of my Earth teachers. You are such a special person. I have much respect and admiration for you. You are one of the strongest and most beautiful people I know, and I am so glad to have met you.

    Thank you for all you do.

    Sending you all my love…

    To everyone else who commented:
    Thank you for being brave enough to share your story. Your voice in your own words might be just what someone is needing to hear in one particular moment.

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