Yesterday We Lived Forever

In these times you have to be an optimist to open your eyes when you awake in the morning.

– Carl Sandburg

It is not easy to write about depression. From the perspective of the sufferer – in this case myself – there are several reasons to avoid doing so. First of all, on days it’s difficult to open my eyes in the morning, I rarely have the energy or ambition to write anything. Forcing myself to write about how I’m feeling can be an added stress, which isn’t always good self care. And, though times of such gloominess are most likely to accomplish representing the depressed mind with any honest clarity, things are not often clear enough to write words anyone can see through the fog. One of the main reasons for keeping quiet, however, has very little to do with the actual illness.

The stigma associated with mental illness not only invades popular cultural beliefs, but the minds of the people who suffer as well. Nobody wants to be thought of as “crazy,” right? And so, thousands of people keep their mouths shut for fear of prompting a trickle down effect, which often begins with alcohol abuse, and rarely ends with anything but a pitiless muddle.

There is a very real danger to speaking out about depression. There is a very real danger in not speaking out about depression. The only thing that makes sense to me, if I want to survive, is to take the risk and write about it all.

And I do want to survive. There are times when I feel like giving up, but I know people love me. Understanding that keeps me alive on days I can relate to Robin Williams and Chris Cornell. For as much as I understand the anguish, it is difficult for me to understand any action that would end it all. There are several reasons for that as well, but having a dialogue about depression is a multi-layered situation. It will take time, but it will be worth every second.

green horse grazes on black flowers

gazing softly into space

yesterday we lived forever

the grasses grew into the clouds

from “Yesterday We Lived Forever,” by Clara Engel

We find meaning in music. Art of all types, really, and we find comfort in escaping into imaginary places. I have come to appreciate art as the driving force behind all existence, and I very much doubt any of us would still be here without it. Through my writing, I will explore every angle of depression I can think of. I will share my observations with anyone who’ll listen. I will not, however, be spending any time trying to force anyone to understand.

I suspect I’ll find my share of negativity on this journey – from my mind, to the page, to the public eye, and back. I’m most looking forward to the unsuspected positivity, which I’m absolutely positive exists out there… somewhere beyond the obvious. If you are reading this and suffer from this invisible illness as well, or if you love someone who does, I encourage you to keep an eye out for those bright moments. Write them down. Keep them in a jar. Open them as a family, or a group of friends, when things are looking bleak.

Be kind to yourelves.

J.

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