You might think this is a simple enough question, but really, it's anything but.
Am I blue?
Well, my hair is. I joined my friend Cristi, from Motherhood Unadorned, in pledging to dye my hair blue for suicide prevention. Cristi is participating in a fundraising walk, and she said that if she reached her fundraising goal of $1500, she'd dye her hair blue. Well, it ended up being several of us offering to join her, and here I am, a member of the Blue Crew, the Band of Smurfs, #bluebloggers… whatever you want to call us.
I have *always* tried to put up a brave front. To “handle it,” to do my best to take care of the people around me as a priority.
And I paid the price. It took until this summer for me to realize that what I was feeling and thinking wasn't “normal” and that I needed some help. Thankful for my health insurance, they had me talking to a psychologist within a week, and a psychiatrist soon after that.
If you had asked me six months ago, I would have said “I understand that there's a stigma around mental illness, but it isn't something I'd have to deal with. I love my friends and family regardless, and no diagnosis is going to change that.”
And then I got prescribed medication to help me manage my depression, and I struggled.
I spent so much time thinking, writing and deleting, talking to friends. Should I or shouldn't I share this? I didn't want to drag my lighthearted lifestyle blog down into the heaviness of depression and suicidal thoughts. I didn't want to open this much of myself here.
And yet, here I am.
Already, there is a very real, completely palpable change in my daily mood. I thank the meds for bringing me back to center, for making this possible. And smaller things; I have the energy and motivation that was gone for so long… laundry goes (less ;-)) ignored. I've purged almost a dozen trash bags of junk from our home. I've lost ten of the thirty-ish pounds I've gained since transplant. It has had a positive impact on all aspects of my life.
So please. It's not OK to think about hurting yourself. Or others. Your family is NOT better off without you. There is an amazing world outside, and there are tools available to help if you aren't seeing it. Please. Ask for help. A doctor, a priest, a good friend, your spouse. These are people who are there for you, and who care about your well-being.
DO NOT suffer in silence. I did just that for too long, and am so grateful to those who encouraged me to step forward.
Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK
Band Back Together
Cristi @ Motherhood Unadorned says
Do you know how much I love you?! You are beautiful and courageous. I've been fighting the stigma of mental illness for a long time but I know it's not easy. Putting these words out are scary but I hope everyone will join me in sending you love and thanks for sharing this part of you with us. I'm grateful to know all of you. I'm glad you joined the blue crew. And I'm so proud of you for hitting publish. xo
Oh Lizz, I am crying here reading your story. Thank you for being so open! I really think you might help help someone by sharing these important words. I think you are fantastic!
Ali - My Suitcase Full of Tricks says
I think you're awesome. It's for a great cause and it actually looks really cute. And I'm glad to hear you're getting to a place in your life that you're most comfortable with.
Robin | Farewell, Stranger says
You did it! Good for you. It's okay to admit this. Freakishly hard, but okay. So proud of you, Lizz! And I'm so glad you're feeling better. There's just no reason to feel that way – something I've learned the hard way.
You're awesome, lady! Proud to be part of the blue crew with you!
It gets better 🙂 I promise. I've been there and taken the should have been lethal mix of various pills. I was young and stupid. I'm thankful it didn't work and that I was able to go on to have the life I had.
While my family was not better off without me, I was better off without them. I'm glad I was able to go out and do that and become the person I was meant to be 🙂
And I adore the blue 🙂 Special Effects is a great brand for it btw if you decide to keep it. Rinsing with cold water helps to keep it from washing out as fast. Also, bar keepers friend (liquid) gets the blue out of your tub.
Bewildered Bug says
Good for you to admit this hun! I'm proud of you and the blue looks beautiful on you!
I was diagnosed with depression about ten years ago too – I took myself off of my meds though and I struggled through it – my husband is the one who got me through everything.
It's amazing how many people are affected by this disease – I've been there myself so I know how close you can be without anyone around you knowing.
I am proud of you and all of the "smurf crew" for doing this!!
Lucinda K Porter says
Your bravery is what will bring us all to terms with this awful disease. You amaze and thrill me.
The Empress says
I love you.
I remember how I felt, when I sat in the therapists office, and thought to myself, "I'm just a little blue, that's all…a bit of talk therapy..and I'll learn some coping skills, and we'll be good as new."
When she silently wrote out a prescription, and told me my diagnosis, I burst into tears.
I said, exactly this: "Medication? I don't want to be on medication!"
Yeah, I just couldn't see that part of myself ,as me.
Now, I wonder what took me so long.
Now, I feel like THIS is more what I was meant to be.
Not the sad, lonely, scared, depressed can't even speak person I was for so many years.
I feel that THIS now, is who I truly am: before, I was just a woman trying to live while in a fog…just surviving, not true to anyone: living ashamed of what I felt.
And, now: I see. I am all of it. Good and Bad.
I am proud of you and I HOPE you feel my kindred love for you.
High five, blue mama.
Wow – Congratulations! Blue hair looks GREAT on you…as does your new thought process! I, for one, am VERY glad I got to meet you….
I've struggled with depression for almost five years. Since my amazing son was born. I always felt less than, unworthy, utterly alone. I suffered in silence and alone until I finally called a psychiatrist a few weeks ago. I've been on meds for about 3 weeks, so I am still hoping to feel different. Although I guess, in a way, I already do. I feel stronger having made the choice to take a step forward for myself, and for my son, to make sure I am around as he grows up. Thank you for sharing your story, and for spreading the word about mental illness. Thank you for making me know that I am not alone.
This is my first time visiting your site (via way of Robin) and I just wanted to thank you so much for advocating for all of us.
I never knew how bad a mental illness could be until I was diagnosed and walked down the dark path of wanting to end it all. People don't understand how evil these illnesses can be.
But this is why we need to keep talking about it. We need to keep educating…we need to keep reminding each other that we are not alone and that we are worth every single minute of this fight.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Xoxo
Natalie @MamaTrack says
So proud of you, for seeking help and admitting it. Sending hugs and support and love your way.
JJ @ 84thand3rd says
Wow, what a beautiful, brave post. And good for you on being strong enough to put this out there. Loving the new blue streak too, the pink was why I recognized you at BlogHer 🙂
Laurel H says
Love and light and courage! You are on the way to where you've always needed to be. Those who mind don't matter And those who matter don't mind. (Love from Dr Seuss too)
Kris Mulkey says
This message is so important. Thanks for sharing your story.
Love your blue hair!
(visiting from WOE)
I'm so glad you took the occasion to speak your truth and be vulnerable here about depression. I love your new look, and Im proud to call you my friend, too. Thank you for speaking bravely on behalf of those who haven't found their voice. *HUG*
Kid d says
You are a very strong and amazing woman for going through the things you have gone through and then having the courage to share it not only to help yourself but also to help others.
Sara Grambusch says
Wonderful post. You hair is AWESOME.
I'm glad you sought help and you are lucky you found a medication that works for you. I've suffered depression and other mental illnesses my whole life. You're not alone.
You are awesome. Thank you for sharing and being… well, not just being vulnerable, but being who you are. It really is a privilege to have you and your family in my life.
Rach (DonutsMama) says
Thank you for sharing this. I know it's hard. I'm proud of you for admitting it because you just helped a bunch of others, whether you realize it or not. I'm glad you are feeling happy again.
The Zoo says
All the best on your journey, you deserve it.
Lizz, I'm so proud of you for speaking out about this!
I know depression well. PPD pulled me deep into its shadows and I struggled to get out.
Your blue hair is wonderful and is a great reminder to you to keep fighting!
Galit Breen says
Brave, beautiful you. I love this. XO
Practical Parenting says
Thank you for posting. I lost my dad to suicide 13 years ago. Hd didn't think help could save him. It can. Good for you for talking.
Blue is your color my beautiful friend. Please know how much I would miss your smile if it was gone….love u Big!
You look excellent with blue hair and I'm glad you are sharing your story. You can help others.
Sharing some #bluebloggers love. Thank you for supporting our team and helping to spread awareness about suicide prevention! You look wonderful in BLUE! ~Tracie
I can't believe I just saw this!!
Love the blue. Love what it stands for. LOVE that you were able to get the help you need. It's a rough road but so worth it. xo
Such a serious, earnest and heartfelt post. Thank you for sharing.
And for telling me that the picture just wasn’t color cast. Because the title made me look to see if this was a photo editing question. 😉