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.