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More Than Sadness

My depression had been taking a respite for about 2.5 years. I knew it wasn’t gone but I was enjoying the vacation from the torment. I was enjoying the space to weather bad days without a wrecking ball crashing through. I was enjoying the quiet.

Then COVID-19 hit.

It brought along my depression.

The creep was slow but relentless. I watched the shadows appear. I felt the dread manifest. It was a constant drip that turned into a tsunami.

My trick is to stand away from myself and watch. This has pluses and minuses. It’s easier to meditate and practice non-attachment, but also tosses aside compassion for myself.

Finding the balance can save my life.

A little aside, I’m not writing this as a plea for help. That’s not the intent. My point is to remind everyone that we never know what’s going on inside someone’s head. You can see a smiling face and there are tears behind the mask. A mad growl can be hiding fear. We just never know. People lie all the time.

On a bad day last week I sent out a tweet as I headed out for a walk. Yes, sometimes I take my depression out for a walk. The tweet was offhand, sent without an agenda.

During that walk I thought nothing mattered anymore. Nothing. What was the use?

When I got back home I read the responses from the tweet and was floored.

There were over 11,000 impressions. Many direct messages. All unexpected.

The next morning I woke up and the depression was still hovering. Still there, but manageable. Still there, but set aside enough for me to get on with my day.

I’m sharing this story because everything matters. You matter. And clearly your actions matter.

It takes an army to keep depression at bay. You never know if you’re one of the soldiers that’s helping fight the fight and fortifying the defenses.

To all those people that liked the tweet, sent a note, even just took a second to read my words.

Thank you.

Everything matters and kindness can make the difference.

 

 

The Depression Dance

I battle depression but it’s not always a fight…

Sometimes it’s a negotiation.

Sometimes even a partnership.

Lately there has been some give and take.

Life changes, the disease changes and I’ve certainly changed.

I believe the trick is to live a life where you can learn what can help.

Luckily it’s 2017 and the concept of depression is becoming widely known. The Bell Let’s Talk campaign is brilliant for getting the word out and rallying the troops. I give credit to each person that suffers and is brave enough to come forward and confront the stigma.

You see, depression is not prejudiced. It doesn’t care what colour you are or what religion you follow. It doesn’t care where you were born or who you like to have sex with. Rich, poor, famous or a no-name; depression can climb inside anyone. It can strike at any time.

I’ve been inspired by a local writer, Owen Laukkanen, and the way he’s transparent about his struggles. I’m guessing Owen has been a beacon of hope for many in his huge fan base.

Owen is one of the reasons I started to put more effort into my photography.

As more people share their stories I embrace the fact that I’m part of a huge community.  Even better? Some of these people are pretty cool. It’s like an elite club with a harsh entry fee. But once you’re in and look around you wonder at the incredible people who share your journey.

Lately, to ease my mind and give the semblance of moving forward, I’ve been walking at least 10k a day. It wasn’t a plan and I wasn’t in distress but the concept seemed right. Having a fitbit has helped to keep me honest. To make the hours I spend out there a little more interesting, I started taking pictures. It’s odd how your mind can be consumed with looking for a perfect shot to post on social media. There’s nothing like that type of one-pointed concentration to positively focus the mind.

And the extra added bonus… When reaction to the picture is positive the endeavour comes full circle. Motivation, meditation, magic. It’s rewarding to share the moment.

So this blog is to thank each and every one that has liked or loved or commented on one of my “walking” pictures.

As for my long standing dance with depression…

There’s no guarantee who will be the ultimate winner. A fighting chance is all I can ask for.