This won’t be my most eloquent post ever. It won’t be particularly organized or flow in the way I’d prefer. It’s just my attempt to work through some feelings–and hopefully continue to shed light on an issue that is woefully problematic in modern society.

Today is the first day of Mental Health Awareness Month. And I’m acutely aware.

I’m thinking about Naomi Judd, who lost her battle with mental illness yesterday. And my friend Joshua Stoddard who lost his battle just before Christmas. I’m thinking about my own battle–and how that word feels so apt.

For those of us who struggle with depression, anxiety, OCD, and other mental health issues, every day can feel like a fight–and not one society has much genuine interest in joining us for.

My ongoing struggle with depression is the single most lonely experience of my life.

Yesterday, I got walloped with what I have previously called my heavy blanket. It was triggered by the usual culprits–I experience rejection or loss of some sort, and it leaves me with the sense that I am failing at life and have no hope for redemption or fulfillment, that I would be better off dead. (If this is uncomfortable for you to read, you are not alone–I, too, am quite uncomfortable with this reality of mine.)

These feelings are as familiar to me as my own reflection in the mirror. I know them intimately. For a long time, I probably kept quiet about them, not knowing what to say or feeling shame at their sharing. Still I often hide away from the world in my “bad place.” But over time, I have come to engage with the feelings in the way that I engage with the rest of my life–honestly and authentically. And often with apology.

I am sorry. I’m sorry to be having these feelings of hopelessness. And sorry to be mucking up someone else’s day with them.

And yet.

Last night I called a friend and said “I’m feeling afraid to be alone.” She came over, and I weeped as she laid in bed with me, stroking my hair. Just like here–more so probably–I didn’t have eloquent words, only raw, ugly emotions. And she met them with kindness.

Today, I reached out to a friend and mentor and said “I’m having one of those days when you tell me I should call you. Even though I don’t what to say, that’s what I’m doing” She met me with love–and, I believe, with gratitude at having been the one I chose to call.

Here’s the deal: this shit sucks. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again–I don’t blame Naomi. I don’t blame Josh. In some ways, I’m envious of them. And that’s probably really uncomfortable for you to read. But it’s my truth. And that’s the only way I’ll tell it.

This month–and everyday–I want to contribute to more awareness of issues of mental health. I don’t know what difference it will make, but I feel like I owe it to Naomi and Joshua and all those who’ve come before and will come after. You are not alone.

We’re in this battle together. (And I’m so so very sorry you were tired from the fight.)

12 thoughts on “This Battle

  1. You are not alone. I’ve had depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember. I am so glad that it is finally talked about, Out Loud. So those of us don’t have to feel alone any longer. So my daughters can grow up suffering from an incurable ailment but know they are not alone in this world. There are many of us. And we are all here for the other. Although I may not know your battle, I do know your pain.

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  2. I too have fought the battle of depression and anxiety. Right now I’m beating my depression, but there are days it wins. My anxiety always seems to win. Anytime I leave the house, it’s right there with me. I may come across as a “bitch” to some people, because I’m quiet, but really it’s just my anxiety winning. I’m still dealing with issues from losing someone to suicide. It was 6 years ago in April. I still feel the guilt and always will. I still ask myself, what if…. But I’ll never know. It sucks!
    Thinking of you and hoping you continue fighting ❤️

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    1. “There are days it wins.” I hear that. And with regards to the doctor, I believe with all my heart there’s nothing you could have done. I know you’ve heard that before-and I also understand your profound sadness at it all still today. Big hugs! ❤️

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  3. EB, I’m so glad you continue sharing yourself, your true, unadulterated, clearly focused self. Repeating the words over and over help all of us come to attention. Tune in to others, work to connect rather than disconnect to those we love and those we don’t even know. You call us to do the hard stuff. Be present, holding space for the pain that curses through your being. I’m proud of your post. Sad you are sad, and happy for your spirt that continues the work of sparking illumination on this thing called mental health. This thing, that so many want to sweep under the rug and hide from the light of day. Love you friend. So glad you continue to fight and stay among us.

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  4. I’m proud of you for knowing when you need that extra support and using those who say will be there. Keep advocating for yourself and others that you may not know are struggling. Your words are very powerful even if you didn’t feel you had a straight train of thought.

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  5. You are a very powerful and inspirational woman, even though I know you don’t often feel like it. You are courageous, generous, and loving. We all have our struggles, and for that, I am thankful that you openly share about yours. Rainbows and unicorns and celebrations might bring us together, but unfiltered, raw, and authentic emotions are what make us (you and me, the world) CLOSE. It’s how you find your people. Thank you for always be honest, even when it’s hard. I love you so much!

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  6. So proud of you and humbled by your honesty and willingness to reach out and ask for help and support. You may not see this, but you are truly helping a lot of people. What you are going is a lesson for all of us on so many levels. Please continue to talk to us all, educate us, let us know that it’s ok to have bad days. Love you, dear one, love you!

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