Saturday, February 7, 2015

#DayofLight 3 Days Late

What is #DayOfLight?

The first Day of Light was on February 5th, 2014 and was created to shine a light on depression and share resources for those who are struggling. Bloggers from all over the country are collaborating again on Wednesday, February 4th, 2015 to flood social media with personal stories about living with depression, and accurate information on managing and living with the mental illness. Depression is often an illness of isolation.

How Can You Participate? Write a blog post sharing your personal experience of depression and/or share resources to help others. Add the #DayOfLight hashtag in your post title.

You are not alone.


When I was five, I was playing alone in my room upstairs when I heard the Beatles' song “Yesterday” on the radio. Before Paul McCartney finished the last pull on yesterday, I felt something stronger than myself, come over me.

I couldn't explain it, other than I wanted to run out of the room and not be alone anymore. Minutes earlier, I had been busy and content, sitting among my dolls and miniature tea set, when this outwardly force bulldozed into the room and began sucking up the oxygen around me.

It was as if a 500 pound sack had been thrown on my chest.

Running downstairs, wide-eyed and panting, I sought my grandmother. She was in the kitchen, humming as she pinched the ends off of our dinner's string beans. When I saw her, I slapped my small arms around her waist and squeezed my eyes shut, as if eliminating my vision would stop the darkness that being alone felt like. With one arm she reached for me, calming me in Spanish. She asked no questions, and I stayed with her, frightened.

As I grew older, I learned that some music scared me. Melodies and lyrics took hold of me and switched out my emotions for the more powerful ones of the words' intent. Thoughts filled my mind and they made my heart race. More than anything, lyrics and a somber melody reminded me how alone we are.

Hard to believe, that someone as young as 5 years old, is able to think like this, and fear loneliness. When I grew up I spoke to a therapist about these early memories. She told me that depression is often felt as isolation. What I was telling her, was indicative of early onset childhood depression. I think of what I would have thought back then, had I known that my lifetime to be, would have been one living with the fight of never fitting in, of always being on the periphery, of the classic feelings of isolation that depression brings.

I also wonder, without this part of me already being in my DNA, what my life would have been like.

I imagine DNA as the wizard behind the curtain of this depression. Pulling the levers, drowning out reality until it becomes an altered one. The presence of this wizard shows no favorites, our entire household was made up of six siblings, every one of us with a control panel of our own, steering us toward isolation and private worlds. Our home was quiet – without shouting or fighting or the sibling altercations that are common with six children living together. Our own wizards drowning out any reaching out or interaction with each other.

If it's hard to imagine a house with six children, being as still and quiet as one at midnight, then you'll know just how unheard of that is. We didn't fight, we didn't bicker. When I entered a school friend's house, and walked into voices and life abounding, I stood back, culture shock. This was unfamiliar. Was this Family? Did they like each other? Were they talking? How does anyone venture out over the voice in their head consuming all mental energy?

We didn't talk in my house.

I accepted it then, as a child accepts anything he grows up with. But I understand it now. There is no time or space when the thoughts you are busy answering are your battlefront. Your mind can't wander outside of itself  when it's beating down the wolf at the door that's keeping you in.

Life with depression is exhausting, isolating, and physical. Your arms ache from pushing against depression itself. Your jaw tenses with enough force to crack a tooth, temples pound making you see the blue of your veins behind closed eyes. Your fingers crackle with the opening and closing of exercises your therapist gave you to release the pent up tension that depression brings as a bonus.

Is this a sad way to live?

It sounds like it would be, but learning why people like me, the ones who have depression imprinted in them as physical as a set of fingerprints, brings an ethereal respect to our hope and commitment. Life is a beautiful struggle. Life with depression is a challenge, and acknowledging our determination to work through it, has filled me with a tenderness for myself and that tiny girl so easily moved by music and who she grew up to be.
A tireless warrior who never gave up, and finds compassion for herself daily. 
* * *


  1. Love this.
    Love you.

    Music does something similar to me. I feel the chords twining into my limbs and bones and I feel understood. Until the plasma-water connection swirls me down the drain and I can't get back out.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  2. its hard being in a house where there is no talking..
    and to think of a child so young haveing early onset depression
    as well...i had some rough points in my childhood...and may have had a touch ---

  3. You are a tireless warrior. Thinking of you and sending you my love.

  4. Not only have you not given up, but have helped give a voice and shoulder to so many others in the fight. xoxox



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