The news about Chester Bennington yesterday, really hit me hard. I feel this inclination to do something, anything at this point in time to help those who are suffering. Depression is real. Mental health issues can be so easily dismissed in the world we live in today. The pressures of society can sometimes feel too much to bear. It is easy to feel like we don’t belong. But I’m here to tell you… You do.
The past few years, I have been fighting depression. At first I didn’t even realize it was depression, to be quite honest. Doctors told me I was bi-polar. I hesitantly took to medication, and while I do believe that when you find the right medication it can do wonders, the wrong medication can worsen things to an immeasurable degree.
This eventually led me to my first outpatient experience in therapy. The program taught me a lot and there was a noticeable difference in my overall demeanor. As soon as I felt on track again, I was eager to get back to my regular life. The problem is… that wasn’t the switch. The switch comes from within, and I was not there yet. I was not resuming the coping mechanisms I was taught and I was back to bottling up feelings. Sure enough, my problems resurfaced, even more intensely than the last time. I was admitted to the hospital because I couldn’t bear the feelings I felt, the life I lived… I was in agony. Feeling all too much and nothing, at the same time.
You may be wondering what was so bad in my life that made me feel this way. There is no answer to this question, because all in all, my life was pretty grand. There were and are so many blessings around me, and the difference between now and then, is that now I can see them. My ego created a story that led me to my own suffering, and if I let it, my own demise. I think one of the key things is to notice the separation between your ego and your being. The ego that’s creating all this pain and suffering within you, is not you. The ego that’s fighting you through the past and future, is not you. You, are right now. If this sounds familiar to you, then maybe you have read The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. This book has inspired me in so many ways and has helped me work through my depression.
I am not saying that everyday I wake up feeling wonderful. I still have days (sometimes even a week or so) where I find myself sinking to that dark scary place again. But each time I am a little less scared. Sometimes I even carry a light with me. How? I guess you could say I found, the switch.
Here is a poem I wrote while I was hospitalized. This experience changed my life more than anyone will ever know. (Note: I do reference a nursery rhyme by John D Rockefeller in this poem called ‘A Wise Old Owl’. I do not claim that line to be my own, it was just a very significant quote that I incorporated in the midst of writing this poem.)
Behind the fluff
The arts & crafts
Soul searching distraction
The battle rages… on
Behind watered down eyes
In unfamiliar places
Sharing your truths to unrecognized faces
Hear yourself say the words aloud
Tears dripping down your face
The battle rages… on
Behind cracked doors
When your mind gets quiet
And your own heartbeat – so loud
You can’t deny it
You hold the key
To the cage
Should you choose to release it
The battle rages… on
Behind every shadow
A story unfolds
And like “the wise old owl that lives in an oak”
You choose to listen
Listen without judgement
Nor with pity in your eyes
Listen with compassion
Open up your mind
There’s a lesson to be learned here
Nothing left to compromise
You look out your window and see cotton candy skies
The battle rages…
Take off your armor
Lay down your weapons
And stare the enemy straight in the eye –
Only to see your own reflection
You’re at war with yourself
Only you can decide
Can you find the will to survive?
The battle rages… off
Reliving this poem gives me a rush of emotion and suddenly I am back there again, but in a clearer and better state of my mind. While it pains me to see that I reached that point in my life, I realize that the experience was necessary and saved me from my ego. You should never be ashamed of asking for help. We are here on this earth to help one another. Trust me, I have spent much of my life relying on help due to my own physical challenges (but I’ll save that story for a future post). If you are going through a hard time, I hope this article helps you in some way. I truly believe this topic should be spoken about more, so I am doing my part. This isn’t an easy story to share but if this helps one person going through a hard time, I consider it entirely worth it.
Crisis Text Line:
text ‘hello’ to 741741
National Suicide Hotline:
or text ‘Trevor’ to 1-202-304-1200
Trans Life Line
Quote of the Day: “What a liberation to realize that the ‘voice in my head’ is not who I am. Who am I then? The one who sees that.” -Eckhart Tolle
Question of the Day: What is one thing you are grateful for?