Welcome to another week of Speak Up for Silence. If you want to learn more about this series, please read this. Also, be sure to visit Christine's blog as she's sharing another person's story. Today's post is so, so good. The message is one of grace towards those who don't understand mental illness, and forgiveness. I can't say enough good things.
It's not discussed in our house, but I got my depression and anxiety from my dad.
Last year my family took a road trip. The vacation was fun but tempers flared on the way home, especially between my dad and me. (It's rare for us to fight with one another.) I could feel myself slipping... I could feel all the emotions flood my body and then leave, all at once. I could feel my hate, anger, and frustration dissolve into nothing. I felt my mind shut everything off and my mouth respond with indifference. And I saw my Dad do the exact same thing. We both cried silently as I drove down the highway. When we stopped for food I refused to leave the car. I couldn't stop crying and I felt so anxious I thought I was going to vomit.
My dad finally saw it. He finally saw that my 23 year-old breakdown was all too familiar. Not only did it happen A LOT in my teen years, but he felt all the emotions and then nothing at all- just like I did. After some time alone I calmed down and joined my family in the restaurant, but my parents were forced to see the emotions I'd been hiding throughout my teens.
On the way home we learned that Robin Williams had died from depression. Nothing could've hammered the threat of depression deeper. I look back on the vacation fondly, but I won't forget the lesson my parents learned in the car that day.
My husband was unable to join us on that trip. (If he'd been there he would've picked up on my anxiety before I lost control.) After we got back my mom told my husband that she regretted not getting me help in my teen years. I cried when he shared that with me. Nothing can "fix" my rough teen years, but hearing my mom say that she knows I need/needed help was everything.
Sometimes people don't understand, but it doesn't mean they don't want to. It's hard for me to be patient. It's hard for me to show love. It's hard to release my emotions without losing control of them. And sometimes it's hard for people to understand that. But don't give up- on them or yourself.
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