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Can I take a bit of your time…

Dear Friends,

You are reading this because you are an important person in my life and I want you to understand more about who I am and what I do.  I know that I can be difficult and sometimes I am sorry for that.  I know that I probably don’t need to be sorry, but I am.  In fact, I feel guilty for feeling sorry in the first place.  Ridiculous, I know. 

That’s how my brain works because I have depression…and yes, my mind is an exhausting place.  I want to give you this letter to help you understand a little more about what I go through, ask for some grace as I work some of my messes out, and to suggest a few ways that you can best support people like me, if you are willing.

The first thing that I want you to know is that I am trying.  Or rather, I am trying to try.  You see, 1 and 1 don’t always add up to 2 for me.  There are legitimate biological differences between me and someone who doesn’t live with depression, which makes this a really difficult uphill battle.  I am  literally fighting against my biology which tries to tell me that none of this is worth it and that I shouldn’t even try.  When people say things like “Just think positively,” or “It’s all in your head” it does not help at all.  I know that is in my head, but unfortunately it is not as easy as flipping a switch and suddenly feeling better.  There are circumstances that trigger my emotions and I am actively trying to work through what those are and prevent them from being a part of my life as much as can be.  I know that I have 1000’s of reasons to be happy and sometimes I feel like the worst person ever for feeling down despite them.

Fighting off depression is not a simple task.  If it was, I would have done it already. I’m a fighter. I actively try to take steps to better myself and steal some some of my life back from this depressive monster that has crept in like a black cloud raining all over my thoughts and feelings. 

The process will involve challenging my negative thought patterns, pushing myself to re-engage with things that I enjoy, working to forgive myself for letting things get so out of hand, and finding people that I trust to be on my team.  That is why you are reading this.  I want you to be on my team.

I know that I am not been the easiest person to be around sometimes .  Maybe my actions or inactions have even hurt you in some way.  The thing is, I need support to dig myself out of these patterns.  I don’t need a yes or no from you, but I want to share with you a few things that do and do not help in case you are ever willing to lend a hand to me or ANYONE dealing with this horrible disease.

For now, this has to be on my terms.  I am feeling more broken and fragile than I would like to admit.  Down the line, I might need a bit of a push, but for now tough love is not what I need.  That means unsolicited advice that worked for you or someone else is probably not helpful.  Unfortunately, there is no “one size fits all” approach to depression.  It is a very individualized sort of beast.

Also, being told that what I am going through is not that bad is very hurtful for me.  I know that it might not be logical for me to feel this way given life’s circumstances.  I know it could be worse and there are many others in the world who have it worse.  That’s just how depression works.  Intellectually knowing something and actively sharing positivity with other people, of which I do, are two very different experiences.  I’m working to make that more in sync.

Though my instinct tells me otherwise, I do try to surround myself with positive people.  Please have a little grace and forgiveness with me if I get irritated or act in off-putting ways.  Some days, I just want to be left alone, and need to be left alone.  Other days, I need you.  I DO want you to be here and I really appreciate you continuing to try.  I feel like a lot of people have given up on me.  I don’t want you to be one of them.  Probably the most helpful thing you can do for me is to let me know that you are here.  Sometimes, I forget that and feel alone alot. I won’t always know the best ways you can help me and you don’t have to either.  I mostly need to know that I am not on the journey alone.

Like I said, a big part of navigating through depression is finding ways to fight back against unhealthy patterns of thinking that we have all fallen into.  Sometimes it can be really helpful to have someone that we can rely on as a “logical barometer.”  Basically, I tell you what my train of thought is regarding a situation and you can tell me whether it makes sense or not.  You share how you as a non-depressed person, might interpret it.

That helps me practice reeling in the overgeneralizing, personalizing, and overall amplification of negative thoughts.  My thoughts usually start out rooted in reality, but they get blown out of proportion and you can definitely help me by non-judgmentally letting me know how far off my thinking has gone.  You don’t have to be “right” to help me out with this.  There really are no right or wrong answers, but I will be much better off if I have a few people that I can get input from when I am doubting my initial interpretation of things.

I am trying to do more.  This might mean that I am trying to get back to doing things that I enjoy because sometimes things can feel bland.  In doing so, I am trying to attach meaning and passion to a decision instead of just going through the motions.  If you invite me somewhere, I won’t always say “yes”.  Even if it is something as simple as a dinner or the movies, sometimes it feels like the weight of the world is literally crushing me and I will pass on almost every invitation.  Please keep inviting me.  Don’t need to waste your time trying to convince me, just don’t give up on me.  Keep offering.

Finally, I would be so grateful if you would help other people understand what I am going through, along with so many other people.  Hopefully at this point, you “get it” a little more.  Depression is something that we are told to keep a secret and so sometimes it is hard to share these negative feelings.  I want this letter to help you understand where your friends and family may be at some point in time.

If you are still reading this, that means that I was right about you.  You are amazing and a perfect addition to my depression fighting team.  Like I said before, I really am trying.  This is a tough battle and I don’t know how long it will take, but having allies like you will certainly make the process that much easier.  I am not asking for a blank slate.  I know that I can sometimes say or do things that make me not so pleasant to be around.  That’s the nature of the beast.  You are allowed to be upset, angry, hurt, or annoyed at those things.  I’ll just ask that you try to understand that these things are an expression of my depressive symptoms.

They may be a part of me but they are not the whole me.

I hope this letter helps you understand a little more about the other part of me that is dying for a chance to get out into the world.  When I make it to the other side, it is my passion to hold someone else’s hand as they battle the same things I have and will always continue to.

Sincerely and Much Love,

Beth

27 Comments

  • Pam Liewer

    Beth if ever need someone to talk to please call me. 913-367-5804. 7 years ago my husband was suicidal when I came home from work. Let me tell you that was the toughest part of my life I ever had to go through and I’m so glad that is all behind us. Please call if you need to❤️

    • Pam Liewer

      Please call me anytime you feel you need to. 913-367-5804. I went through this with my hubby 7 years ago. Thank the Lord it is all behind us.

      • Audra Dill

        Oh…do I understand. Some of that was as if I were writing it, even today. It’s a piece I wish we didn’t have to wear, and yet when I try to pretend it doesn’t exist, it creeps up even more. We were made to stick together I believe. Knowing we are not alone is a strength all on its own. Much love!

    • Renee Green

      I think you are Amazing! I know sometimes we try to hide what is really going on inside of ourselves! You are Not Alone Beth! Feel free to call on me anytime or any day-I’m here for you my friend 💜

  • Cheryl

    Beth, I think that you spoke from your heart and you are speaking for many of us. I’m 66 with over 50 years of clinical depression, a horrible and abusive dad and a few suicide attempts. I fight this disease every single day even with the blessings that I have. Most of my pain is physical which makes my mental health worse. 💔 I admire you and will be here for you and following you on your craft page my friend. 🤗💕😊

  • Gena Semenetz Grimm

    Sending much love and hugs. You are a great person. Praying God gives you the strength each and everyday. I to deal with depression.I take two meds everyday to help me get through my days. Now with the warm weather coming in and being more active is a plus for me. The winter gloomy months are harder for me. Trying to manage and ask God to help and guide me. Much love and understanding to you Beth. Always here and support you my friend. ♥️🥰🌺🙏🏻

  • Linda J Gleeson

    I understand and will remain your friend and confidant all the time a quick hello and I can hello back then I can read every word you need to release or call my text number anytime. At 67 I have to still fight the battle and the battle is lonely. So if one night you need to vent dial my number. As always your friend. Love and hugs Beth💞🌸💞

    • Linda

      Beth, you are a sweet person and don’t allow satan to be little you. Your life has been and will be rough at different times with the depression. It is worse and much harder to fight if you have a backset. But satans spirits can only have what we give them because you have Jesus now and his Almighty Spirit. Greater is he that is within you than he that is in the world. Depression is a nasty enemy. You have my prayers and support. Gods blessings. Scripture is the best fighter and prayer. Jesus even knows our cry’s. It’s ok. 🥰 you. 🙏🏻

  • Barb

    I think you are an amazing writer: You described me! I get it and I will hold your hand and walk with you. Thanks for being you.

  • Joanne Wick

    Beth, I’m so sorry you are going through this. I read this letter and kept thinking to myself…Yes I know how she feels. I too suffer from depression and ADHD. I know how hard it can be to keep your thoughts on the right track. I watch you in your business and in your personal life that you share on FB and you inspire me so much!! Please know that I am always here with a listening ear and can always give a word of advice if you ever need it. I’m with you my friend.

    Hugs
    Joanne W.

  • Lois Baxter

    Dearest Beth, Reading the comments makes me realize that you are definitely not alone. I never would have known about this burden you carry, if you had not shared. I do not fully understand, but I will pray for you! I am a great believer in the power of prayer. I also wanna say that if you have something specific and urgent for which you need prayer, feel free to ask me to pray about that anytime. Also, I know some people feel guilty for seeking professional help with depression, or feel like that should do it without medicine. I hope and pray that you do not feel that way, cuz I know it can help. I deal with way too much negative self talk in my head, so I kind of get that part. May God give you grace and strength to reach out for His help and that of others. Love and hugs❣️

  • Kay

    Beth I understand what you are saying. You sound like me and from reading the comments, just like a lot of people. Depression is a horrible disease and something people are just beginning to talk about. It’s nice to know I am not alone in my struggles. I’m proud of you! You are such an amazing person and your faith and enthusiasm help many of us get through the day! Your love of crafting and your talent is very inspiring to us. Keep up the great work and if you ever need someone to talk to I’m here for you. Prayers for you and may God be with you! Love and hugs!

  • Sharon Walls

    Beth, I to battle depression. I feel sometimes I am in a black hole I can’t come out of. I have no solutions for it because as you said, it is individual winter is worse because it’s cold and dark, for me using a light box helps. Keep doing what you are doing to stay one step ahead of the beast. If you can get several steps ahead, ….that is a good place to be. Sending hugs and love

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