That is a very sobering thought.
Six weeks after getting out of the hospital, I finally contacted my mentor.
He had been checking the obituaries.
And while I had stayed in touch with another person for over two years, I fell off the grid last summer and stopped responding to her emails.
I had the nerve, finally, to reach out today. Here’s what she wrote:
I am so glad to hear from you! I’ve been so worried. I knew something was wrong and quite frankly,
every once in awhile I googled just to see if an obituary would come up.
I can’t tell you how relieved I am! I’m so sorry to hear of your struggles, but it sounds like you did what you needed to do for your own health and well being. And thank goodness for that!
People care about me.
Wow, I never really thought about that. I mean, there have been times in my life that having people care about me mattered. But knowing that people care about me was never a huge priority. They were certainly welcome to do that, and it is heart-warming to know I have many, many friends.
But having people who really care about me?
I am still in shock that someone felt I was valuable enough to wonder whether I had taken my life. She actually thought about me from time to time. I am floored. After my hospitalization for depression, it has been my mission for the past year to value myself, just as I am, with no titles, just me.
This has been very, very hard.
READ MORE: What lens am I looking at myself through?
My entire life, so far, has been me, in relation to my job, my family, my hobbies, my writing, and my side businesses. I have used all of this to run away from me. I am too busy to face myself. Too busy to understand my strengths and areas of opportunity. Too busy to face my depression.
And then, one day, I was up against the wall, and only saw three choices.
This watershed moment has defined me for the past year. My first days out of the hospital were spent consuming everything I could to understand depression and how to live with it.
I have read books, and articles, spoken to Psychiatrists, therapists, and peer support, gone to all kinds of meetings. In October, I flew to Chicago for the 25th International SMART Conference.
By November, being the overachiever, I am, I had taken and passed three SMART RECOVERY courses.
This makes me able, with supervision, to start a SMART Recovery group. In fact, I was invited to consider starting one for a non-profit that had just gotten a grant for 5 new meetings in five local counties.
That idea kind of went to my head, but very quickly I reminded myself that I first need to get my house in order, putting my oxygen mask on, before helping others.
I set out to learn how to live as myself, first. Then I can help others again. I am sharing my blog with the world in the hopes others will see that there is hope, even when everything seems darkest. But I am still writing to work out my own ideas about emotions and living in the moment.
Until I have a better idea of how to live a balanced life with depression, other activities must take a back seat.
My concealed depression is written under the alias “Depression is not my boss.” I have certifications in SMART Recovery and am a Global Career Development Facilitator.
Last year, I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder.