Friday, August 22, 2014

A sad week, but also an interesting one

I can say one thing about the past week, it has been interesting.
Often, one day blurs into the next as we trudge through our daily routines without giving life and what it has to offer much thought.
You get up, you to to work, you come home, you go to sleep, you get up, you go to work...
It's like being on a treadmill without the benefit of burning calories and losing weight.
Some people live more rambunctious lives where they are always going somewhere and doing something, but for the majority of us, life boils down to routine with the occasional break known as a vacation.
This is where we leave our big home to rent little homes in places we don't live in an effort to put the daily grind on hold for a couple weeks and get refreshed and recharged.
Sometimes we even bring little, portable homes with us to live in as we explore other parts of the world. Other times, we rent those little homes and who doesn't like staying at a hotel where you don't have to make your own bed, tidy up or even cook?
But this past week, the usual murmuring of my weekly routine was thrown into a tailspin by two events: one I had no control over, but the other was by my own hand.
The first was the memorial service for my mother in law. A much-loved member of our family, the service brought siblings, friends and family members from far and wide to pay their respects. My usually quiet home became the gathering point for many of the out-of-towners. It was good to see them and it definitely broke with routine.
The other event that changed my week was my column on depression that was published last Sunday.
The admission I struggle with mental health issues has put me in touch with a lot of people who walk a similar path.
It is a dark path and at times a very dangerous path, but what can be perceived as a lonely, desolate trail winding its way through the dark forest of an unsettled mind, is actually full of people all looking for the same thing: peace and freedom.
Many people relayed stories of their own struggles with depression and a couple even said I may have saved lives by writing what I did. I don't know about that, and never even thought of it in those terms. I just felt the time was right to bring the darkness into the light.
Many called it brave, but to be honest with you I never saw myself as being brave for writing about it.
I just wanted people to know they are not alone in their struggles, that help is available and that the narrow path is actually a six-lane super highway crammed with people walking the same walk.
It is not a case of misery loves company, but strength in numbers.
I have been encouraged, buoyed and, I must admit, a little relived to find so many kindred spirits out there.
It was interesting to hear from friends and co-workers who had no idea of the near incapacitating pain that accompanies me on so many occasions. I guess I really did hide it well.
I wonder how many other people suffer in silence. How many others are out there think they are alone. How any others are sitting silently, isolated by the darkness.
The issues of mental health were brought to the forefront by the suicide of actor Robin Williams earlier this month.
But it won't be long before the fervor calms down as the next topic of the day grabs the public interest and the focus on mental health will fade. But hopefully, out of the tragedy of his death can come the victory of awareness and healing.
Talking about it will break down the stigma surrounding mental health issues, and hopefully it will show people they are not the only ones and help is at hand.

Copywrite 2014 Darren handschuh

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