By Marty Owens
“But it’s all right
When you’re caught in pain
And you feel the rain come down
It’s all right
When you find you way
Then you see it disappear
It’s all right
Though your garden’s gray
I know all your graces
Someday will flower
In a sweet sunshower”
Sunshower – Chris Cornell
Going into this week, I kind of had an idea of the next post for the blog but after hearing the news of Chris Cornell, I knew I needed to go a different direction before I could move on to the more positive post of my learning to deal better with my Persistent Depressive Disorder.
The unfortunate and sad news of Chris Cornell just shows, regardless how happy or successful a person may appear to you, you never know what inner daemons they are dealing with deep inside. Despite having a song title “My Depression”, people were surprised when Bruce Springsteen announced he had dealt with depression. But like a lot of people, most thought, what do they have to depressed about??? They are rich and famous! But does that exclude people from being able to be depressed? Despite outward appearances, nothing excludes anybody from the ability to be depressed or being affected by a mental illness.
Obviously, given all that I have been through and some of the low points I have hit the past few months, the news of Chris Cornell hit very close to me. Now, before you delve into things, I am not suicidal and yes my psychologist asked that as well as we discussed the situation with Chris Cornell. As I explained to my psychologist, the closest I could get to suicide would be to pack on my stuff in my car and disappear for awhile! I still have races to do! So, I am not offended if you did think that initially……..but rest assured, I’m Fine!
For years, that was my response to everybody who ever asked me how I was doing. Regardless of how I was feeling, my answer was always these two words. Whether if it was family or friends asking, the response was the same. A few times, my answer was honest and I was fine. Most of the time it was double edge sword reply. It was the answer to stop people from asking again at the same time it was cry for help.
Why did I not directly say I needed help or just say I was not fine? There are several reasons (while they may be stupid reasons):
The stigma of asking for help
My social anxiety
Feeling like a failure
I could handle it myself
Shame of possibly being clinically depressed
I was part of a very disturbing statistic in the treatment of depression and other mental illness. Depending on the study, it is either 1 in 4 or 1 in 5 people with suffer from a mental illness at some point in their life. Of that number, well over 50% will not seek or get the help the need. The major reason that is stated for such a disturbing number…..the shame of seeking help especially for depression. I was one of the ones who suffered from the fear of the stigma of getting help!
I am fortunate I was able to get over that shame and finally seek help. It might have been long overdue but I started. For my birthday, 12 days ago, I got new ink to remind myself of my answer for years but also a reminder to not be afraid to ask for help when needed. I found a tattoo online of the words “I’m Fine”. It was done in a font that when you flipped it over it would read “Save Me”. The way the tattoo faces people, they will read I’m Fine but when I look it, I read Save Me.
It is a reminder to me to not be afraid to ask for help or to not be afraid to discuss with people what I am going through.It is also a reminder that saving me starts with me. The ability to discuss this with people has become a lot easier the past few weeks especially as people have approached me about my blog and thanked me for doing this. I have even become more comfortable telling people I am seeing a psychologist and Thursday has now become known as “Therapy Thursday”!
This post is reminder to all that no matter how happy somebody may appear there could be something seriously bothering them deep down especially if you can see a difference in the person. If somebody seems down to you and they answer I’m Fine………..(they might be) but a few more prying questions could go along way.
Reproduced with permission, originally posted here