Monday, September 9, 2013

An Exceptionally Important Post

This post isn't about running...or it is, but not directly.

This week is Suicide Prevention Week. I've known so many people affected by suicide and depression - some of my favorite people, relatives, closest friends, myself - and no time is better than now to remind everyone that you're valuable and deserve to be here.

I'm not going to go deep into my own story. I don't know yet if I'm ready to air that dirty laundry. But I did battle depression for years, and sometimes I still fight with its sneaky undertow.

Running has made a huge difference in my life and has kept my depression at bay longer than it ever has been. It has helped to ease my anxiety, increase my self-worth, and balance my moods. I've talked a little about it here.

As a teacher, I see students struggling with depression to the point that it leads to self-harm, and that too is very familiar to me. It breaks my heart to see bright, funny, witty, intelligent, critical, and insightful young people battling internally.

The Bloggess has posted an excellent blog entry today full of helpful links and hotlines for anyone needing help and support. Remember that you are not alone; believe it or not, there are people out there who understand your pain and want to help you transcend it.

If you or anyone you know is struggling, please click her post.

Also, To Write Love on Her Arms, an organization geared towards raising awareness and support for teens dealing with depression, is working to remind us all about why we are irreplaceable. It's a great way to remind yourself that you have an impact and make a difference.
They're a great organization! If you are a teen - or know and love a teen - it's worth looking into.
 Another helpful site, especially this week, is PostSecret.

Remember that darkness passes. In the meantime, there are people out there who can help. Don't let depression silence you.

ABK

15 comments:

Kristina @ Blog About Running said...

Such an important message. I would just add to anyone who read your post and is battling with depression that it's okay to reach out for help.

For me, life was a balance between days where I thought I was being strong by holding it all in and crying myself to sleep and days where I wanted so badly to reach out for help but I was too ashamed and embarrassed.

No one ever stopped and told me it was okay to ask for help. Everyone just ignored that anything was wrong with me, and made up excuses for why I was acting the way I was. And I was only too happy to let those excuses stand.

Perhaps if someone had just said "it's okay to ask for help" on the days that I so badly wanted to, I would have. I don't know that I would have, but maybe...

So I just want to say that it's okay to ask for help. It sounds intensely scary but it will feel like such a relief in the end.

Ali K. said...

Yes, this, so much! Depression is still stigmatized, but given how many people deal with it throughout their lives, there's no reason for that stigma. Asking for help is sometimes the hardest part, but it's the most important step, and it's 100% absolutely okay to ask.

No one has to go it alone.

Thank you for adding this!

Liz Bierly said...

One of the reasons I am really craving running right now - mood balance and self image/worth.

Run like a G! said...

Thanks for posting this Ali!
Last year around this time, I was using my old blog still and I posted about suicide prevention as a sign I needed help. No one responded but luckily I was able to pull myself out of that and fall in love with running again.

Like you said, darkness passes...and before we know it is morning again, a brand new day.

Emma said...

Thanks for posting. Fortunately I do not (knowingly) know anyone battling this but i'm sure someone I know secretly is or has.
emma @ a mom runs this town

Ali K. said...

Running is a good way to help ourselves, but it shouldn't be the only way. If you're struggling, please talk to someone.

Ali K. said...

I'm so glad you pulled yourself out...My world would be darker without you in it!

Ali K. said...

Unfortunately, it's such a quiet and sneaky illness, and people are often ashamed to come forward. Destigmatizing depression is half the battle!

keepcalmandjustrun said...

Good post. Yes, I began running as a way to combat depression. When I had to stop due to injury, it just pulled me further into what I was going through.

I think part of the problem is because people don't talk about it, they think they're alone. One of the books that made me realize I had been depressed almost my entire life is You Are Not Alone by Julia Thorne. Also (and I don't think this is talked about enough), if you don't find a good therapist immediately, try someone else. It's so worth it in the end!

NotRachem said...

Running is my therapy. Thanks for talking about the difficult things. Postsecret is one of my very favorite websites and I loved this week's post. People are embarrassed about being depressed, but talking to someone will only make things better. You're great!

Michelle @ Running More Than Errands said...

This is a great post. In the danger of really putting myself out there, I am currently battling a mild-moderate case of postpartum depression. It started after my daughter was born but got worse after my son was born. There was just a lot of stress from different angles that hit me all at once. Running has been helping tremendously but I still have good and bad days.

Ali K. said...

PostSecret is the best :o) I, too, loved, that this week the site focused on suicide prevention.

Ali K. said...

I'm sorry to hear you're battling PPD, but it's good that you are aware of it. So many mothers I've known are in denial of their symptoms, not wanting to admit to some kind of "imperfection" as a new mom. I'm glad running is helping you, and I hope you're getting the other help and support you need at home and from a doctor!

Annie Crow said...

Thanks for doing this, Ali. I spent a long time mildly depressed (and a lot anxious) and then got to taste it again with post-partum depression after my first child. A really good therapist and some time in 12-step communities helped with the long-term stuff and time did with the post-partum round. I live so far from depression/anxiety now that I forget about that part of my life (and I think running makes a huge difference along with the thinking skills I learned and internalized), but I need to remember so that I can be of help to others and in case it comes to visit again. My husband is (has been) struggling with both depression and anxiety for a long time but refuses to seek professional help...

Ali K. said...

It's such a relief to be personally separated from depression for the most part now, although I feel like last year I flirted with it a little bit after my half marathon because of post-race symptoms. It's so hard to see someone we love struggling with depression but unwilling to seek help. Your husband sounds like such a strong, supportive partner from all you say about him...I hope he's finding help or support that works for him, even if he's not ready to see a professional.