fireun: (To Write Love)
I am an avid follow of BoingBoing, and Cory's post this morning resonated with me, in many ways. It is a magnificent tribute from one friend to another. It is a heartfelt reminder that while you are alive there is hope. It is damn well worth the read.

"But Aaron was also a person who'd had problems with depression for many years. He'd written about the subject publicly, and talked about it with his friends.

I don't know if it's productive to speculate about that, but here's a thing that I do wonder about this morning, and that I hope you'll think about, too. I don't know for sure whether Aaron understood that any of us, any of his friends, would have taken a call from him at any hour of the day or night. I don't know if he understood that wherever he was, there were people who cared about him, who admired him, who would get on a plane or a bus or on a video-call and talk to him.

Because whatever problems Aaron was facing, killing himself didn't solve them. Whatever problems Aaron was facing, they will go unsolved forever. If he was lonely, he will never again be embraced by his friends. If he was despairing of the fight, he will never again rally his comrades with brilliant strategies and leadership. If he was sorrowing, he will never again be lifted from it.

Depression strikes so many of us. I've struggled with it, been so low I couldn't see the sky, and found my way back again, though I never thought I would. Talking to people, doing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, seeking out a counsellor or a Samaritan -- all of these have a chance of bringing you back from those depths. Where there's life, there's hope. Living people can change things, dead people cannot."

-'RIP, Aaron Swartz', by Cory Doctorow. 1/12/2013. BoingBoing

A Year

Jul. 29th, 2012 03:38 pm
fireun: (Default)

A year ago today I lost a sister, under some of the most world-shattering circumstances imaginable. Two weeks before then, she had been chatting with me, planning when she was going to visit with her fiance. I was excited- we had fought on and off over the years, as sisters do, and finally we had been getting along so well. And she was going to come visit. I was so damn excited. But then she was gone. I lost my home a month later to catastrophic flooding, and almost all of my possessions with it, and little by little the things my sister left behind have worked their way into my life and home. They cause tears some days, but more than that they are a good reminder. They soothe.

Suicide is a mess. For everyone. I will be a long time trying to get what pieces of life I can to fit back together. I will be a long time working to settle my own issues with depression and anxiety into this new world where people I know can kill themselves at the drop of a hat. Suicide was something that happened to other people- not to me. But since I lost Teresa I have lost an ex-boyfriend and a friend. All within a year. It is a new worldview I am trying to get used to the taste of, and while it is not to my liking it is not going to go away. I am so lucky in my support system- friends, [ profile] djkc, my remaining sister, parents and extended family. I am lucky in the relationship I have developed with the folks over at To Write Love On Her Arms. TWLOHA sent flowers to my parents in memory of my sister. Unexpected, unasked, and beautiful. They are an amazing organization and I am proud to support them, and I hope I am doing at least half as good as T would have.

To explain the cake. [ profile] djkc and I have developed a sort of system of 'celebrating' the rough/shitty things in life with cookie cakes. As far as coping mechanisms go for me, not too shabby. And it really does let us laugh like hell at things that need a smile. Have you ever walked into a bakery and tried to order a cookie cake in your sister's memory before? This was the most appropriate thing we could think of to have written on it (the only thing we could think of that wouldn't have horrified the clerk). Lots of frosting and whimsical butterflies. I like to think T would have liked it.

Especially once Cow Cat tried to eat it.

fireun: (balthier to the side)
It hits hard for me- my sister, my ex boyfriend, and now another friend- suicides all within a year. There are so many conversations I wish I had had, smiles I miss. Hugs. Laughs. Irreverent conversation, deep thoughts. There is always that feeling of more I could have done. Should have done.

A good friend- one of those who always greeted me with a crooked smile, who always had something to say over the internet if we could not get together in person- killed herself Friday. She had tried before, but she had seemed to be doing so well when I saw her last. 

Should have should have should have should have known, those insidious little voices will always whisper. But in the end there is only so much anyone can do, and I need to settle my head around that to silence those nasty little voices.
But three is such a hard number, and I think I have gotten a little numb to news of suicide, and that bothers me a bit.

I am always here if you need someone to talk to, my friends. My internet presence may seem a tad spotty, but I am around. I may not be active in fandom, but we are still friends and I am around. Drop me an email, a message, ask for my phone number and I will share it. I don't have all the answers, but I am always willing to talk. We are a magnificent web of connection and contact- never hesitate to call on me when you need me. Don't ever feel like you need to just fall through the cracks. 
fireun: (Default)
I realize I am terribly lucky. I can look at [ profile] djkc and say 'I am depressed today. No reason. Just am. Wanted to give you the heads up/warning' and he is good with that.

And that is what it took for me to be ok with the fact I get depressed, that I have a sometimes debilitating anxiety problem. I needed to be able to vocalize it, and have someone nod, accept it as an honest problem, and offer support and understanding. Before that, the best advice I could get was 'deal with it, everyone gets depressed'. That attitude, making light of the mountains getting in my way, made everything harder, and made it harder for me to admit I should see a doctor and actually go to one.

I finished my second graduate degree at 30- but I only have one actual degree to show for it. I got so anxious, and as a result so depressed, while working on my Masters of Philosophy, that I dropped out after writing the draft of my thesis. I had no support structure, I had even lost my advisor and any faculty members I thought cared. I was terrified at the thought of defending the thesis (even though I will go on and on about it at great lengths, even now, in casual company) and equally terrified of telling my parents I had dropped. If I had talked to anyone in a medical capacity I would probably have those two shiny Master diplomas on my wall. One of those regrets floating around- this was a workable obstacle, but it seemed insurmountable at the time. After dropping? I spent a lot of time angry at myself for being anxious, yelling at myself in my own head, which led to self loathing and depression. Awful, roiling depression.

And that is the thing with depression and its partner in crime anxiety. From inside the head of someone dealing with those things, everything is bigger and scarier and harder. And a lot of that comes from the isolating feel of suffering from anxiety or depression. Hell, I couldn't even go to the neighbors to let them know their dogs had gotten out last weekend because people I don't know are a huge anxiety trigger. Such a little, easy thing to do, knock on a door. I could not do it.

What helps is breaking through that isolation. And a lot of that isolation is self imposed by the depressed/anxious. We do it to ourselves- holing up or pretending everything is fine. And that does not help. Hence these sporadic blog posts. Hence my deep appreciation for [ profile] djkc. Hence my willingness to chat with any of you who might want to- just drop me a line. fireun 3 @gmail. com.

March 2015

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