Last Thursday I shared with my LinkedIn network the news that I’m battling hard with the black dog of depression and its vicious sidekick, anxiety. It isn’t my first battle though it is the toughest. I felt alone and isolated, of course, but worse than that, I was feeling suffocated by not really talking about my mental health, beyond my support network of medical people, family and a couple of friends.
Sharing the challenge was a conscious and considered disclosure that I hoped would not only let my network know where and how I was, but also highlight that even when you have so much to be grateful and thankful for – on paper, anyway – the black dog can come after anyone.
I needed, if I didn’t want to explode and melt down, to be open and candid. Call it ego, say I’m grandstanding if you want, but I simply couldn’t censor myself anymore. I needed to be open and acknowledge how I am.
In the days since, I’ve been floored by the number and sincerity of messages, public and private, from people around the world and closer to home who either identified with my situation and offered their experience and support, or simply wanted to encourage me to ‘keep swimming’, as one so wonderfully put it.
Those messages have sustained me since then and given me a massive injection of optimism and hope. I feel like I’ve discovered a previously-invisible network of people who give a damn. It’s so empowering and reassuring. Naturally, the black dog barks at me and I lose sight of that at times, but the sheer quantity of support messages pulls me back. Again and again. So powerful.
I’m working through to reply to everyone and I really can’t ever say thank you enough. You’re all bright lights in my dark sky.