Revisiting “Depression, For the First Time”

Many of you may have already read my post, “Depression, For the First Time,” which was written and published a year ago here on the Amber Typewriter. This article has been republished on The Mighty, an incredible website I recently discovered. The articles on the website cover an outstanding amount of illnesses; mental health is only a small category, but I intend to write regularly and post about depression and bipolar disorder there as well as here on the Amber Typewriter.

My article has been retitled “When No On Knew Your Depression Was ‘That Bad’.” I encourage you to check it out, and the other articles on the site as well!

If Only We Were Wizards: Banishing Depression with the Flick of a Wand

Hogwarts_dementor

Picture this: you are lying in bed feeling like complete crap, and not for the first time. It has been too long since you showered, your bedroom is probably a mess, and you have all but memorized the bumps and cracks in the ceiling above you. You can’t see any real reason to get up. Happiness — or even contentedness, for that matter — is less than a distant memory: it doesn’t exist anymore. Your energy has disappeared as if… yes… as if it has been slowly sucked from your body. Continue reading

Depression, For the First Time

It was a small child standing in the corner of my dreams.

It was a scratching on the inside of my skull, a weakness in my bones; it was a dry mouth and drooping eyes.

It was a weight on my chest in the middle of the night.

It was regret and fear and failure.

It was all of these things, and it was none of them. Depression, for the first time, was abstract and incomplete and perfect. It was indescribable. It was harrowing and breathtaking. It was the recognition of my own mortality with each push of blood through my veins. It was the high of feeling alive because I knew my heart was dying.

Continue reading

Suicide and Selfishness

TO BE OR NOT TO BE,

that is the question of today’s blog post. And what a tough question it is, although it may seem quite simple and self-explanatory to a person who has no inner struggle or emotional difficulties. To a person without mental illness, it may never be a question at all.

Now, before we continue and get into the nasty little details of suicide, I would like to clarify that I am not trying to glorify it in any way. My goal is not to make suicide seem heroic, purposeful, or whimsical. Suicide is death, and so it is painful, and messy, and usually, from my experience, like a ginormous bomb being dropped in the middle of a family, smashing up anything and everything within reach and leaving nothing but craters and rubble. Continue reading

When Things Pile Up

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My family’s bird feeder, on an unusually sunny winter day.

The world of London, Ontario is slowly moving into spring — finally, undeniably. Most of the snow has melted and it is even possible (if one listens carefully past the sound of traffic, beeping cell phones, the chatter of television, and every other noise cluttering our lives) to hear the song of birds, perched high on telephone wires and in trees, or stomping about in the yard looking for worms. In springtime, and especially in the life of a student, all the stresses that have gathered and piled up like the high snow banks in winter begin to melt, acquire less density, leak away. Final assignments and essays are completed and submitted; only the exams hang looming like dark clouds ahead. The dim promise of four months of warm summer nights (those not spent at a grueling minimum wage job) provide an elating sense of hope and freedom. As a woman in my meditation class observed, “it feels as though we have overcome a large obstacle, or relieved ourselves of a heavy burden. The winter feels like a sort of personal oppression and battle that we must defeat every year.” Continue reading

Mental versus Physical Illness: How to Describe Depression and Bipolar Disorder

When mental illness is described as being identical to physical illness, I can’t help but cringe. Don’t get me wrong, I know what advertisers and mental health representatives are trying to accomplish by making these comparisons, and it is a very noble goal. They want legitimate treatment and understanding. They want the prejudice associated with mental illness to come to an end. But mental illness is not identical to physical illness. Continue reading