Why I write about depression

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The email came in this morning.

I get a fair number of them. Not just emails in general, but emails about this one particular subject: “Why do you write so much about depression?” Frankly, I get a fair number of emails about why I write so much about a lot of things, but the depression question comes up more than most.

Some argue that it’s so, well, depressing. Others worry that it will stain and harm my reputation professionally and pastorally. Some just get tired of it.

There are a couple of reasons. First, I came to the place a time ago that if I was going to write it was going to be real. And guess what? I fight depression. Every day I fight it and I’ve fought it for at least a decade and a half.  Just getting going in the morning is a battle. One I usually win, but not without effort. So, if I am going to be honest in my writing, depression will be part of it.

That morning battle thing figures in too. I do most of my writing early in the morning and that’s when the battle is in full force. Writing becomes my declaration of war some days. My battle cry of “Not today! Today I will prevail!”. Done sometimes in something close to iambic pentameter.  So sometimes it is just a matter of timing.

But there is something else. There are a bunch of us fighting depression. Estimates and studies say between 10 to 15 percent of us battle the dark little demon. And most of us do it in isolation (I did, for a time.). But isolation is the enemy. We all need to know we are not alone. We need to know we can battle it, and how. We need to be able to lean on each other. That’s how we win.

At least for the day.

If I write about it. Talk about it. Wax poetic about it. Write books about it, then the few hundred people who pop on and read each day get a reminder that they are not the only ones. They get a reminder of how it can be beaten back. How we can have relatively normal lives, even, yes, even, find joy and happiness.

So I write of my victories. To remind readers that victory is there. At other times, I need reminders from others because I am not in a place of victory. And I am grateful for those others who share, teach and preach victory.

We all need reminders that victory is a real thing.

I often say I am the happiest depressed guy you will ever meet. I am. It’s not easy. It’s not easy at all. But I am blessed with good work, a wonderful family and wife, a loving and tolerant church, dear friends and interesting, fulfilling things to do.  Am I willing to let depression rob me of those things?

Hell no. (Remember, I am a preacher, so when I use that word – I mean it will all due venom.) And I don’t want anyone else to settle for less either. If I can help, and writing is what I do, so it’s kind of what I have, then I’ll do it.

I don’t know why people suffer. Why this one or why that one. I don’t think suffering gives us purpose unless WE give it purpose. And sharing our stories, particularly our stories of victory, is one way to give our suffering purpose.

I’ve been told from non-depressed people that they appreciate my writing, that it gives them an idea of what we depressed folk fight. It gives them a sense of understanding. If that’s so, that’s worth doing. Understanding is powerful. Understanding promotes help and love and healing.

So that’s it. I’ll still get complainers, I know. That’s OK. I’ll just point them to this post and not have to type it again and again. I’m lazy that way.

Thanks for listening. On to what’s next. Because that’s where the battle is won.

Be well, Travel wisely,

Tom

1 thought on “Why I write about depression

  1. Thank you, Tom! I am in the club and I think it is wonderful that you write about depression. We don’t need to hide it and I think it educates those who are fortunate enough to have never had to deal with it. Keep up the good work. Sandy

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