I have lived with depression the entire 57 years of my life on this planet.
I have shared stories about my “adventures” while navigating this experience of living with depression. I’ve even written a one-woman show — with original songs — talking about the way I have moved through the world with this “companion” of mine, the one I call depression.
The one thing I have not really done, ever, is talk about what it’s like from the inside of the experience. What I think about, how I think, what I feel, how I feel, and what any of that really means in terms of my everyday life.
What happens when I am immobilized by tears in the parking lot of the post office and I still have to go in and buy stamps.
What choice I have to make when — in the midst of grocery shopping or during a chat with a friend over tea — I suddenly feel the surge of sadness and tears rising in me and I am not sure I can keep it together enough to stay where I am.
How did it start? What did it look like when I was 10? 17? 24? 30? 38? 45? 50? Yesterday?
The inside story. The one that no one knows, except me. And my dog.
Why is it important that anyone know that story? That is the question I sat with recently. Why should I talk about it?
And the answer came through, loud and clear: Because my story might help someone else.
That was enough for me.
So, I wrote a book. It took several years to do this (because, well, depression has its own timeline).
After a few different incarnations, the book became a real thing. An actual manuscript. Something I could submit to publishers.
I became tangled up in the idea that everything will be better “when” the book gets published. I will be happy. The world will be happier. Publishing this book will “fix” everything.
The thing is, publishing a book takes time. And, especially right now, where we are in time, right at this moment, it doesn’t seem like a good idea to wait.
I was losing myself and my mission in the desire to have a published book. The answer I had received to my question was to share the story! The method didn’t matter. The sharing was the most essential piece.
So, I started a podcast. Because, here’s the thing:
It’s the message that is important.
How the message gets out is not as important as getting the message out. The stories I share, the insights I have gained, the way I have learned to navigate living my life through the darkness, that is what is most important.
The message. Getting the message out is much more important than how it shows up.
And the message is this: We can live with depression. We can. It might be the worst roommate we’ve ever had (that’s what I call it) and yet, we can do it.
We can choose to stay alive.
There was a time when I totally did not believe that. A time when I would never have said those words. I would have scoffed at anyone saying them to me.
I have learned.
That is why the podcast is called: “I Wasn’t Always Like This.”
And it is most definitely time for me to talk. About all of it.