This blog is where I plan to share with the world my recent struggles with depression, hoping that it will help others that might be going through something similar. It may not be easy for me to write but I feel it’s my duty regardless. Here’s part of my story.
Last summer, the hockey community lost numerous players. Some losses were just part of a freak accident but many could have been avoided. The loss that hit me the hardest, probably because of what I went through in high school, was the loss of Vancouver Canucks forward Rick Rypien on August 15th, 2011. Why did it hit me hard? I’d have to say that was because he battled depression, the same thing I battled while in high school, for many years.
Now, let’s fast forward six months to February 15th, 2012. A day that caused much hurt and pain for me but it ended up being the wake-up call I so badly needed. I had a friend leave me. In simpler terms, they cut off all communication with me because they saw I was depressed but I wouldn’t take their advice to talk to someone. Quite honestly, I thought I could handle it on my own. Losing her friendship though made me realize that I DID need someone.
Let me back up a tad.
I’d been depressed for a few months before that fateful February day but I was getting by. I seemed OK as I had a part-time job I liked and was going to hockey games as often as I could. When that fateful day occurred, and I got the text saying “I’m done. I’ve tried but you’re depressed and you need to get help soon”, I just started bawling my eyes out. Yes, a normal reaction to a chain of events..or so you think. Anyways, when my mom got home from work I was dry-eyed but very quiet. She immediately noticed and asked me what was wrong. I tried to shrug it off as nothing; something I normally do; but instead broke down completely. That was when we both realized something more than just losing that friend was wrong.
Anyways, after a day or two my mom came back to me. She said that she’d been noticing differences in my mood even before my friend cut me off. She told me that she was always there for me if I needed to talk but that sometimes you need to talk to someone other than family, a more neutral party. She then proceeded by asking me if I needed to talk to someone neutral. Honestly, I wasn’t sure but I was scared and I knew I needed to talk to someone. I told her that much and she helped me set up appointments with a counselor.
To be quite honest, seeing a counselor for the first time was scary in a way. I didn’t know what to expect, nor did I know the journey I was about to go on. As scared as I was, and as much as I thought I was alone for the most part, I realized quickly that I WASN’T alone! I also learned that reconnecting with things I’d enjoyed in the past was a good way to make me happier.
Finally, let’s fast forward to today. Six and a half months removed from the start of something that hurt me a lot, I now realize that it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. If I hadn’t had that friend cut me off I could still be battling depression.
My ordeal also taught me a lot of things. I learned that depression, or any mental illness, is not easy and not always something you can easily control. There are, however, ways to combat it. You have to be willing to help yourself, even in the slightest ways. The power of “positive thinking” works well but it also helps if you can find ways to occupy yourself.
Another important thing to remember is that people battling a mental illness need support, not to be judged. Many people view those battling mental illnesses, such as depression, as being weak and unmotivated. I’ll tell you right now that isn’t the case. We’re normal people trying to follow our dreams that hit a little bump in the road.
Now that you know what I went through I urge you to share your story, if indeed you have one. If not, please at least help raise awareness by viewing this website . Honestly, I feel that sharing what I went through might help others going through the same things. At the least I can truly say that going through what I did made me a better person.