I sit here at my grandmother's house on the couch and my mother's sitting next to me watching tv, my grandmother is napping and my sister is at the dining table working on her computer. It's 6:45 pm and I've got my headphones on listening to Ave Maria on repeat from my Spotify classical playlist ( https://open.spotify.com/track/4x1tVO3GS6HJokFvJ3PNf6?si=xfFVw9WqQ8WIhhX4KWot3w ). I found myself cleaning my grandmother's kitchen in a thorough possibly OCD kind of way today, one reason could be I needed a distraction from the discomfort of the heart monitor I had to wear until 2:15 pm. But I'm thinking it was the silent buildup of anxiety and possibly depression that I've been getting the last few days. I wonder if the heart monitor would've picked up a signal of my anxiety when I was trying to ignore its existence.
Yesterday I had a conversation with a friend about my time here in New York and the possible reason I haven't caught up with my friends who I haven't seen in the last 18 months, and could it be avoidance because I might not want to leave. Maybe it's that sense of attachment I'm trying to hide from or maybe it's the resistance I may have to face when I return to Bali. I definitely sense some sort of comfort in my isolation here in New York. Sometimes for the person suffering, they could be laughing one moment and for no reason, all of a sudden feel a sense of sadness. So the reason I wanted to talk about this is because these feelings all happened over the last 24-48 hours, before, during and after all of the smiles and laughter of enjoying time with my family. This can all happen in my head and at the pit of my stomach, as I'm talking with you and encouraging you to see the light, it could happen when I'm holding your hand and comforting you, or while I'm telling you my dreams.
Sadness can come at the happiest of times.
I don't always know or understand why this happens which made me think about the suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain.
On the day Kate Spade committed suicide I was at my doctor's appointment on Park Ave, I believe that morning it was announced what happened. I walked by and heard laughter and reporters cracking jokes, I stopped and watched people walk by. Some not knowing what was going on and you noticed the ones who did, my immediate thought was if I was depressed like I was before and knew that these reporters were out here laughing and joking in front of Kate Spade's house, no one would care about me if I died. I imagined a young teenager who might be suffering walking by and hearing this. Now I know the reporter's jobs are tough, they deal with a lot of intense reporting and have to remove emotions from reporting but I still think there should be some sort of etiquette or workplace compliance. This is her residence, I would expect people that loved her and possibly her children could have walked out at any moment. Anyway, that's my beef with the reporters on the scene that day.
Following her death, we are then in shock with Anthony Bourdain's death, and that's when the question arises all over social media or in conversations on the street "I don't understand".
- I don't understand how she could do that?
- I don't understand why she would leave her kids?
- I don't understand? where was his family?
- I don't understand why the state isn't helping better?
- I don't understand why?
- I don't understand why they didn't get help, they had everything?
What do we do, to try and understand? I know before I suffered from depression I was the first person to think that just encouraging someone who was sad, was enough. That telling them something like "you're strong, things will get better" was the answer. That maybe giving them advice before I fully listened to their pain, would solve everything.
I really didn't know how to be around a sad person. I instantly felt I needed to make things better, take away their burden somehow. I thought I could save them.
I was that person that said "I don't understand" until I went through it myself. And with a little help and guidance, I'm learning more. The do's and don'ts around a person with depression, I take the time now to understand the different types of depression. We never know what trauma that person may have experienced in their life.
So when it hits close to home and you ask "I don't understand, why didn't they come to me?" ask yourself these questions.
- Do I have a something in my life that affects me, causes me depression or anxiety?
- How easy is it for me to share these things with people around me?
- Will they take the time and truly listen or can they guide me?
- Do I trust them because they share their story with me?
- What can I do to learn more? To understand more?
There are so many reasons why, and there is no full proof way to conquer this, but I do know that the ones that suffer feel alone, they may feel stupid for feeling the way they do, or maybe they look at you and think you have a perfect life and they wish it was as simple for them. So how do you think that person would feel if you shared your own story or struggles with them.
I'm not saying this is a solution but if one person shares there story and it helps another person then that is one life saved.
I discussed with my family a few days ago that when I was in early recovery I felt no one wanted to really understand me, that they thought me being sober and in recovery was enough and the solution. I wanted my family to be in recovery with me, I wanted us to heal. I needed them to know that alcohol and drugs were only a symptom of my many traumas, some known and some still in the shadows. But that my recovery would continue whether I had their participation or not.
I still say "I don't understand?" but it is now followed by reaching out to people that have the resources to help me understand. Starting with myself in being open and vulnerable with my struggles and challenges. I have been given proof through this blog over the last year that sharing works and it allows the next person who has never shared an opportunity to see another way to heal.
So I ask you to share in the comments below, anything you think might help the next person.
- Maybe it's your acknowledgment of addiction or depression.
- Or you want to share your story with us.
- You'd like to share some resources to link us to.
- Maybe you just want to say "I want to understand and will do what I can to help the next person"
- Or acknowledge someone you lost due to addiction or depression - RIP Titi Miriam
Here are some links below to get you started.
Mucho Love, Jamie