The Power of “Me Too” (Or “An Oprah-esque post on depression. Pass the fairy-floss.”)

Jackie Goldston, Editor of Kids on the Coast (not the person of whom I speak, below!) and moi.

Last Friday I had the great privilege of being a panelist at the “Motherhood and Me” forum held by Kids on the Coast. A bunch of mums, gathered together in quite an informal fashion to ogle each other’s offspring (or was that just me? Seriously, my ovaries started to whisper to me again. Luckily I hushed them up by flashing them a stretch-mark), munch on morning tea and chat all things parenting.

It was in between sessions, however, when I started chatting to a lovely lady from the audience that a REAL moment hit.

Somewhere in the conversation, she casually mentioned that she was on antidepressants, but that she didn’t usually make that public because of the stigma associated with it. I nodded in understanding and then confessed that I’d just gone back on them too. I think we both felt better.

This relief at ‘coming clean’ , even to a stranger, is, I think, a perfect example of how simple support can be.

Supporting each other doesn’t have to be about about trying to help each other achieve sterling heights of prowess in parenting/jobs/life, it doesn’t even have to be about hold handing, mind-blowing deep and meaningfuls from a lifelong friend (of course I love those too) but can be as simple as being honest with each other, even if that person is a stranger. It was such a reminder of the power we have to relieve each other of our guilt, our shame, our darkness simply by admitting “me too.”

(Sorry if this is getting a bit Oprah for ya. But you know, that’s me. Love me, love my bullshit.)

You know what’s crazy? As part of my car accident stuff, I had to go see a psychologist for an assessment. Part of his job was to see how much trauma I had in my life BEFORE the accident, to put into context the effect of the trauma from the accident itself. As I was telling him the facts of my childhood, with no opinions, mind you, just FACTS and I saw the look on his face, it suddenly dawned on me…my childhood really was traumatic. I’d never really thought about it before. I mean, of course, my mum died and that sucked, but even other stuff (her physically abusive partner, moving house a lot, being bullied in primary school, I won’t go on but blah blah blah) …I’m honestly not sharing this as a “poor me” thing, but rather just to explain that up until recently, I’d never actually looked at that and realised that it wasn’t exactly a solid foundation for a well balanced mental state.

No wonder I’m in comedy.

Anyhoo, I’m rambling but my point is that in playing my minuscule part in the world, I’m gonna at east make a concerted effort to let more of me hang out. The ugly bits, the awful bits, the epic moments of fail. For me and for you.

Yes I’m back on anti-depressants.

Yes they are helping me hugely.

Yes a large part of me feels like a freaking failure at being back on them but you know what? Being off them wasn’t making me a winner either. And let me tell you, walking into the doctor’s office last week, sitting down and bawling my eyes out over his desk saying “I think I need to go back on them,” is, I think, one of the most humbling things I’ve done. And I think THAT – not being back on medication itself, but rather, being willing to admit that I need help – makes me a winner.

(I cringe even as I type that last sentence, but I’m leaving it in anyway. See? My ego is doing battle with my inner critic. WHO WILL WIN? They’re both ripped like Conan the Barbarian. It’s anybody’s game.)

Anyhoo…

What I really want to say is that whoever you are, random person of cyberspace, if you are or have been struggling, if you know what depression is – and I mean you really KNOW, if you feel like you’re failing at life, if you feel like a royal twat for even whinging about such self-indulgent crap when the world is as it is, if you’re in need of help, then let me just say, for what it’s worth:

ME TOO.

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jennywynter Written by:

2 Comments

  1. Mary
    May 27, 2012
    Reply

    Me three Jenny!!!!!!! Love u!

  2. Franipantz
    May 28, 2012
    Reply

    Me too! I think I peaked early in depression. As you might know I spent the majority of my 20’s in and out of depressed states, sometimes medicated after seeking help, mostly not. These days I find it easier not using anti-depressants, but I think that’s only because I’ve had so much experience in learning how to deal with it on my own. I can tell now when it’s creeping up on me, I can see the warning signs and can put in some preventative action so I don’t let myself crawl into a deep dark hole where no one recognises me anymore. I really do believe it’s a learning experience. Learning and acknowledging to yourself that you’ve had a rough trot of it at times and forgiving yourself if you feel a bit shit at times. It’s not something you have to excuse yourself to others for. It’s not something to be ashamed of. You’re right! You’re WINNING when you acknowledge that you’re struggling emotionally. It doesn’t fix everything right away but it gives you a starting point to understanding yourself better, and somehow it makes it easier to do something about it and get back to a place where you feel on an even keel again. And it can have the best consequences as a result. You start realising that you’re not alone and most people go through periods of depression at least once in their lives. In fact, if you find yourself experiencing it more than others, then you’re at an advantage because you can start building tools by which to handle it, and help yourself get better. Someone once told me “Be your own best therapist”. Words that have certainly helped me be more independent in my own personal struggles. It’s a great thing to ask for help and use it. Eventually you won’t necessarily need the pills, maybe you will. Everyone is different. As a result of my struggles I most definitely feel more free to be myself, with everything hanging out, without being ashamed or apologetic for anything that I am. There is so much that is great about me, and great about you, that everyone else can plainly see, if we don’t just hide in the shadows.
    You’re a shiner Jen. You can shine whatever you’re going through and be an inspiration to others. It’s almost a personal duty to the rest of the human race. We all need someone to tell us – it’s okay to be ourselves, however we feel.

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