Thursday, November 20, 2014

Out, out, out of the closet...with thanks

Every once in a while, brain farts -- those embarrassing gaps in memory that open up and stay open -- conjure up happy surprises! Such was the case this morning when I clicked on an article about depression that was posted in an online forum I participate in. Authored by Margarita Tartakovaky, who writes for PsychCentral, "What I Wish You Understood About My Depression" is helping to take our cultural dialogue about this condition to a much deeper level, to a place where we are finally beginning to understand that the world's #2 cause (after heart disease) of disease-related disability is worthy of respect and urgent attention.

Sweet relief! Over the many years that I've lived with major depression, I've heard everything from "Depression is a neurological disease" (I agree) to "Join a glee club!"  to "You're just lazy and irresponsible!" from people I've dared to speak with about it.  Our collective judgments are beginning to evolve into curiosity, a hunger for facts and experiential expertise, and compassion. We've been jolted into wiser enquiry through the shock of Robin Williams' death by suicide -- How could one of the funniest, richest, most humane and generous people in the world have taken his own life? The articles I'm linking to give us some clues. I feel honoured to have my thoughts included amongst those of leading-edge writers, professors, and clinicians ... and will continue to raise the bar of my own thinking to match their excellence and understanding.

One of my dearest friends recently told me, "In your vulnerability is your mission." I've taken her words to heart, to the keyboard, and now out to the larger world. Every voice, every story shared, is a glimmer of light and truth ... Someone will be reached; an eye will open; a mind will latch to a voice that understands ... and lives will be saved and salved.

If you're reading this, no matter what you're going through -- depression or otherwise -- You are not alone. Somewhere in the world, amongst the 6+ billion souls we share this planet with, other voices resonate with yours. If there's a treasure to be found in life, it's the nodding of one soul toward another: a Yes that will enfold you and your experience into its understanding, that will lead you to arms willing to link with yours, to walk beside you as you open yourself to learning, speaking, writing, sharing ...

I've dared myself to share ... and my voice is joining others. My eyes are blinking open into a vast light and into gazes of empathy. Yours can, too. Speak out, dear reader. Find one person you can trust with your story ... and begin there. Someone will hear you ... I promise.

Margarita Tartakovsky and Therese Borchard, author of Beyond Blue and The Pocket Therapist,  heard me ... and they've graciously invited me to contribute my thoughts to some of their published work. Here are the other three articles that include my words:

"8 Lessons People with Depression Learned from Their Illness", by Therese Borchard

"How to Support & Help Someone with Depression" , by Margarita Tartakovsky, and

"Personal Experiences of Depression", by Margarita Tartakovsky.

As I type, my eyes are drawn to the sky outside my window. Two flocks of Canada geese soar through the huge beyond ... and I'm reminded of how they support each other in their "V" formations, riding a collective slipstream, leading and following as energy and vitality allow. Leaders lead until they need to draw back and borrow fuel from their fellows; followers, having rested a little in flight, surge to the fore, guiding the flock until the next rotation of full strength is ready to aim for home.

That's how it's done ... and we're doing it. To every dear soul who has been helping me back into the slipstream of viability and resurging vitality after so many fallow years ... I bow to you with tears of gratitude slipping down my cheeks, onto the page, and into new form as proof of what's possible.

Come out, come out, whoever you are. Blend your stories with ours. You are surrounded by kindred souls!

Photo: Jeanette Allen, via


  1. This is a beautiful post, Alexa. You write so eloquently, and yes, in your vulnerability is your mission!!

  2. Ditto on all counts to you, dear Therese. Love and gratitude to you! xoxo