I have deliberated over the past few weeks about sharing or not sharing, as I use my blogs and website for education, empowerment and connection, not for sympathy. I also share my process in my blogs and to not share this intimate aspect would leave me and you without a complete picture.
Since November, my 21 yo daughter has been struggling with significant depression, anxiety and suicidal tendencies. While in some ways, this feels like it came on overnight, while in others, it has been brewing for a while.
Those of you who have followed me since the beginning of my blogs, know that I started this section as an extension of my process of dealing with cancer, recovery, loss, financial devastation and rebuilding of life. I've done this now three times in my adult life and with each challenge, I feel stronger, more empowered, unafraid and knowing that I am meant to share in a larger capacity.
I witnessed mental illness in my family at a young age, with an aunt who would often stay with us when she was unwell. As a child, it was often frightening, but as I grew older, I loved my aunt and became one of her support persons later in life. I went on to witness mental health challenges with my two husbands - two intelligent, charismatic and gifted men, troubled with chemical imbalances. Tragically, my second husband suffered a brain injury, lived in institutions for 3 1/2 years before his passing.
My older daughter experienced six suicides in her high school class and my younger went on to become a peer mentor for Adolescent Wellness in our community. We as a family, took the challenge of mental health, as an opportunity to assist others in need.
One may ask how, why, what happened? While there are many possibilities and theories, what is most important at this time is to acknowledge the fragile nature of the brain, and to seek approaches for healing that address all levels - mind, body and spirit.
I find myself once again seeking the bridge between both worlds - conventional medicine and integrative medicine. I have sought out programs and people who will address this in a manner that meets our philosophical needs. While no easy solutions exist, optimism, a collaborative spirit and support from family, friends, colleagues, make this process possible.
Each day I learn more about myself and about others and while there can be discomfort when talking about depressive disorders, it is no different from any illness. It's all about finding the balance.
Never give up on finding a way - finding your way!