I’ve been thinking a lot about Trey Pennington and his family. He committed suicide yesterday, outside of a Church, leaving behind his wife and six kids. Looking at his Twitter profile, you would have no idea he was depressed. He was a man making plans to meet people, have coffee with them and travel to London.
Those people will always be asking why did this happen and wonder, had they had the time with him, could they have done anything to help. Personally speaking? They never would have known he was depressed. The only way they would have known was if he wanted them to know. He was smiling on the outside and dying on the inside.
Depression is a serious, life threatening condition that affects an estimated 19 million Americans.
Personally and professionally speaking, I get the two sides of Trey Pennington. I’m in the midst of a very severe depression. One I liken to the Post Partum Depression I had 11 years ago, only much, much worse.
Friends are terrified I’m where Trey was in thought. Let me assure everyone, I’m not suicidal. I know I have a strong support network within my family, friends and God. I’ve let them know the state of my mental health and they are with me and supporting me 100%.
However, my friends online? To them, I’m happy go lucky Lisa. I’ve not let them know and in an act of authenticity, this is my coming out party. Part of Social Media is being your authentic self. Transparent. Yet, I’ve been wearing a mask to hide my internal pain. One where I am cheerful all the time and happy.
When in reality, I’m miserable.
How can you live life with a fake persona all the time? Let me tell you, we can’t. However, these things are private and before the advent of social media and our online life, we had people that saw us everyday that knew something was wrong. Sure, we could hide it, but not that long.
Keyboards give us courage. Courage to project the person we want everyone to see, even if deep inside, that person is withering away. I’ve been offline more in the six weeks than I’ve been on. Because I’ve not had the courage to face my friends.
I realize part of what I personally need to get back to basics. For me, that’s spending a lot of time in prayer, journaling, reading, and writing. I’m doing things to make me whole. Oh, not to worry, I’m seeing my therapist and doctor, but more of this is internal work that I’ve needed to do for years.
Yet, it’s more than that.
I’m learning, albeit painfully, that I have to take time to do things for Lisa. Like learn to say no. If you know me in real life and have spent any amount of time with me, you are nodding your head in agreement. I’m a people pleaser and due to the nature of my childhood? Always seeking external approval. It’s a burden I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
My way of getting out of this state of depression is by finally opening up. Not living two lives: one online and one offline. It’s time I merge the two and yes, I’m expecting growing pains. Those will be par for the course. I can’t be chipper all the time. Nor can I be a cheerleader for everyone. I’ve got to take care of me, so I can take care of the people I love.
I’m ready to be a more authentic Lisa.
Questions to ask yourself to find out if you’re depressed:
Symptoms of depression in women include:
- persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
- loss of interest or pleasure in activities, including sex
- restlessness, irritability, or excessive crying
- feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness, hopelessness, pessimism
- sleeping too much or too little, early-morning awakening
- appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain
- decreased energy, fatigue, feeling “slowed down”
- thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
- difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
- persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain
If you have thoughts of suicide or harming yourself or others, immediate call your local emergency number (such as 911) or go to the hospital emergency room.
You may also call a suicide hotline from anywhere in the United States, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: 1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-999-9999.