I have only shared this blog on a few private Facebook group pages. It felt safer that way. It’s so much easier to take a risk around people whose opinions won’t absolutely devastate me. I would test the waters. I would get my feet wet. My plan was to share my page publicly when I was ready. You know, after I'd gained a decent following and proved myself worthy of writing a blog. Obviously by then Good Morning America would be featuring me so I’d HAVE to let you all in on my secret blog. ??
Facebook had other plans.
I have started getting “like” notifications from people I know well. Neighbors, coworkers, friends, and family. Facebook had taken a comment of mine and put it on your feed. “Heidi Wilson commented on The Ordinary Chaos”. Intrigued, you clicked on my page. I'm thrilled! I’m gaining a small audience! You're reading my posts without me having to ask you!! Wow! Thank you!!!!!
Then PURE panic set in. I felt so exposed, scared, nervous, and VULNERABLE! Being honest is freaking hard, people. Really hard. ??
Cue the negative self-talk! A belittling comment here, “oh my gosh, is she actually complaining” and a sucker punch there, “She's too high maintenance.” “She's just doing it for attention.” “Please, how could SHE have any problems?” “Obviously your damaged. Your father took his life, what kind of values could he have taught you if HE COULD DO THAT?” These are all things I have actually heard directly or indirectly from people I’ve ALLOWED in my life. (I keep these comments in a safe place to question my self-worth during times of insecurity. Very effective, huh? ?)
To be perfectly clear, I'm just as guilty of judging others. Vindictiveness, jealousy, and other emotions can make us so horrendous to each other. I do it too. Especially if my feelings are hurt! I go into full-on protection mode and judge you right back. Usually harsher. “Oh really, well have you looked in the mirror?” (Ughhhhhh! No more!!)
If you judge or criticize me, it’s more about you than me. Period. If I judge or criticize you, it's about me. Period. Less judging, more loving, people! How can we possibly support each other this way?
I can spiral into self-hate and withdraw my posts. Or, I can carry on and believe what I have to say is worthwhile.
It looks like vulnerability and me are going to be thick as thieves for the unforeseeable future.
Millions of people suffer from depression. We are successful, funny, goal-oriented people. Our empathy runs deep. We are loyal friends. We are perfectionists. We have high functioning depression. The kind you wouldn't recognize because we are able to live life with the rest of you. And we are the least likely bunch to ask for help.
This has got to stop.
Will sharing my story make a difference? Will it make depression less taboo? Can I show you a side of depression that is fun, silly, and relatable? Will more people be willing to talk about it and ask for help? Will you secretly wish you had depression? (okay, so maybe that's going a little too far...)
What makes you feel most vulnerable? Are you hiding parts of yourself to avoid judgment and shame? Have you ever felt judged or judged someone else too harshly?
Hi, my name is Heidi and I have high-functioning depression.
There's no turning back now.
Heidi has been working as a school counselor for over 15 years and strives to end the stigma of depression. She offers helpful tips and strategies to help yourself or someone you love who is suffering. Her personal experiences with grief, relationships, depression, poor self-image, bullying, anxiety, and relational aggression gives her a unique perspective on what its takes to overcome tragedy as a adolescent and adult.