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Last night I dreamt of my daughter; thoughts on depression

Thursday, May 16, 2013


We were standing on the edge of the shore with our feet sinking into the sand as the tide rushed over them. The sea's foamy surf left bubbles on our toes. In the distance were big, crashing waves and white caps. Its sight along with the sound let you know of the sea's massive power. We'd walk a little farther into the ocean and run back as the waves got closer and flattened, laughing as we beat them to the shore.
I remembered in the last part of my dream thinking that the waves would not overtake us. They may always be in the distance but they're not coming close enough to suffocate.

And then I awoke and I wondered how my daughter slept last night. I wondered what her dreams were. This is her 2nd stay in the hospital and is being treated for depression. Like a freak wave in the ocean, it came out of nowhere and tumbled her to the ground. We had to deliver the news yesterday that she would not be involved in her high school graduation ceremonies.  Three and a half years of hard work and diligent studying seemingly washed away, she felt. Now we know this isn't true but in a teenager's mind the excitement of that day is all they think of. Her response was expected but through her tears she said, "I have literally been dreaming of this day with my friends. I should have done more."

It angered me a bit. Not at her but that here she is, fighting to get healthy and clear her mind and body of debilitating sadness and anxiety and even she falls into the culture so pervasive with mental health which says somehow she can prevent this. That somehow just thinking happy thoughts can take this away and she could have done more when she absolutely couldn't. By no means is this a choice, just as you wouldn't choose to have any other disease.

While I was visiting her yesterday, I counted 23 children at dinner between the ages of 4 and 12 in the child unit. 23 not counting those that hadn't earned a trip to the cafeteria and were eating back in the unit. And all those kids are the ones that are lucky enough to have people in their lives who feel that therapy is important and seek help or have the funds or insurance to place them in a mental health facility. It's time to deal with it as aggressively as we do cancer and other diseases. It's time.

We have decided as a family to be open with our experiences in mental illness. We're not ones to bring on the attention so you won't hear me talk about it a lot or reference it in everyday conversations. That tires people out. But we are not embarrassed because there is nothing to be embarrassed about and are open to questions of every kind.

As with pretty much everything in life, you meet challenges head on or you don't and just hope something changes. So we're going head to head with this sucker.

4 comments:

  1. I absolutely love you and your family and your beautiful and kind daughter. You guys are tremendous parents. Prayers your way.

    I have a (2nd) cousin (once removed) dealing w/ severe depression/bipolar. She stayed the night w/ us a couple weeks ago--happened to be driving in the area. Perhaps you'd find the documentation of her journey interesting: josiethompson.com/

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  2. Thanks P. You are awesome and I love you. I am going to check out her site. : )

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  3. I feel for your family. We have lots of bi-polar/depression and mental illness in our family and extended family. I remember it was shocking when we first came head on with this. But the years have softened the blow and good help has alleviated many of the problems. My prayers go out to you and yours with hope and good feelings for a bright future! It is good to be open. There is lots of help, and many people who share in your concerns. Best wishes! Melody

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  4. Love to you and love to sweet B. I know what it is to be in that dark place, but you are right, it is important not to be ashamed or feel guilty.

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