I am a survivor of the shadow in my mind.
Nobody else in my family had ever gone to college; I was the first. Because I was the first, I felt like there was a lot of pressure on me to prove that I could break the cycle. Basically, I set myself up for failure. I didn’t go out much, didn’t interact with people, and felt lonely a lot of the time. Little did I know, a void was slowly consuming me from the inside. And if I had let it continue, it probably would have killed me.
I am very fortunate that I have people who care for me, despite my anti-socialism. My loving boyfriend (now husband), Mr. Davis, encouraged me to seek help. (Mr. Davis and I have a very long history. We started dating in high school, and we’ve been together for ten amazing years.) I thought it was normal to be sad once in a while. But Mr. Davis kept telling me I was sad practically all the time, and that definitely wasn’t normal. I was hesitant to go to the counseling office, mostly because I grew up with the stigma that only attention seekers and crazies get counseling.
But I went anyway. I went because I wanted to make a change. I wanted to see myself the way others saw me. I wanted to be the person I knew I could be if I tried hard enough.
Cut to about five years later and here I am. I’m not entirely depression-free, but I’m learning how to cope with it. If you had asked me in college to talk about my experiences with depression, I would have been too ashamed to. But now that I’ve had the worst years behind me, I feel I can no longer be silent about this.
Depression is a bloody murderer. It destroys the things we love and selfishly takes and takes until we have nothing left. I know how hard it is to get out of bed. I know how hard it is to type just one more word, redo one more sentence, hell even open your laptop to start writing. There were times where getting out of bed was considered an achievement in my world. Please trust me when I say that I know.
I want to help.
I’m not a counselor, though helping people is part of my passion. When I wrote The Beast, I kept thinking about ways to help other writers, or just other people in general. I was sure I wasn’t the only one carrying this disease with me everywhere I went. But how could I do that if I wasn’t properly equipped to do so?
I know, donation pages sometimes make me frown, too. I hate asking for money, and I work at a job where I have to do that every single day. But I can promise you that 70% of the proceeds you donate will go to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Please check out their website: http://www.adaa.org/ and learn about the amazing things they do.
One of the reasons why I picked this organization is because not only are they looking into prevention, but education as well. One of the things I personally struggled with was interacting with family that didn’t really understand the disease because they carried the stigma they passed on to me. Mr. Davis even had to learn how to understand what was going on with me, because he wanted to help. To me, education is just as important as prevention.
So, I know you already have two questions, and I’m happy to answer them. (And more, if you want to shoot me an email.)
- What is the remaining 30% (I know it said 40% before, I apologize. I can’t math.) of the proceeds going to? Keeping up with this website, mostly. I have a full time job, so bills and basic livelihood is covered. If I can keep up the website, especially this page, I can continue with regular donations, as well as update you on my future books and other happenings.
- How will I know if my money really is going to ADAA? At the end of each month, I will be posting a picture showing the exact amount sent to ADAA. This will not only keep me in check with the organization, but with you as well.
Please don’t feel like you HAVE to donate. I definitely know what it’s like to want to give money but not having any. So if you want to help with this great organization, please spread the word about this, about depression. Find ways to educate yourself and others, reach out to people who may need help but aren’t sure. There are ways to help if you can’t donate, and every bit of it counts. Together we can fight. Together we can survive.
As a final note, I just want to tell you that you are amazing, beautiful, brave, kind, and fierce. You are everything to me every single day you get out of bed and face the world.